Hywel Gruffydd "Huw" Thomas (14 September 1927 – 12 March 2009) was a Welsh broadcaster, barrister and Liberal Party politician.
Family and education
Huw Thomas was born in Pen-bre, near Llanelli, and was a fluent Welsh speaker. He was educated at Ellesmere College in Shropshire, at Aberystwyth University where he read law and Queens' College, Cambridge where he obtained honours in Law Tripos. At Cambridge he was Vice-president of the Cambridge University Liberal Society and President of the Queen’s College Law Society. While at Aberystwyth he volunteered for RAF aircrew duties and served for four years. He later became a commissioned officer at the Air Ministry. He married his wife Anne in 1960. They had three children.
Thomas was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn and practised as a barrister in London and on the Wales and Chester Circuit. In 1955 he returned to London as an assistant director at the Old Bailey office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
in 1956 he switched careers and became a newscaster with Independent Television News (ITN), like fellow Liberals Ludovic Kennedy and Robin Day. Like these contemporary interviewers, Thomas gained a reputation for a penetrating style of questioning when it came to public figures, drawing on his courtroom experience of cross-examination. He also did other sorts of television, for example his collaboration with Bernard Braden on the Saturday afternoon sports and current affairs round-up programme, Let’s Go. Thomas later set up his own media consultancy firm, doing PR, producing documentaries and training programmes.
At the 1950 general election Thomas, aged only 22 years, fought his home seat of Llanelli. He came second in a four-cornered contest, albeit more than 30,000 votes behind the successful Labour candidate and sitting MP Jim Griffiths but he was one of the few Liberal candidates in 1950 who managed to save his deposit.
In 1970 Thomas fought the Welsh seat of Carmarthen. This was Lady Megan Lloyd George’s old seat after she had defected from the Liberals to Labour but in the by-election which followed her death in 1966 the seat had been gained by Plaid Cymru candidate Gwynfor Evans. Labour regained the seat at the 1970 general election but Thomas came a creditable third in a four-cornered contest, gaining over 21% of the poll. Thomas also used his television persona and experience for the Liberals 1970 by presenting election broadcasts. He performed a similar role during the February 1974 general election on the election broadcasts News from the Liberals and Radio Report and again in October 1974.
Huw Thomas died on 12 March 2009 aged 81 years.
- Liberal Democrat News, 24 April 2009 p6
- The Who’s Who of 475 Liberal Candidates Fighting the 1950 General Election; Liberal Party Publications, 1950 pp65-66
- The Times, 3 April 2009; http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6023787.ece
- "Huw Thomas [obituary]". Daily Telegraph. London. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- Eric J. Arnott, A New Beginning in Sight; RSM Press, 2006 p76
- Eye on TV: the first 21 years of Independent Television; Independent Television Publications, 1976 p55
- "UK General Election results February 1950". Political Science Resources. University of Keele. Archived from the original on 25 September 2006.
- "UK General Election results 1970". Political Science Resources. University of Keele. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
- David Butler & Dennis Kavanagh, The British general election of February 1974; Macmillan, 1974 pp163 & 167
- David Butler & Dennis Kavanagh, The British general election of October 1974; Macmillan, 1975 pp 90, 158, 159