He was born in a Glasgow tenement on April 4 1931. He attended Shawlands Academy and left aged 14, completing his education later at Newbattle Abbey College and Ruskin and St Catherine’s Colleges, Oxford.
Dickens served on Westminster City Council representing Millbank Ward from 1962 to 1965. Having unsuccessfully fought Chelsea in 1964, he was Member of Parliament for the marginal constituency of Lewisham West from 1966 to 1970. He was a member of the Tribune Group of left-wing MPs. His seat was gained by the Conservative candidate John Gummer.
After leaving Parliament, he became Assistant Director of Manpower for the National Freight Corporation. He subsequently joined the National Water Council as Assistant Director of Manpower and was promoted to Director of Manpower. From 1983 to 1991 he worked as Chief Personnel Officer to the Agricultural and Food Research Council. He left the Labour Party in 2003, because of opposition to the Iraq War.
- James McCulloch York Dickens was born in a Glasgow tenement on April 4 1931. He left Shawlands Academy at 14, completing his education later at Newbattle Abbey College and Ruskin and St Catherine’s Colleges, Oxford.
- "Millbank Ward 1959-65". Westminster City Council Election Results. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "James Dickens". The Guardian. 25 April 2013.
- "No. 52563". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1991. p. 10.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Dickens
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