Alf Dubs, Baron Dubs

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Not to be confused with Alfred Dobbs, Labour MP in 1945.
The Right Honourable
The Lord Dubs
Member of Parliament
for Battersea South
In office
3 May 1979 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Ernest Perry
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Majority 45.11%
Member of Parliament
for Battersea
In office
9 June 1983 – 11 June 1987
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by John Bowis
Majority 43.8%
Personal details
Born Alfred Dubs
(1932-05-12) 12 May 1932 (age 83)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater London School of Economics

Alfred Dubs, Baron Dubs (born 5 December 1932) is a Czech-born British Labour Party politician and former Member of Parliament.

Youth and education[edit]

Born in Prague, then in Czechoslovakia, Dubs was one of 669 Czech, mainly Jewish, children saved by English stockbroker Nicholas Winton from the Nazis on the 'Kindertransport'. His father had fled to England the day the Nazis arrived in Czechoslovakia and young Alf was to meet him at Liverpool Street station. He later said that he clearly remembered leaving Prague station at age six and not touching the food pack given to him by his mother for the next two days. His mother was initially denied a visa but was able to join him and his father in London shortly afterwards.[1]

Dubs learned the facts when Nicholas Winton's story was broadcast on That's Life! in 1988. He later met Winton in person and campaigned for him to be honoured.[2] Winton was eventually knighted in 2002.

He was educated at Cheadle Hulme School and the London School of Economics.[3] He then worked as a local government officer before entering politics.


Before gaining election, Dubs stood unsuccessfully for Parliament on a number of occasions. In 1970 he stood for Cities of London and Westminster, being defeated by the Conservative Christopher Tugendhat. He also stood in South Hertfordshire in both the February and October 1974 General Elections, each time being beaten by Cecil Parkinson.

Dubs was elected in the 1979 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Battersea South and in 1983 for Battersea, before losing his seat at the 1987 election. From 1988 to 1995 he was Director of the Refugee Council. In 1994 was appointed a Labour Working peerage as Baron Dubs, of Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth. He was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office from May 1997 to December 1999.

Whilst Dubs was an MP, John O'Farrell worked in his office and was a Labour activist in Battersea. O'Farrell described in his book (Things can only get better) the events leading up to Dubs' shock defeat by the Conservative candidate John Bowis at the 1987 general election. Dubs stood for Battersea again at the 1992 election, only to see the Conservative majority increase against the national trend. Subsequently, he was given a life peerage.

Lord Dubs has served on an Area Health Authority and more recently on a Mental Health Trust. He was Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission until December 2003 and had previously been Deputy Chair of the Independent Television Commission. He is a Trustee of the Open University Foundation.

In the past, he has been a local Councillor, Chair of the Fabian Society, Chair of Liberty, a Trustee of Action Aid, a Trustee of the Immigration Advisory Service and of a number of other voluntary organisations.

Lord Dubs is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.

In 2008 Lord Dubs was an active member of the House of Lords, participating in 42 debates, well above average for a Peer. He has spoken on many varied subjects including the National Probation Service[4] and Road Safety.[5]

Lord Dubs was Chair of the Road Safety Foundation.

Dubs lists his main home as a cottage in the Lake District in Cumbria which enabled him to claim over £26,000 of overnight subsistence in 2007/8[6] although he has lived in Notting Hill, west London, since 1964. He argued in justification in May 2009 that Lords regard the overnight allowance as a payment in lieu of salary. "We are the only legislators in the world that don’t get paid," he said. "The overnight thing is quite generous because it compensates for not having a salary. In practice that’s how it works."[7]

Lord Dubs is a Vice-President of the Debating Group.[8] He is a member of the Henry Jackson Society's Political Council.[9]

See also[edit]


Times Guide to the House of Commons 1992

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ernest Perry
Member of Parliament for Battersea South
constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Battersea
Succeeded by
John Bowis