The Lord Morris of Aberavon
Official portrait of Lord Morris of Aberavon crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Attorney General for England and Wales
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
In office
2 May 1997 – 29 July 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Solicitor General
Preceded byNicholas Lyell
Succeeded byThe Lord Williams of Mostyn
Opposition frontbench 1979-97
Shadow Attorney General
In office
9 June 1983 – 2 May 1997
Preceded byArthur Davidson
Succeeded byNicholas Lyell
In office
14 July 1979 – 24 November 1981
Preceded bySamuel Silkin
Succeeded byPeter Archer
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
In office
4 May 1979 – 14 July 1979
LeaderJames Callaghan
Preceded byNicholas Edwards
Succeeded byAlec Jones
Ministerial offices 1966-79
Secretary of State for Wales
In office
5 March 1974 – 4 May 1979
Prime Minister
Preceded byPeter Thomas
Succeeded byNicholas Edwards
Minister of Defence for Equipment
In office
16 April 1968 – 19 June 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byRoy Mason
Succeeded byRobert Lindsay
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport
In office
10 January 1966 – 16 April 1968
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byGeorge Lindgren
Succeeded byRobert Brown
Assumed office
In office
8 October 1959 – 14 May 2001
Preceded byWilliam Cove
Succeeded byHywel Francis
Personal details
Born (1931-11-05) 5 November 1931 (age 91)
Capel Bangor, Wales
Political partyLabour
Alma mater

John Morris, Baron Morris of Aberavon, KG, PC, KC (born 5 November 1931) is a British politician.[1] He was a Labour Party Member of Parliament for over 41 years, from 1959 to 2001, which included a period as Secretary of State for Wales from 1974 to 1979 and as Attorney General between 1997 and 1999.[2] He is the only living former Labour MP who was first elected in the 1950s.[3] He is also the last surviving member of Harold Wilson's 1974–76 cabinet, and is the current longest-serving Privy Counsellor.[4] His combined parliamentary service has totalled over 60 years.

Background and education

Morris was born in Capel Bangor, Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire. He was educated at Ardwyn School, the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.[2]

Professional career

Morris was a barrister and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1954. He practised at 2 Bedford Row Chambers, took silk in 1973 and was made a Bencher of Gray's Inn in 1984. Between 1982 and 1997, he was a Recorder of the Crown Court.

Political career

Morris represented Aberavon as its Labour MP from 1959 onwards, and was the longest serving Welsh MP in Parliament, until his retirement in 2001, when he was succeeded by Hywel Francis. According to The Almanac of British Politics, Morris was a "moderate" Labour MP.[5]

Morris served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Transport, and Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence. Having been sworn of the Privy Council in the 1970 Birthday Honours,[6] Morris joined the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Wales between 5 March 1974 and 4 May 1979 and returned to Government as the Attorney General for England and Wales and Northern Ireland between 1997 and 1999, having shadowed the role since 1983. As such, he was one of only a small handful of Labour ministers to hold office under Harold Wilson, James Callaghan and Tony Blair.

Other positions held

Lord Morris has been Chancellor of the University of South Wales since its formation in 2013. The University of South Wales was formed by a merger between University of Glamorgan (where Lord Morris was Chancellor since 2002) and the University of Wales, Newport. He succeeded fellow Labour politician Lord Merlyn-Rees as the Chancellor for the University of Glamorgan. Lord Morris was President of the London Welsh Trust, which runs the London Welsh Centre, Gray's Inn Road, from 2001 until 2008.[7] He is also a council member of The Prince's Trust.


Morris was raised to the peerage for life as Baron Morris of Aberavon, of Aberavon in the County of West Glamorgan and of Ceredigion in the County of Dyfed in the 2001 Dissolution Honours,[8][9] was made Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed a year later[10] and was appointed to the Order of the Garter as a Knight Companion (KG) in 2003.[11]


Coat of arms of John Morris, Baron Morris of Aberavon
Coat of Arms of John, Baron Morris of Aberavon.svg
Life peer as Baron since 2001
A coronet of a Baron
A bull passant Sable armed and unguled Or with a palewise book Argent upon other Sable.
Mantling Argent and Sable.
Sable a Portcullis Or, over all three swords palewise proper headed Or.
Welsh: He who would a leader be, be a bridge
The Order of the Garter circlet.[12][13][14][15]
Garter Banner of the Baron Morris of Aberavon.svg
The banner of the Baron Morris of Aberavon's arms used as knight of the Garter depicted at St George's Chapel.


  1. ^ "Morris, John, 1931 Nov. 5- - National Library of Wales Archives and Manuscripts". Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Morris of Aberavon, Baron, (John Morris) (born Nov. 1931)". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u28179. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  3. ^ Pointer, Graham (21 December 2014). "Graham Pointer's Blog: Elected In The 50s - A Look At Surviving Ex-MPs". Graham Pointer's Blog. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Privy Council Members: M". Privy Council Office. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  5. ^ Waller, Robert; Criddle, Byron (1999). The Almanac of British Politics. ISBN 9780415185417.
  6. ^ "No. 45117". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1970. p. 6365.
  7. ^ "Our Former Presidents: London Welsh Centre". London Welsh Centre website. London Welsh Centre. 2010. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  8. ^ "No. 56266". The London Gazette. 6 July 2001. p. 7999.
  9. ^ "No. 25044". The Edinburgh Gazette. 6 July 2001. p. 1528.
  10. ^ "No. 56787". The London Gazette. 19 December 2002. p. 15392.
  11. ^ "No. 56915". The London Gazette. 23 April 2003. p. 5017.
  12. ^ Arms of the Baron Morris of Aberavon blazon. Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 16 January 2014
  13. ^ Anthony Acland's crest Heraldic Sculptor. Retrieved 20 December 2013
  14. ^ Anthony Acland's banner of arms image. Retrieved 24 December 2013
  15. ^ Acland's arms image. Retrieved 24 December 2013
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byWilliam Cove Member of Parliamentfor Aberavon 19592001 Succeeded byHywel Francis Political offices Preceded byPeter Thomas Secretary of State for Wales 1974–1979 Succeeded byNicholas Edwards Preceded byMichael Havers Shadow Attorney General 1980–1981 Succeeded byPeter Archer Preceded byArthur Davidson Shadow Attorney General 1982–1997 Succeeded byNicholas Lyell Preceded byNicholas Lyell Attorney General for England and Wales 1997–1999 Succeeded byThe Lord Williams of Mostyn Attorney General for Northern Ireland 1997–1999 Honorary titles Preceded byDavid Lewis Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed 2002–2006 Succeeded byRobin Lewis Preceded byThe Duke of Edinburgh Senior Privy Counsellor 2021–present Incumbent Academic offices Preceded byMerlyn Rees Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan 2002–present Incumbent Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Preceded byThe Lord Clark of Windermere GentlemenBaron Morris of Aberavon Followed byThe Lord Fowler