Ben Parkin

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Ben Parkin
Born 21 April 1906
Died 3 June 1969
Education Wycliffe College
Alma mater Lincoln College
Occupation Politician

Benjamin Theaker Parkin (21 April 1906 – 3 June 1969) was a British teacher and politician who served as Member of Parliament for Stroud and for Paddington North. His father, Captain B. D. Parkin, was headmaster of Stonehouse Council School in Gloucestershire from 1912 to 1939 and Chairman of Stonehouse Parish Council.

Early career[edit]

Parkin was educated at Wycliffe College, from which he went to Lincoln College, Oxford University. He also studied at Strasbourg University, and became a teacher. By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War he was on the staff of his old college; he left to serve in the Royal Air Force as Flight-Lieutenant.

Parliament[edit]

Shortly before the end of the war Parkin was elected to Parliament for the Labour Party at the 1945 general election, becoming the first ever Labour MP for Stroud. He was on the left of the party and was part of a delegation of Labour MPs who met Joseph Stalin in 1947; when he voted against the Ireland Bill, he was warned by the Chief Whip about his conduct.

Paddington MP[edit]

At the 1950 general election, the Stroud constituency was abolished and Parkin was defeated by only 28 votes in the new Stroud and Thornbury.[1] He was contested the seat again at the 1951 election, but lost again, this time by 1,582 votes.[2] He was chosen to replace William Field, who had resigned as MP for Paddington North following conviction for importuning, and won the resulting by-election in 1953. He made another visit to the Soviet Union and one to the People's Republic of China in 1954.

In 1956 he made the observation that, when telling the Chinese that he represented Paddington, they had responded by saying "That is where the Church owns the brothels, isn't it?"; Parkin pointed out this had a grain of truth. He was strongly in favour of removing street prostitution and also campaigned against drug abuse in the constituency.

Rachman[edit]

Parkin's most prominent campaign was over housing conditions. He was vocal in calling attention to the misdeeds of property magnate Peter Rachman, and others like him, calling for a system of licensing of private landlords. Parkin alleged that Rachman's reported death was merely a ploy to escape further scrutiny. He took up other housing issues including overcharging by Westminster City Council when it took over local council housing in 1965.

Death[edit]

In 1969, Parkin died suddenly in his car while visiting his son's school in west London. He was succeeded as MP for Paddington North by Arthur Latham.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UK General Election results February 1950, part 19". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  2. ^ "UK General Election results October 1951, part 19". Richard Kimber's political science resources. Retrieved 23 January 2011.

Sources[edit]

  • M. Stenton and S. Lees, "Who's Who of British MPs" Vol. IV (Harvester Press, 1981)
  • Obituary, "The Times", 4 June 1969.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Walter Perkins
Member of Parliament for Stroud
19451950
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Perkins
Preceded by
William Field
Member of Parliament for Paddington North
19531969
Succeeded by
Arthur Latham