Ronald Henry Atkins (born 13 June 1916) is a Welsh Labour politician who served as the Member of Parliament for Preston North on two separate occasions; from 1966 until 1970 and from February 1974 until 1979. He is both the longest-lived and oldest currently surviving former MP in the UK.

Ronald Atkins
Member of Parliament
for Preston North
In office
28 February 1974 – 4 May 1979
Preceded byMary Holt
Succeeded byRobert Atkins
Member of Parliament
for Preston North
In office
31 March 1966 – 18 June 1970
Preceded byJulian Amery
Succeeded byMary Holt
Personal details
Ronald Henry Atkins

(1916-06-13) 13 June 1916 (age 103)
Barry, Glamorgan, Wales
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Atkins
RelativesCharlotte Atkins (daughter)
EducationBarry Grammar School
Alma materUniversity of London


Born in Barry, Glamorgan, son of a smallholder, Atkins was educated at Barry Grammar School[1] and the University of London. He suffered greatly from psoriasis and tried to improve his health in order to enter the armed forces in World War II by eating a carrot-only diet for more than a month. Eventually he volunteered for industrial war work as a chief greaser with a chemical company in Barry. While there he organised the company's first trade union branch.[1]

He became a teacher at a college of further education and a tutor and lecturer for the National Council of Labour Colleges. He was a councillor on Braintree Rural District Council 1952–61 and served on the Mid-Essex education committee of Essex County Council. When he stepped down in 2010 he was the oldest member of Preston City Council at the age of 93. He subsequently married his second wife, Elizabeth, shortly after she was elected to the same council in 2012.[1]

Atkins contested Lowestoft in 1964. He was twice Member of Parliament for the marginal Preston North constituency, from 1966 to 1970 - when he lost to Conservative Mary Holt, and, having defeated Holt by 255 votes, from February 1974 to 1979 - when he lost to the very-similarly named and unrelated Conservative, Robert Atkins. The margin of defeat was just 29 votes (0.1%).

Following the death of John Freeman on 20 December 2014, he became the oldest surviving former MP. Atkins celebrated his 100th birthday in June 2016. He attributed his long life to "good genes, an active lifestyle, and wild Atlantic salmon" in his diet. He was an active ballroom dancer to late in life.[1] On 30 August 2018, Atkins became the longest-lived MP ever, surpassing Theodore Cooke Taylor's record.[2] His daughter Charlotte Atkins was the Labour MP for Staffordshire Moorlands from 1997 until 2010.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Carter, Sarah (10 June 2016). "'Powerhouse' Ron Atkins celebrates 100th birthday". Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  2. ^

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Julian Amery
Member of Parliament for Preston North
Succeeded by
Mary Holt
Preceded by
Mary Holt
Member of Parliament for Preston North
February 19741979
Succeeded by
Robert Atkins