Eirene White, Baroness White
The Baroness White
|Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies|
|Prime Minister||Harold Wilson|
|Preceded by||Richard Hornby|
and Nigel Fisher
|Succeeded by||Lord Taylor|
and Lord Beswick
|Member of Parliament|
for East Flintshire
23 February 1950 – 17 June 1970
|Preceded by||New constituency|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Barry Jones|
Eirene Lloyd Jones
7 November 1909
|Died||23 December 1999(aged 90)|
White was born in Belfast, the daughter of Dr Thomas Jones, commonly known as "TJ", a noted civil servant, educationalist and friend of the establishment. She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School, London, and Somerville College, Oxford, where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She spent a year in Heidelberg before working for the New York Public Library. Back in England, she studied housing policies and the problems of the homeless.
During World War II, White joined the Women's Voluntary Service and became Welsh Regional Secretary. She was recruited by the Ministry of Labour to help with the training of workers in Wales, particularly women, for the war effort. She also worked as a civil servant at the Board of Education until 1945 and after the War as a political correspondent for both the Manchester Evening News and the BBC. In 1948, she married fellow House of Commons lobby correspondent John Cameron White.
White stood in the 1945 general election in Flintshire without success. She was elected a member of the Labour Party's National Executive Committee in the women's section in 1947. She was elected Labour MP for East Flint in 1950, one of the first female MPs in Wales. An early private member's bill encouraged the government to relax divorce laws. Annoyed by fights between left and right, she stepped down from the NEC in 1953 but returned in 1959 until 1972.
When Labour came to power under Harold Wilson in 1964, White became parliamentary under-secretary at the Colonial Office, in 1966 Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and in 1967 Minister of State at the Welsh Office for three years. White managed to hang on to her marginal constituency for 20 years, at one election by just 72 votes.
In 1970, she retired from the House of Commons and was created a life peer on 12 October 1970 taking the title Baroness White, of Rhymney in the County of Monmouth. Later posts included president of Coleg Harlech and governor of the National Library of Wales. She was chairman of the Land Authority for Wales (1976–80), deputy chairman of the Metrication Board (1972–76), and a member of the Royal Commission on Environment Pollution (1974–81). She was Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords from 1979 to 1989. She was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University of Bath in 1983.
On 10 June 2022, a purple plaque was unveiled at Flint Town Hall in her honour, recognizing the fact that she was one of the first three women to represent Wales in the UK Parliament, and indeed Wales's only female MP for ten years.
A viewfinder monument was erected on the summit of Allt yr Esgair 393 metres/1290 feet (Grid Ref SO126243).
- Lena Jeger (27 December 1999). "Baroness White of Rhymney". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
- "No. 45217". The London Gazette. 22 October 1970. p. 11580.
- "Corporate Information". Bath.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- "Purple plaque to honour one of the first female MPs for Wales to unveiled in Flint today". Deeside.com. 10 June 2022. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
- Lena Jeger (27 December 1999). "Baroness White of Rhymney". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Eirene White
- https://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/dec/27/guardianobituaries Obituary in The Guardian
- Eirene White Papers at the National Library of Wales
- Eirene White at the Dictionary of Welsh Biography