Bruce Douglas-Mann

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Bruce Douglas-Mann
Member of Parliament
for Mitcham and Morden
Kensington North (1970–1974)
In office
18 June 1970 – 5 May 1982
Preceded by George Rogers
Succeeded by Angela Rumbold
Personal details
Born 23 June 1927
Bexhill, England
Died 27 July 2000(2000-07-27) (aged 73)
Political party Labour
Social Democratic
Liberal Democrats
Alma mater Jesus College, Oxford

Bruce Leslie Home Douglas-Mann (23 June 1927 – 27 July 2000) was a British politician.

Early life[edit]

Bruce Douglas-Mann was born at Bexhill, Sussex, the son of a solicitor, Leslie John Douglas-Mann, MC.[1]

Douglas-Mann was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and following national service in the navy, read PPE at Jesus College, Oxford from 1948 to 1951.[1][2] He qualified as a solicitor in 1954 and served as a councillor on Kensington Borough Council 1962-65 and on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea from 1964. As a solicitor he specialised in trade union law and claims over industrial accidents and injuries. He also worked on obscenity cases and briefed barrister John Mortimer on the film Last Tango in Paris.[1] He was chairman of the Society of Labour Lawyers from 1974 to 1980.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Douglas-Mann contested St Albans in 1964 and Maldon in 1966 as a Labour candidate. He was elected Member of Parliament for Kensington North in 1970, then for Mitcham and Morden in February 1974.

Douglas-Mann spoke out on the plight of refugees. In 1971, in the East Bengal (now Bangladesh) refugee crisis (during the Bangladesh Liberation War) he said it was "the worst tragedy the world had known" and the following year, when Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of Asians from Uganda he said that returning them would be "like sending Jews back to Hitler in the 1930s"[3] Having been involved in housing case work as a solicitor, following Norman St John-Stevas introduction of the parliamentary select committees in 1979, he served on the PSC concerning the environment because housing was part of its remit.[1]

In 1982, Douglas-Mann was one of the later defectors among Labour MPs to the new Social Democratic Party. He made the unique decision to resign and seek re-election at a by-election after his change of allegiance. It was the source of disquiet among the leadership of the SDP, and the constituency party choose the former Labour MP as their candidate without the approval of national headquarters. Initially the candidate was told that he would have to finance his own by-election.[3] Douglas-Mann was the last MP to trigger a by-election after switching parties until Douglas Carswell in 2014.[4] He lost to the Conservative candidate Angela Rumbold and was pushed into third place when he stood again at the 1983 general election. He tried one final time in 1987, but remained in third and last place with only 16.6 per cent.


  1. ^ a b c d Pearce, Edward (31 July 2000). "Bruce Douglas-Mann". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Old Members' Obituaries". Jesus College Record: 78. 2000. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bruce Douglas-Mann". The Daily Telegraph. 1 August 2000. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Mason, Chris (5 October 2014). "Clacton by-election: 'genuine excitement' takes hold". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
George Rogers
Member of Parliament for Kensington North
1970February 1974
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Mitcham and Morden
February 19741982
Succeeded by
Angela Rumbold