George Isaacs
Mp
Isaacs with Admiral Charles Little in 1943
Minister of Pensions
In office
17 January 1951 – 5 November 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byHilary Marquand
Succeeded byDerick Heathcoat-Amory
Minister of Labour and National Service
In office
3 August 1945 – 17 January 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byRab Butler
Succeeded byAneurin Bevan
Member of Parliament
for Southwark/Southwark North(1929-31 and 1939–1959)
In office
19 May 1939 – 8 October 1959
Preceded byEdward Anthony Strauss
Succeeded byRay Gunter
In office
30 May 1929 – 27 October 1931
Preceded byEdward Anthony Strauss
Succeeded byEdward Anthony Strauss
Member of Parliament
for Gravesend (1923-1924)
In office
6 December 1923 – 29 October 1924
Preceded byAlexander Richardson
Succeeded byIrving Albery
Personal details
Born(1883-05-28)28 May 1883
Finsbury, London
Died26 April 1979(1979-04-26) (aged 95)
Political partyLabour

George Alfred Isaacs JP DL (28 May 1883 – 26 April 1979) was a British politician and trades unionist who served in the government of Clement Attlee.

Isaacs was born in Finsbury to a Methodist family. He married Flora Beasley (1884–1962), daughter of Richard William Beasley and Mary Ann Brett, in 1905. He worked as a printer and became active in trade union organising early in life, becoming General Secretary of the National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants (NATSOPA) from 1909. This post, which he held for forty years, also took him onto the General Council of the Trades Union Congress. He was also active in the Labour Party.

He became involved in local politics in Southwark and was Mayor of the Borough of Southwark from 1919 to 1921. In the 1922 general election he fought Gravesend and was narrowly defeated; he was readopted to fight the seat in the 1923 election and won it from the Conservatives with a majority of 119. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jimmy Thomas, who was Secretary of State for the Colonies.

In the 1924 election Isaacs lost his seat, but when in 1927 the sitting Labour MP for Southwark North resigned after leaving the party, he was the natural choice to be the new candidate. However Isaacs failed to take the seat in the byelection and had to wait until the 1929 general election to return to Parliament. Thomas, now Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, reappointed him as Parliamentary Private Secretary.

When Thomas joined Ramsay MacDonald in the National Government, Isaacs remained with the Labour Party, and in consequence again lost his seat in the 1931 general election when the Labour Party was heavily defeated. He failed by 79 votes to regain his seat in 1935. Concentrating on union affairs through the 1930s, Isaacs was appointed to a Royal Commission on Workmen's Compensation in 1938. In 1945 he was President of the World Trade Union Conference.

After the MP for Southwark North died in 1939, Isaacs was finally able to regain the seat. When Labour formed the government after the 1945 election, he was appointed Minister of Labour and National Service. Part of his responsibility was to oversee the successful demobilisation of the wartime British Armed Forces. Following the arrival at London of the troopship Windrush in 1948, carrying about 500 Jamaican men said to be seeking work, Isaacs stated to Members of Parliament:

"I don't know who sent these men ... it is bound to result in difficulties ... we can give no assurances that they can be found suitable work. I hope no encouragement will be given to others to follow them."[1]

From January 1951 he was Minister of Pensions. Isaacs retired from Parliament in 1959. He had long since moved to East Molesey in Surrey where he served as a Deputy Lieutenant and as a Justice of the Peace. He was eventually Chairman of the Surrey Bench of Magistrates.

References

  1. ^ Daily Express, London newspaper, 9 June 1948.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byAlexander Richardson Member of Parliament for Gravesend 19231924 Succeeded bySir Irving Albery Preceded byEdward Strauss Member of Parliament for Southwark North 19291931 Succeeded byEdward Strauss Preceded byEdward Strauss Member of Parliament for Southwark North 19391950 Constituency abolished New constituency Member of Parliament for Southwark 19501959 Succeeded byRay Gunter Civic offices Preceded byWalter Wightman Mayor of Southwark 1919–1921 Succeeded byGeorge Hills Trade union offices Preceded byEddie Smith General Secretary of NATSOPA 1909–1948 Succeeded byHarry Good Preceded byHerbert Skinner Printing and Paper Group representativeon the General Council of the TUC 1932 – 1945 Succeeded byE. W. Spackman Preceded byC. W. Bowerman President of the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation 1939 – 1945 Succeeded byWalter C. Warren Political offices Preceded byRab Butler Minister of Labour and National Service 1945–1951 Succeeded byAneurin Bevan Preceded byHilary Marquand Minister of Pensions 1951 Succeeded byDerick Heathcoat-Amory