Bernard Donoughue, Baron Donoughue
The Lord Donoughue
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
21 May 1985
8 September 1934
|Spouse(s)||(1) Carol Ruth Goodman;|
(2) Sarah, Lady Berry
Early life and education
According to his autobiography, Donoughue was born into poverty. He is the son of Thomas Joseph Donoughue and Maud Violet Andrews. He was educated at Campbell Secondary Modern School and Northampton Grammar School. He studied at the University of Oxford, first at Lincoln College, where he obtained 1st class honours in Modern History in 1957, then at Nuffield College, where he graduated with a D.Phil. on the American Revolution. The early stages of his research were pursued as Charles and Julia Henry Fellow at Harvard. Donoughue moved into an academic career at London School of Economics (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Reader: 1963–1974).
Donoughue went into politics to be "associated with Labour governments which defended the interests of working people and underprivileged people." Always at the centre of London, the capital and of politics, education and business, Donoughue was a member of the editorial staff of The Economist in 1959 and 1960 when a young Labour activist supporting Hugh Gaitskell. He was senior research officer of the Political and Economic Planning Institute between 1960 and 1963. For a long time a lecturer close to young people, he was asked by the Wilson government to join the founding Sports Council, an advisory body to harness amateur physical recreation. Twenty years later he would make his first speech in the Lords on Sporting Events (controls) bill.
Wilson took notice of Donoughue's communication skills, displayed in his career at the London School of Economics and in his journalism, when he was appointed head of the policy research unit in 1974. Two years before there were a flurry of questions in both houses about whether these unaccredited "political" advisers were paid from public funds. Wilson expanded the department in No.10 who had a profound influence like never before on policy formation. For the first time the Official Report published the salaries; and as being part of the Civil Service department.
He continued to head the team under Wilson's successor, James Callaghan, and he held the office until the defeat of the Labour Party in 1979. He was an admirer and close friend of Callaghan, whose relaxed 'beer and sandwiches' approach to political interaction contrasted to the intensity of successive prime ministerial conceited wisdom that demanded heavy studying.
Out of government from 1979 to 1981, Donoughue was development director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, and in 1982-83 was assistant editor of The Times until his dismissal by a new right-wing owner Rupert Murdoch. He gave his opinion in an interview with the New Statesman:
I’m very proud of that fact I was sacked by Murdoch. That’s an honour! There are quite a number of us with that honour, of course.
Donoughue was at the Times during Rupert Murdoch's takeover and in his first year as proprietor, and he holds the media mogul responsible for what he dubs "a diminution in the values of our society". News International were in the throes of a business revolution in Fleet Street: at its hub was the end of a closed shop for the skilled craftsmen of the print 'chapters' who zealously guarded their trade secrets. Murdoch's actions broke up the old union grip on the news print media; former journalists like Tony Benn were incensed but the Labour party were helpless to resist the changes from opposition. At the time he lived in Hampstead & Highgate where John McDonnell was the party's candidate for a seat won by the Conservatives in the 'landslide' election of 1983.
Donoughue was also chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1991, patron from 1989 to 1995, and has been an associate since 2000. Around this time, he was also one of the sources inside Whitehall used by the writers of the comedy series Yes Minister, the other one being Baroness Falkender.
He was head of research and investment policy of Grieveson Grant and Co Stockbrokers from 1982 to 1986 and head of international research and director of Kleinwort Grieveson Securities Ltd from 1986 to 1988, a branch arm of the investment bank. Following this, Donoughue was executive vice-chair of LBI from 1988 to 1991, director of Towcester Racecourse Ltd from 1992 to 1997 and was made an honorary fellow of LSE. From November 1995, shortly after the Euro sceptics had been defeated by the Major government, Donoughue, still a staunchly Labour peer was appointed to the Lords Works of Arts committee. He was not removed from this duty when a different civil dispensation came to power in 1997, until a clash with the New Labour leadership, but he was later appointed a trustee of the Victoria County History.
Donoughue helped found the British Horse Industry Confederation in 1999 and was a Consultant Member until 2003. This coincided with appointment that September with co-option onto the joint Lords and Commons committee tasked with the responsibility of drafting a new Gambling bill. The outcome would be the licensing of so-called Big Casinos and a general release of universal internet betting rights. On 22 Dec 2015 he declared a gift to the bookmakers union. The radical change to the status quo proved a revolution in working people's experience of gaming that would indirectly cause remedial action on payday loans.
He was a visiting professor of Government at LSE from 2000 to 2011/2012.
is responsible for the integrity of the starting price (SP). The majority of bets on British horseracing struck with bookmakers in betting shops and other off-course outlets are paid out according to the SP. The job of the Commission is to ensure that the returned price accurately reflects the price available on-course at the off.
House of Lords
On 21 May 1985, he was created a life peer as Baron Donoughue, of Ashton in the County of Northampton. He was at his best in the Lords praising the work of government with some eloquence. But he was not at his best on the trade debates, wrongly predicting the permanent decline of North sea oil in 1985; but correctly on the longer-term collapse of manufacturing, and the failure of the Finniston Inquiry that he had helped to set up at the department of Trade. But he made a plea for a "better educated and skilled workforce" that might have presaged New Labour. He accused the oil industry of profiteering, rather than passing on "beneficial translation" to the consumer. Much of the fault lay with the compulsory signatories to the Official Secrets Act.
