Peter Jenkins (journalist)

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Peter Jenkins
Born Peter George James Jenkins
(1934-05-11)May 11, 1934
United Kingdom
Died May 27, 1992(1992-05-27) (aged 58)
United Kingdom
Occupation Journalist, editor
Spouse(s) Polly Toynbee (1970–1992)

Peter George James Jenkins (11 May 1934 – 27 May 1992) was a British journalist and Associate Editor of The Independent. During his career he wrote regular columns for The Guardian, The Sunday Times as well as the The Independent.

Jenkins was educated at Culford School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he took a BA in History. He began his career as a journalist with the Financial Times (1958–60) and progressed to The Guardian where he was variously their Labour Correspondent (1963–67), Washington Correspondent (1972–74), and Political Commentator and Policy Editor (1974–85). He was a political columnist for The Sunday Times from 1985 to 1987 and Associate Editor of The Independent from 1987 until his death.

He was committed to a vision of a European Britain, anti-communist but more socially inclusive than the American model of society. He belonged to a group of "Königswinter journalists", who during meetings with politicians and civil servants in Königswinter near Bonn, the West German capital, attempted to build a pan-European group of opinion-formers, leaving behind the enmities of the past and looking forward to European community.

Jenkins was also theatre critic for The Spectator from 1978 to 1981 and his first stage play, Illuminations, was performed at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, in 1980. He also wrote the comedy series Struggle, broadcast on Channel 4 (1983–84), a satire on the Conservative–Labour battles in local government at the time.[1]

Peter Jenkins was a visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. His awards included 'Granada TV Journalist of the Year' for 1978. Amy Jenkins, author of the 1990s TV serial This Life, is his daughter. After the death of his first wife, he married fellow journalist Polly Toynbee.


  • Jenkins, Peter (1970). The Battle of Downing Street. London: Knight. ISBN 978-0-85314-068-9. 
  • Jenkins, Peter (1977). Where Trotskysm got lost: the restoration of European democracy after the Second World War. Nottingham: Spokesman Pamphlet 59. 
  • Jenkins, Peter (1987). Mrs Thatcher's revolution: the ending of the socialist era. London: Cape. ISBN 978-0-674-58832-5. 

Moreover some of his work has been collected in an edited book:

  • Brivati, Brian, and Richard Cockett, eds. Introduction by Polly Toynbee (1995). Anatomy of decline : the political journalism of Peter Jenkins. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34476-1. 



Marr, Andrew. My trade. A short history of British journalism. London: Pan Macmillan, 2005. (p. 354 ff.)