Lena Jeger, Baroness Jeger

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness Jeger
Chair of the Labour Party
In office
5 October 1979 – 3 October 1980
Leader James Callaghan
Preceded by Frank Allaun
Succeeded by Alex Kitson
Member of Parliament
for Holborn and St Pancras South
In office
15 October 1964 – 2 May 1979
Preceded by Geoffrey Johnson Smith
Succeeded by Frank Dobson
In office
19 November 1953 – 7 October 1959
Preceded by Santo Jeger
Succeeded by Geoffrey Johnson-Smith
Personal details
Born Lena May Chivers
(1915-11-19)19 November 1915
Yorkley, Gloucestershire
Died 26 February 2007(2007-02-26) (aged 91)
Royal Marsden hospital
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Santo Jeger (d. 1953)
Alma mater Birkbeck College, University of London

Lena May Jeger, Baroness Jeger (née Chivers; 19 November 1915 – 26 February 2007) was a British Labour MP during two periods. She followed her husband as Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras South, holding the seat from 1953 to 1959. She retook the seat in 1964, retaining it until 1979, when she became a life peer.

Early life[edit]

She was born Lena May Chivers in Yorkley, Gloucestershire. Her father was a postman. She was educated at Southgate County School in north London, and read English and French at Birkbeck College, University of London. She was vice-president of the National Union of Students. She joined the civil service in 1936, initially in HM Customs & Excise.

During the Second World War she worked at the Ministry of Information and the Foreign Office. A fluent Russian speaker, she edited the British Ally, a newspaper published by the British government in the Soviet Union. She also worked at the British Embassy in Moscow. In 1948 she married Dr Santo Jeger, a general practitioner, who had been Member of Parliament for St Pancras South East since the 1945 UK general election. She left the civil service in 1949, and worked for The Manchester Guardian from 1951–55.

Political career[edit]

Jeger was elected to the St. Pancras Borough Council (1945–59) and the London County Council (1952–55). Her husband died in 1953 and she was selected as Labour's candidate in the resultant by-election in Holborn and St Pancras South. She won the by-election, held on her birthday, by 1,976 votes, slightly increasing the Labour majority. She just retained her seat at the 1955 general election by 931 votes, but lost the seat to the Conservatives in the 1959 general election by 656 votes, losing to Geoffrey Johnson Smith.[citation needed]

After a period working for The Guardian, she regained her seat in the 1964 general election. The seat was renamed Camden, Holborn and St Pancras South in 1974, and she retained it until the 1979 general election. Despite the Conservative election victory, her seat was retained by Labour's Frank Dobson.[citation needed]

Jeger served on the Labour Party's National Executive Committee from 1968 until 1980, becoming chair in 1979.[1] Following her retirement from the House of Commons she was created a life peer as Baroness Jeger, of St Pancras in Greater London, on 11 July 1979.[2] In the House of Lords, she served as opposition spokesman on health, and then on social security.[3]

She was chairman of the party in 1979 to 1980, and was the first peer to take the chair at the Labour party conference, at Blackpool in September 1980. She continued to write occasional pieces for The Guardian from 1964 to 2003, particularly obituaries.


Lena Jeger suffered from poor health in her last years. She was treated at the Royal Marsden hospital for cancer,[4] and was granted a leave of absence from the House of Lords.[5] She died, aged 91, on 26 February 2007. She had no children.[3]


  1. ^ "Baroness Jeger", The Guardian, 3 March 2007, 3 March 2007, retrieved 16 March 2014 
  2. ^ "No. 47907". The London Gazette. 17 July 1979. p. 9009. 
  3. ^ a b "Baroness Jeger", The Times, p. 78, 2 March 2007, retrieved 16 March 2014, (Subscription required (help)) 
  4. ^ "Lady Jeger", The Telegraph, 16 March 2007, retrieved 16 March 2014 
  5. ^ Minutes and Order Paper – Minutes of Proceedings, House of Lords, retrieved 16 March 2014 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Santo Jeger
Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras South
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Johnson-Smith
Preceded by
Geoffrey Johnson Smith
Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras South
Succeeded by
Frank Dobson
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Allaun
Chair of The Labour Party
Succeeded by
Alex Kitson