Goronwy Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts

Goronwy Owen Goronwy-Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts, FRSA PC (20 September 1913 – 23 July 1981), was a Welsh Labour Member of Parliament.


The Lord Goronwy-Roberts

Goronwy Roberts.jpg
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
In office
December 1975 – May 1979
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
James Callaghan
LeaderLord Shepherd
Lord Peart
Preceded byLord Beswick
Succeeded byEarl Ferrers
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
4 December 1975 – 4 May 1979
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
James Callaghan
Preceded byRoy Hattersley
Succeeded byPeter Blaker
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
8 March 1974 – 4 December 1975
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byPeter Blaker
Succeeded byTed Rowlands
Minister of State for Trade
In office
13 October 1969 – 19 June 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byBill Rodgers
Succeeded byFrederick Corfield
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
17 October 1968 – 13 October 1969
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byBaroness White
Succeeded byLord Shepherd
Minister of State for Education and Science
In office
6 April 1966 – 29 August 1967
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byReg Prentice
Succeeded byAlice Bacon
Minister of State for Wales
In office
20 October 1964 – 6 April 1966
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byoffice established
Succeeded byGeorge Thomas
Member of the House of Lords
In office
25 March 1974 – 23 July 1981
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Caernarfon
In office
23 February 1950 – 28 February 1974
Preceded byDavid Price-White
Succeeded byDafydd Wigley
Member of Parliament
for Caernarvonshire
In office
5 July 1945 – 23 February 1950
Preceded byGoronwy Owen
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
Personal details
Born20 September 1913
Died23 July 1981 (aged 67)
Spouse(s)Marian Ann Evans

Early lifeEdit

Roberts was the younger son of Edward and Amelia Roberts from Bethesda, Gwynedd, where his father was an elder of the Presbyterian Church of Wales.[1] He was educated at Ogwen Grammar School, Bethesda and the University College of North Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University).[1] Later he attended the University of London and was appointed a Fellow of the University of Wales in 1938. While at Bangor, Roberts, together with Harri Gwynn was one of the founders of Mudiad Gwerin, a nationalist left-wing pressure group.[1][2]

Roberts served in the army in 1940-41 and in the army reserve until 1944. From 1941 until 1944 he worked as Youth Education Officer for Caernarfonshire and in 1944 was appointed lecturer in youth leadership at the University College of Swansea.

Member of ParliamentEdit

Goronwy Roberts was elected Labour MP for Caernarvonshire in 1945, when he defeated the sitting Liberal MP Goronwy Owen, who had held the seat since 1923.[1] Following boundary changes, he was elected to represent Caernarvon at the 1950 General Election, defeating the Liberal candidate by over 10,000 votes.[1] He continued to represent the constituency until February 1974, when he lost his seat to Dafydd Wigley of Plaid Cymru.

During the 1950s, Roberts was, together with Cledwyn Hughes and others, a stalwart of the Parliament for Wales campaign. In 1951, Plaid Cymru announced that the party would not oppose him at the General Election due to his support for the campaign.[3] Eventually, he presented the final petition to Parliament, bearing more than 250,000 signatures, in May 1956.[1]

He was a member of the House of Commons Chairmen's Panel in 1963-64, and served in government as Minister of State at the Welsh Office from 1964–66, Minister of State at the Department for Education and Science from 1966–67, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1967-69, and Minister of State for Trade 1969-70. When Labour lost power in 1970, Roberts became an opposition spokesman on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1968.

House of Lords and later lifeEdit

On his defeat at the February General election in 1974 he was created a life peer as Baron Goronwy-Roberts, of Caernarfon and of Ogwen in the County of Caernarfonshire.[4] He returned to government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1974-75 and as Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1975-79. He was Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, 1975-79.

Personal lifeEdit

Roberts was a Member of the Court of Governors of the National Library of Wales, the National Museum of Wales and the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University). He was Chairman of the Welsh publishing house, Hughes a'i fab, from 1955 to 1959. He was appointed a FRSA in 1968 and an Honorary Freeman of the Royal Borough of Caernarfon in 1972.[1]

In 1942 Roberts married Marian Ann Evans, daughter of David and Elizabeth Evans of Robertstown, Aberdare. They had two children: a daughter, Ann, and a son, Dafydd.[1] Marion Goronwy-Roberts wrote a biography of Marion Phillips, the pioneering Labour campaigner for women's rights,[5] and a number of books in Welsh,[1] including the centenary lecture at the 1981 Welsh National Eisteddfod on the Welsh poet, scholar and politician, W. J. Gruffydd.[6]

AssessmentEdit

Goronwy Roberts was a strong supporter of devolution and of Welsh culture but was also a fierce critic of what he regarded as the nationalistic excess of Plaid Cymru. His own roots were in the Labour tradition of the quarry working communities of his constituency. His Welsh was fluent and attractive ("swynol, dawel, gerddorol").[7] He was greatly troubled by his defeat at the General Election of 1974.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jones, John Graham. "Goronwy Owen Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  2. ^ Chapman, T. Robin. "Harri Gwynn (1913 - 1985), writer and broadcaster". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  3. ^ Jones 1992, p. 214.
  4. ^ "No. 46249". The London Gazette. 28 March 1974. p. 4005.
  5. ^ Goronwy-Roberts, Marian (2000). A Woman of Vision - A Life of Marion Phillips, MP. Wrexham: Bridge Books. ISBN 1872424848.
  6. ^ Goronwy-Roberts, Marian (1981). W J Gruffydd - Darlith ganmlwyddiant. Cyhoeddiadau Barddas (National Eisteddfod of Wales 1981).
  7. ^ Jones, John Graham. "ROBERTS, GORONWY OWEN (1913-1981), gwleidydd Llafur". Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 7 November 2019.

SourcesEdit

Books and JournalsEdit

OnlineEdit

OtherEdit

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Goronwy Owen
Member of Parliament for Caernarvonshire
19451950
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
David Price-White
Member of Parliament for Caernarvon
1950Feb. 1974
Succeeded by
Dafydd Wigley
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Beswick
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
1975–1979
Succeeded by
Earl Ferrers