Ray Collins, Baron Collins of Highbury

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The Lord Collins of Highbury
Official portrait of Lord Collins of Highbury crop 2.jpg
General Secretary of the Labour Party
In office
12 June 2008 – 19 July 2011
LeaderGordon Brown
Harriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Preceded byPeter Watt
Succeeded byIain McNicol
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
24 January 2011
Life Peerage
Personal details
Ray Edward Harry Collins

(1954-12-21) 21 December 1954 (age 64)
Political partyLabour

Ray Edward Harry Collins, Baron Collins of Highbury (born 21 December 1954)[1] is a British life peer and trade unionist who was General Secretary of the Labour Party between 2008[2] and 2011.

Trade unionist[edit]

Collins was appointed Central Office Manager of the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1984 and held essentially the same post until 2008, being redesignated Head of Administration in the 1990s and Assistant General Secretary in 1999. He has been a member of the Labour Party for over thirty years and has campaigned for the party in every General Election since 1970. He was TGWU representative on the Labour Party National Policy Forum and a member of Labour's National Constitutional Committee.[citation needed]

He helped steer the TGWU into a merger with Amicus, creating Unite, one of the largest trade unions in the country.

Labour Party[edit]

Collins took the helm because the party was reportedly close to bankruptcy. In May 2008, Electoral Commission figures showed the party was £17.8 million in debt.[3]

On 20 January 2011, Collins was created a life peer as Baron Collins of Highbury, of Highbury in the London Borough of Islington, and was introduced in the House of Lords on 24 January 2011,[4] where he sits on the Labour benches. He was appointed a whip in 2011.[5] He was appointed Labour's Lords Spokesperson for International Development in 2013.[6]

On 10 July 2013 Collins was asked to review and make recommendations for internal Labour Party reform. His recommendations included replacing the electoral college system for selecting new leaders with a "one member, one vote" system. Mass membership would be encouraged by allowing "registered supporters" to join at a low cost, as well as full membership. Members from the trade unions would also have to explicitly "opt in" rather than "opt out" of paying a political levy to Labour. On 1 March 2014, at a special conference, the party largely adopted these recommendations.[7][8][9]

Personal life[edit]

In December 2007, he was named the 27th most influential LGBT person in British politics by Pink News.[10]

Collins married his partner Rafael in 2014.[11]


  1. ^ "Debretts". Debretts. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  2. ^ "Labour Party press release". Labour.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  3. ^ ""Ray Collins is new Labour general secretary", ''Pink News'', 13 June 2008". Pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  4. ^ House of Lords Minute of Proceedings for 24 January 2011.
  5. ^ Parliamentary biography Archived 2011-10-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Lord Collins of Highbury - UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  7. ^ Andrew Grice (28 February 2014). "Tony Blair backs Ed Miliband's internal Labour reforms". The Independent. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  8. ^ Andrew Sparrow (1 March 2014). "Miliband wins vote on Labour party reforms with overwhelming majority". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  9. ^ Ray Collins (February 2014). The Collins Review Into Labour Party Reform (PDF) (Report). Labour Party. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  10. ^ ""The 50 most powerful LGBT people in British politics", ''Pink News'', 27 December 2007". Pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  11. ^ Twitter - https://twitter.com/Lord_Collins
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Watt
General Secretary of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Iain McNicol