Frank Cousins

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The Right Honourable
Frank Cousins
Minister of Technology
In office
18 October 1964 – 4 July 1966
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Tony Benn
Member of Parliament for Nuneaton
In office
21 January 1965 – 5 December 1966
Preceded by Frank Bowles
Succeeded by Les Huckfield
Personal details
Born (1904-09-08)8 September 1904
Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England
Died 11 June 1986(1986-06-11) (aged 81)
Political party Labour

Frank Cousins PC (8 September 1904 – 11 June 1986) was a British trade union leader and Labour politician.

He was born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, and became a member of the road transport section of the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1933, before becoming a full-time official in July 1938. He was appointed National Secretary of Road Transport (Commercial) Group in October 1948, contested the TGWU Assistant General Secretaryship in 1948 and 1955, securing the position on the latter attempt. He was also elected to the Labour Party's National Executive Committee the same year, but resigned in March 1956.

Cousins was appointed acting General Secretary of the TGWU in February 1956, due to poor health on the part of Jock Tiffin. He was elected General Secretary in May 1956, following Tiffin's death, and held the position until 1969. From 1956 to 1969, he was a member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress and was President of the International Transport Workers' Federation from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1964.

Cousins served as Minister of Technology in Harold Wilson's Labour government from October 1964 until his resignation on 11 June 1966 to protest a Government-backed law freezing incomes and prices.[1] His appointment as a Minister was notable as he is only one of two recent Ministers (the other being Patrick Gordon-Walker) who was appointed to the role without being either a Member of Parliament or a member of the House of Lords.[2] He was also made a Privy Counsellor in 1964.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Nuneaton at a by-election in January 1965 and remained an MP until November 1966. During this period Harry Nicholas took over as acting general secretary of the TGWU.

Personal life[edit]

He married Annie Judd in December 1930; the couple had four children: John, Brenda, Michael and Frances.

Frank Cousins sat for sculptor Alan Thornhill for a portrait in clay.[3] The correspondence file relating to the Frank Cousins bust is held in the archive[4] of the Henry Moore Foundation's Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and the terracotta remains in the collection of the artist.


  1. ^ Ap (1986-06-12). "Frank Cousins Is Dead; British Union Leader". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  2. ^ Beetham, David; Weir, Stuart (2002-09-11). Political Power and Democratic Control in Britain. Routledge. ISBN 9781134864119. 
  3. ^ portrait head of Frank Cousins image of sculpture
  4. ^ HMI Archive Archived 12 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frank Bowles
Member of Parliament for Nuneaton
Succeeded by
Les Huckfield
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Jock Tiffin
Assistant General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
Succeeded by
Harry Nicholas
Preceded by
Jock Tiffin
General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
(Harry Nicholas acting 1964–1966)

Succeeded by
Jack Jones
Preceded by
Wilfred Beard and Joseph O'Hagan
Trades Union Congress representative to the AFL-CIO
With: Frederick Hayday
Succeeded by
Claude Bartlett and Bill Webber
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Carr
(Minister of Technical Co-operation)
Minister of Technology
Succeeded by
Tony Benn