The Lord Glenamara
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
In office
5 March 1974 – 8 April 1976
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byJim Prior
Succeeded byMichael Foot
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office
25 April 1972 – 8 April 1976
LeaderHarold Wilson
Preceded byRoy Jenkins
Succeeded byMichael Foot
Secretary of State for Education and Science
In office
6 April 1968 – 20 June 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byPatrick Gordon Walker
Succeeded byMargaret Thatcher
Postmaster General
In office
4 July 1966 – 6 April 1968
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byTony Benn
Succeeded byRoy Mason
Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
16 October 1964 – 4 July 1966
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byMartin Redmayne
Succeeded byJohn Silkin
Member of the House of Lords
Life peerage
28 January 1977 – 4 May 2012
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne Central
In office
25 October 1951 – 12 October 1976
Preceded byLyall Wilkes
Succeeded byHarry Cowans
Personal details
Edward Watson Short

(1912-12-17)17 December 1912
Warcop, England
Died4 May 2012(2012-05-04) (aged 99)
Hexham, England
Political partyLabour
Jennie Sewell
(m. 1941; died 2008)
Alma materCollege of the Venerable Bede
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/service British Army
UnitDurham Light Infantry
Battles/warsSecond World War

Edward Watson Short, Baron Glenamara, CH, PC (17 December 1912 – 4 May 2012) was a British Labour Party politician and deputy leader of the Labour Party. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and served as a minister during the Labour governments under Harold Wilson, before being appointed to the House of Lords shortly after James Callaghan became Prime Minister.

Following the death of James Allason on 16 June 2011, Short was the oldest living former member of the British House of Commons. He died just under a year later, aged 99. At the time of his death he was the oldest member of the House of Lords.[1]

Early career

Short was born in Warcop, Westmorland. His father Charles Short, a draper, was married to Mary. Short qualified as a teacher at College of the Venerable Bede, Durham University, before completing a second degree, in law, at London University. He taught on Tyneside until enlisting in 1939.[2] He served as a Captain in the Durham Light Infantry of the British Army during the Second World War.[3] After leaving the army, he returned to teaching, becoming Newcastle branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers and in 1947, head of Princess Louise Boys' School, Blyth.[2] He married Jennie Sewell in 1941, and they had two children.[4]

Short joined the Labour Party in 1942 and was elected a councillor on Newcastle City Council in 1948, where he led the Labour Group within two years.[4] He was first elected to Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central at the 1951 general election.[4] He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1964, and was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in 1976.[5]

Postmaster General

Short was responsible for the outlawing of pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline. Following the government campaign against the pirates previously led by Tony Benn, his predecessor in the post of Postmaster-General (then the minister with responsibility for broadcasting), Short was responsible for introducing the bill[6] which became the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967. In a 1982 interview for BBC Radio's The Story of Pop Radio, Short admitted having enjoyed listening to some of those stations, particularly Radio 390.

As Postmaster General, Short ordered the creation of the 1966 England Winners stamp to celebrate England's victory in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

Education Secretary

He subsequently served as Education Secretary 1968–70, and became Labour's deputy leader on 25 April 1972 after Roy Jenkins resigned over differences on European policy.[7] Short was seen at the time as a "safe pair of hands". His main rival for the job was the left-winger Michael Foot who was viewed by many on the centre and right of the party as a divisive figure. Short defeated Foot and Anthony Crosland in the same vote.

Lord President of the Council

Short's new seniority was reflected in 1974 as his appointment as Lord President of the Council – though not Deputy Prime Minister. While he stood in for Wilson at cabinet meetings and prime minister's questions, he did not have the stature to mount a leadership bid himself upon the prime minister's retirement in 1976.[4] He was not offered a Cabinet post on James Callaghan's election as Prime Minister. His resignation letter said that the time had come for him to step aside for a younger man; this was sarcasm, as he was replaced by Michael Foot, who was only seven months younger than himself. Short was also nine months younger than Callaghan, who had dropped him from the cabinet. Barbara Castle made similar remarks, having also been dropped from the cabinet.


He was made a life peer as Baron Glenamara, of Glenridding in the County of Cumbria on 28 January 1977,[8] a few months after he had left the Commons. One year before, he was appointed Chairman of Cable and Wireless Ltd, which was at the time a nationalised industry. He served in that post until 1980.

As a life peer he was a member of the House of Lords, although he stopped attending regularly a few years before his death.

His name lives on in the House of Commons with the term "Short Money". This refers to funds paid by the Government to help run the Parliamentary office of the Leader of the Opposition. The then Mr Short pioneered this idea during his time in the House.[4]

He was made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle in 2001 "in recognition of his eminent and outstanding public service" and served as Chancellor of the University of Northumbria, a post he retired from in 2005. Short died in Hexham on 4 May 2012, at the age of 99.[4]

Coat of arms of Edward Short, Baron Glenamara
Out of the Top of a Tower proper two Trefoils Vert volant therefrom a Bee proper;
Sable four Portcullises each dimidiating a Covered Cup two in chief one in base that in fess between two Bars Gemel Gold;
Dexter: a Stag guardant proper the dexter foreleg supporting a Board Vert; Sinister: a Sea-Horse proper;
Levavi Oculos Meos (I have lifted up mine eyes) [9]


  1. ^ "Lord Glenamara of Glenridding, 1912–2012 – Northumbria University, Newcastle UK". Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Lord Glenamara". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Lord Glenamara obituary". Guardian. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Radice, Giles (2016). "Short, Edward Watson [Ted], Baron Glenamara (1912–2012), politician. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/105080. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "No. 46916". The London Gazette. 1 June 1976. p. 7823.
  6. ^ "Marine, & C., Broadxasting (OffencesFFENCES)", HC Deb 27 July 1966, Hansard, vol 732 c1720
  7. ^ "Unity call as Short wins by 29 votes". The Glasgow Herald. 26 April 1972. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  8. ^ "No. 47138". The London Gazette. 1 February 1977. p. 1427.
  9. ^ "Life Peerages – G". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byLyall Wilkes Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central 19511976 Succeeded byHarry Cowans Political offices Preceded byHerbert Bowden Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons 1964–1966 Succeeded byJohn Silkin Preceded byMartin Redmayne Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury 1964–1966 Preceded byTony Benn Postmaster General 1966–1968 Succeeded byRoy Mason Preceded byPatrick Gordon Walker Secretary of State for Education and Science 1968–1970 Succeeded byMargaret Thatcher Preceded byJames Prior Leader of the House of Commons 1974–1976 Succeeded byMichael Foot Lord President of the Council 1974–1976 Party political offices Preceded byRoy Jenkins Deputy Leader of the Labour Party 1972–1976 Succeeded byMichael Foot Academic offices New office Chancellor of Northumbria University 1992–2005 Succeeded byThe Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington