James Donnelly Touhig, Baron Touhig PC KSS (born 5 December 1947), known as Don Touhig, is a British politician and life peer who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Islwyn from 1995 to 2010.[1] A member of the Labour and Co-operative parties, he served in government as an Assistant Whip from 1999 to 2001 and a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State from 2001 to 2006.

The Lord Touhig
Official portrait of Lord Touhig crop 2, 2022.jpg
Official portrait, 2022
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Veterans
In office
11 May 2005 – 5 May 2006
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byIvor Caplin
Succeeded byTom Watson
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs
In office
12 June 2003 – 10 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales
In office
11 June 2001 – 10 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDavid Hanson
Succeeded byNick Ainger
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
30 June 2010
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Islwyn
In office
16 February 1995 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byNeil Kinnock
Succeeded byChris Evans
Personal details
Born (1947-12-05) 5 December 1947 (age 74)
Abersychan, Monmouthshire, Wales
Political partyLabour and Co-operative
Spouse
Jennifer Hughes
(m. 1968; died 2014)
Children4
Other offices
  • 1999–2001: Assistant Whip in the Commons
  • 2015–2016: Opposition Whip in the Lords
  • 2015–2017, 2020–2021: Shadow Defence Spokesperson

Early lifeEdit

He went to St Francis RC School in Abersychan near Pontypool, then the Mid Gwent College (now Coleg Gwent) in Pontypool. Before entering parliament, he had been a journalist from 1968–76. From 1976–90, he was the Editor of the Free Press of Monmouthshire (Monmouth Free Press). From 1988–92, he was the general manager and Editor-in-Chief of the Free Press Group of newspapers. He was the general manager (business development) of the Bailey Group from 1992–3, then of Bailey Print from 1993–5. He served on Gwent County Council from 1973–95. He joined the TGWU in 1962 and the Labour Party in 1966.

Parliamentary careerEdit

House of CommonsEdit

Touhig contested the Richmond and Barnes constituency at the 1992 general election, but reached third-place behind the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates. Following the resignation of Neil Kinnock, former Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party, he was elected to succeed him as MP for Islwyn at the by-election on 16 February 1995.

From 1996 to 1997, Touhig was a Member of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, from May 1997 to July 1999. He had to resign as PPS in 1999, when he confessed to receiving a leaked Social Security Select Committee report on Child benefit.[2] He was later suspended for three days from the Commons.[3]

He was appointed to serve as an Assistant Whip from November 1999 to June 2001. He was a junior minister at the Ministry of Defence, with special responsibility for veterans, but left government in the May 2006 reshuffle.[4] He was made a Member of the Privy Council on 19 July 2006.

In Paul Flynn's 1999 book Dragons and Poodles, he was described as being the "seamstress-in-chief of stitch ups", that he could be "ambitious" and "can be pompous".[5]

On 29 January 2010, Touhig announced that he would stand down at the 2010 General Election.[6]

House of LordsEdit

On 28 June 2010, Touhig was made a life peer in the House of Lords as Baron Touhig, of Islwyn and Glansychan in the County of Gwent.[7]

He was appointed to the opposition front bench as a Whip and Shadow Spokesperson for Defence in September 2015, serving as a Whip until September 2016 and a Defence Spokesperson until October 2017. He returned to the defence brief from April 2020 to May 2021.

Personal lifeEdit

Touhig was married on 21 September 1968 to Jennifer Hughes. She died in 2014 from cancer, aged 67.[8] They have two sons and two daughters.

HonoursEdit

He is a papal knight of the Order of Saint Sylvester (KSS).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Introduction: Lord Touhig: 30 Jun 2010: House of Lords debates". TheyWorkForYou.
  2. ^ "Chancellor's aide quits over leak". BBC News Online. 27 July 1999.
  3. ^ "MPs suspended over leak". BBC News Online. 21 October 1999.
  4. ^ "Blair saga 'bleeds party' says MP". BBC News Online. 31 August 2006.
  5. ^ "Dragons and Poodles – a story of Welsh politics". BBC News Online. 15 September 1999.
  6. ^ "Labour Don Touhig, MP for Islwyn, is to stand down". BBC News Online. 30 January 2010.
  7. ^ "No. 59476". The London Gazette. 1 July 2010. p. 12452.
  8. ^ "Tributes paid to wife of former Islwyn MP". South Wales Argus.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Islwyn
19952010
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Touhig
Followed by
The Lord Davies of Stamford