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Phillip Whitehead

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Phillip Whitehead
Whitehead in 1992
Member of Parliament
for Derby North
In office
18 June 1970 – 13 May 1983
Preceded byNiall MacDermot
Succeeded byGreg Knight
Member of the European Parliament
for East Midlands
In office
9 June 1994 – 31 December 2005
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byGlenis Willmott
Personal details
Born(1937-05-30)30 May 1937
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, England
Died31 December 2005(2005-12-31) (aged 68)
Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materExeter College, Oxford
ProfessionPolitician, television producer and writer

Phillip Whitehead (30 May 1937 – 31 December 2005) was a British Labour politician, television producer and writer.

Early life[edit]

Born in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, he was adopted by a local family in Rowsley, and attended Lady Manners School in Bakewell and Exeter College, Oxford, where he obtained his BA degree.

Whitehead went up to Oxford following in his adoptive parents' footsteps as a Conservative. He was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association and the Oxford Union in 1961.


Whitehead was an independent documentary producer in the early 1960s and later an editor with the BBC and ITV from 1967 to 1970.

House of Commons[edit]

After standing unsuccessfully at West Derbyshire in 1966, he represented Derby North as a Labour MP from 1970 to 1983, when he was defeated by the Conservative Greg Knight. He tried to win back the seat in 1987 but was beaten once again.

Whitehead was a member of several parliamentary committees:

Back to television[edit]

After his defeat at the 1983 general election, Whitehead returned to television as a producer and director. He was also author of several books derived, with the exception of his Fabian essays, from the television series he produced:

  • The Writing On The Wall: Britain in the Seventies (London: Michael Joseph, 1985); ISBN 0718124715
  • Dynasty: The Nehrus and the Gandhis (1997; with Jad Adams; ISBN 978-0788191237)
  • contributor to Changing States, Fabian Essays, Ruling Dimension
  • The Windsors—A Dynasty Revealed 1917–2000 (2000; with Piers Brendon: ISBN 0712667970; original 1994: ISBN 978-0340610138)
  • Stalin, a Time for Judgement

In 1988 he was MacTaggart Memorial Lecturer at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

European Parliament[edit]

He was a Labour member of the European Parliament from 1994 to his death, first serving as MEP for Staffordshire East and Derby, and later as one of the members for the East Midlands.

On 23 July 2004 he was elected chair of the Parliamentary Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He was also member of the European Parliament's African, Caribbean and Pacific Joint Parliamentary Assembly and chair of the European Parliamentary Labour Party.

A list of EP committees of which Whitehead was a member:

Other professional memberships held by Whitehead:


He retained a close association with Derbyshire, especially the Bakewell area, throughout his life. Whitehead was taken ill on 31 December 2005 and died later that evening in a hospital in Chesterfield from a heart attack aged 68.[1][2]

In recognition of his service to the city The Phillip Whitehead Memorial Library, a public library on Chaddesden Park in Derby, was opened in March 2013.


  1. ^ Hattersley, Roy (2 January 2006). "Phillip Whitehead". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Labour MEP and ex-journalist dies". BBC News. 1 January 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2021.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Derby North
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the Fabian Society
1978 – 1979
Succeeded by