An active Life Peer he was an Opposition Labour spokesman for Energy, Heritage and Treasury matters from 1991 to 1992. In 1997, Tony Blair appointed him a junior minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in which role he served until 1999. "A strong belief in maintaining a rural community in this country...the heritage of the country.". "I am antique Blue Labour", he remarked; his friends being Dr Cunningham and Jeff Rooker who were in the same department; being from solid working-class backgrounds they held similar beliefs, which was useful given as Donoughue himself admitted on his appointment he knew nothing about agriculture. He later joined the Countryside Alliance against New Labour's policy on Hunting with Dogs, the Foot and mouth disease outbreak and the sofa politics of No.10. In his advocacy of full checks and balances of Cabinet government that take time to work through policies, he deplored the messianic qualities of the Blair administration and a tendency towards authoritarianism that catapulted Britain into desert wars in the middle east and came to dominate the agenda. Donoughue was a partisan of the Wilson and Callaghan era, in which he started a political career, who he claimed were real Labour people; the contrast with Blair's aloofness towards real people he believed was detrimental to the democratic processes of Whitehall governance.
An unashamed fan of the Yes Minister series, he found a soulmate in Michael Heseltine "disappearing down the hall" as if the machinations of the programme were imbued with the falsity of serial humour. Lord Donoughue opposes what he sees as the "hard left" of the Labour Party. In a 2016 interview he concurred with the belief that Mrs May "had common sense". The first edition of his Westminster Diary was published in August 2016. 
- Bernard Donoughue and Janet Alker. Trade Unions in a Changing Society. London: PEP, 1963.
- Bernard Donoughue. British Politics and the American Revolution: the path to war, 1773–75. London: Macmillan, 1964.
- W. T. Rodgers; Bernard Donoughue. The People into Parliament: an illustrated history of the Labour Party. London: Thames and Hudson, 1966.
- Bernard Donoughue and George William Jones. Herbert Morrison: Portrait of a Politician. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973. ISBN 9780297766056
- Bernard Donoughue. Prime Minister: Conduct of Policy Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, 1974–79. London: Jonathan Cape, 1987. ISBN 9780224024501
- Bernard Donoughue. The Heat of the Kitchen: an autobiography. London: Politicos, 2004.
- Bernard Donoughue. Downing Street Diary: Volume 1 – With Harold Wilson in No. 10. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004. ISBN 0224040227
- Bernard Donoughue. Downing Street Diary: Volume 2 – With James Callaghan in No. 10. London: Pimlico, 2009. ISBN 1845950941
- Bernard Donoughue. Westminster Diary: A Reluctant Minister under Tony Blair. London: I.B.Taurus, 2016. ISBN 1784536504
- Bernard Donoughue. Westminster Diary Volume 2: Farewell to Office. London: I.B. Tauris, 2017. ISBN 1784539465
Critical studies and reviews of Donoughue's work
- Downing Street diary
- Watkins, Alan (4 October 2008). "The end of old Labour". The Spectator. 308 (9397): 40–41. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
- Donoughue in Debrett's People of Today
- "Lord Donoughue". UK Parliament.
- Who's Who 2007, London: A & C Black, 2007: p. 624
- The Baron Donoughue, Burke's Peerage
- B. Donoughue, British Politics and the American Revolution: The Path to War 1773–75, London: Macmillan, 1964: p. viii
- B.D. interview with Stephen Bush on 17 Dec 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- which became the Policy Studies Institute in 1976. About PSI Office Page
- HL Deb 03 February 1965 vol 262 cc1180-2;
- https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/jul/10/biography.features1[bare URL]
- HL Deb 03 July 1974 vol 353 cc281-4
- "MINISTERIAL ADVISERS (Hansard, 2 May 1974)". hansard.millbanksystems.com.
- Dennis Kavanagh for The Telegraph, 29 May 2003. Some unfinished business at No 10
- Harold Evans. Good Times, Bad Times. Athaeneum (1984). Chapters 12–13.
- Stephen Bush interview. Retrieved on 3 August 2016.
- J. Lynn. Comedy Rules: From the Cambridge Footlights to Yes, Prime Minister. Faber & Faber, Aug 18, 2011 ISBN 9780571277971 .:98
- Staff, Interview in Marxism Today, November 1987 City Strategies
- LSE List of Honorary Fellows[permanent dead link]
- "bhic.co.uk". www.bhic.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Westminster, Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Lords. "Lords Hansard text for 13 May 1999 (190513-01)". publications.parliament.uk.
- Federation of Course Bookmakers, 22 December 2015.http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-donoughue/2709.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-02-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) —Mile End Group at Queen Mary, University of London (archived)
- Staff, Starting Price Regulatory Commission, June 2012. Starting Price Regulatory Commission Report 2011 Archived 14 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "No. 50136". The London Gazette. 28 May 1985. p. 7379.
- HL Deb 03 December 1985 vol 468 cc1191-294.
- HL Deb 19 February 1986 vol 471 cc637-81.
- hard talk, 3 August 2016
- 'Hard Talk', an interview by Mark Darcy, date 3 August 2016, Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com.
- Andy McSmith for The Independent. 24 October 2009. "Village people: 24/10/2009"
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
The Lord Vinson
The Lord Sanderson of Bowden