Richard Wainwright (politician)
Wainwright was educated at Shrewsbury School and then won an open scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge (BA History, 1938). While studying for his degree he developed his interest in the Liberal Party, as a member of the Cambridge University Liberal Club.
Early life and career
During the 1930s Wainwright was deeply affected by the social conditions in Britain; what he witnessed particularly on the housing estates in Leeds shaped his future political views. After leaving university he became a Merchant Banker, but later left the profession to focus on his political aspirations.
During World War II, he registered as a conscientious objector and joined the Friends' Ambulance Unit, a Quaker organisation, serving in Normandy in 1944, and Antwerp the Netherlands and Germany in 1944-46.
Wainwright stood as the Liberal Party candidate for the constituency of Pudsey in the general election of 1950 and again in 1955, but was unsuccessful on both occasions. In 1956 he became the Liberal candidate for Colne Valley. Standing there as a Liberal in 1959, the 1963 by-election, and 1964, he increased his vote each time until he finally gained the seat in 1966. At the following election in 1970 he was defeated by Labour's David Clark, but re-gained the seat at the February 1974 election. He retained his seat until his retirement at the 1987 general election.
In 1953, Wainwright was elected to the executive of the Liberal Party, and served as party Chairman between 1970 and 1972. His particular areas of interest were employment, trade and public finance. From 1961 he concentrated his work at Liberal headquarters on local government. He was a central spokesman for the Liberal Party on finance (representing his party on the Finance Bill Committee in 1968), trade and industry, the economy (1966–1970; 1979–1985) and employment (1985–1987). He was Chairman of the Liberal Party Research Department (1968-70). After 1974 Wainwright focused on the financial management of the party.
In the party's 1967 leadership election to replace Jo Grimond he was mooted as a possible 'Stop Jeremy Thorpe' candidate, but in the event did not stand, due to the brevity of his parliamentary experience.
After 1987, although retired as an MP, Wainwright continued to be politically active, working for the Electoral Reform Society, as well as being a founding member of the executive committee of Charter 88. Between 1986 and 1997 he was also Deputy Chairman of the Wider Share Ownership Council. When the Liberal Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Liberal Democrats, Wainwright became a member working as President of the Yorkshire Federation of Liberal Democrats (1989-97).
Wainwright was a Methodist lay preacher. Between 1948 and 1958 he served on the Leeds Group B Hospital Management Committee, and was Chairman of the Arthington Hospital and Thorp Arch Hospital Committees. He served on the Committee for the Leeds, Skyrac and Morley Savings Bank Board of Managers and Leeds Library Committee. Further roles included Treasurer of the Leeds Invalid Children's Aid Society and the Bethany House Free Church Probation Home. Between 1959 and 1984 he was a member of the Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust Limited (now the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust). He was also made a Fellow of the Huddersfield Polytechnic (later the University of Huddersfield) in 1988.
Family and Legacy
His wife Joyce (née Hollis; died 4 February 2011), whom he married in 1948, was an active member of the Yorkshire Women's Liberal Federation, fulfilling roles as both Chairman and President, and Chairman of the Colne Valley Women's Liberal Council (1959–1987). She was also a member of the Executive of the national Women's Liberal Federation.
Two of his children have a public profile: his son, Martin is a former Northern Editor of The Guardian newspaper and Hilary Wainwright, one of his daughters, is a radical academic and editor of Red Pepper magazine.
- Cole, Matt (2011). Richard Wainwright, the Liberals and Liberal Democrats: Unfinished Business. Manchester University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-7190-8253-5.
- Account of the Friend's Ambulance Unit covering the period of Richard Wainwright's service in North-West Europe.
- Martin Wainwright recounts his father and family choosing to give refuge to a displaced Ugandan Asian family in 1972 (Guardian, 15 August 2005)
- Papers of Richard Wainwright at LSE Archives
- Barnes, John (5 Feb 2003). "Obituary: Richard Wainwright". The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- Meadowcroft, Michael (17 January 2003). "Obituary: Richard Wainwright". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- "Obituary: Richard Wainwright". The Telegraph. 18 January 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Colne Valley
|Member of Parliament for Colne Valley
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of the Liberal Party