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John Silkin
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
24 November 1981 – 26 October 1984
LeaderMichael Foot
Neil Kinnock
Preceded byBrynmor John
Succeeded byDenzil Davies
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
In office
8 December 1980 – 30 October 1983
LeaderMichael Foot
Preceded byMichael Foot
Succeeded byPeter Shore
Shadow Secretary of State for Industry
In office
14 July 1979 – 8 December 1980
LeaderJim Callaghan
Preceded byEric Varley
Succeeded byStanley Orme
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
10 September 1976 – 4 May 1979
Prime MinisterJim Callaghan
Preceded byFred Peart
Succeeded byPeter Walker
Minister of State for Local Government and Planning
In office
7 March 1974 – 10 September 1976
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Jim Callaghan
Preceded byGraham Page (Local Government and Development)
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Services
In office
24 March 1972 – 5 March 1974
LeaderHarold Wilson
Preceded byBarbara Castle
Succeeded byKeith Joseph
Minister of Public Buildings and Works
In office
30 April 1969 – 19 June 1970
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byBob Mellish
Succeeded byJulian Amery
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
4 July 1966 – 30 April 1969
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byEdward Short
Succeeded byBob Mellish
Treasurer of the Household
In office
11 April 1966 – 4 July 1966
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded bySydney Irving
Succeeded byCharles Grey
Member of Parliament
for Lewisham Deptford
Deptford (1963–1974)
In office
4 July 1963 – 26 April 1987
Preceded byLeslie Plummer
Succeeded byJoan Ruddock
Personal details
Born(1923-03-18)18 March 1923
London, England
Died26 April 1987(1987-04-26) (aged 64)
London, England
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)
(m. 1950)
Alma materUniversity of Wales
Trinity Hall, Cambridge

John Ernest Silkin (18 March 1923 – 26 April 1987) was a British left-wing Labour politician and solicitor.

Early life

He was the third son of Lewis Silkin, 1st Baron Silkin, and a younger brother of Samuel Silkin, Baron Silkin of Dulwich. He was educated at Dulwich College, the University of Wales and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Silkin served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve from 1942 to 1946. He was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in 1943, serving in the East Indies Fleet, Eastern Fleet and Pacific Fleet aboard HMS King George V and HMS Formidable, and ashore at Anderson, Ceylon (FECB). He was later promoted lieutenant. He was demobilised in 1946 and returned to Cambridge.

Silkin was admitted as a solicitor in 1950 and worked for his father's law practice in London.

Parliamentary career

He contested the seat of St Marylebone for the Labour Party at the 1950 general election, West Woolwich in 1951 and South Nottingham in 1959. He served as a councillor in the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone (1962–63) and was elected to the House of Commons for the first time in July 1963. He served as the Labour Member of Parliament for Deptford (1963–74) and for Lewisham, Deptford (1974–87).

He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1966. He served as a Government Chief Whip (1966–69) and as the deputy leader of the House of Commons (1968–69). He was appointed as the Minister of Public Buildings and Works (1969–70) and the Minister for Planning and Local Government in the Department for the Environment (1974–76). He served as the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1976–79).

In opposition, Silkin was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1980 Labour leadership election following the resignation of James Callaghan and in the deputy leadership election in 1981.[1] He served as Opposition Spokesman on Industry (1979–80), Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (1980–83), Shadow Defence Secretary (1981–83) and the Dairy Industry Arbitrator (1986–87).

Silkin's publication, Changing Battlefields: The Challenge to the Labour Party appeared posthumously. His papers were given to the Churchill Archives Centre by his widow in February 1990. These cover his Parliamentary and Ministerial career, as well as his other public interests, such as the Channel Tunnel, the European Economic Community and the dairy industry. There is material of particular interest concerning his relationship with his Constituency Labour Party in Deptford and on the Labour Party Leadership and Deputy Leadership Elections in 1980 and 1981.

Family

He was married to the actress Rosamund John from 1950 until his death in 1987. Their son Rory L. F. Silkin was born in 1954.[2] Rory has a daughter called Natasha Silkin, who also works in politics for Hanover Communications.[3]

References

  1. ^ Carlton, Ann (10 August 2016). "How Tony Benn's deputy leadership campaign was defeated". New Statesman.
  2. ^ Associated Press (28 April 1987). "John Silkin Dies in London; Was Labor Cabinet Minister". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Natasha Silkin". Hanover Communications. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byLeslie Plummer Member of Parliamentfor Deptford 19631974 Constituency abolished New constituency Member of Parliamentfor Lewisham Deptford 19741987 Succeeded byJoan Ruddock Political offices Preceded bySydney Irving Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons 1966 Succeeded byCharles Grey Treasurer of the Household 1966 Preceded byEdward Short Chief Whip of the House of Commons 1966–1969 Succeeded byBob Mellish Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury 1966–1969 Preceded byBob Mellish Minister of State for Public Buildings and Works 1969–1970 Succeeded byJulian Amery Preceded byBarbara Castle Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Services 1972–1974 Succeeded byKeith Joseph Preceded byGraham Pageas Minister of State for Local Government and Development Minister of State for Local Government and Planning 1974–1976 Position abolished Preceded byFred Peart Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1976–1979 Succeeded byPeter Walker Preceded byEric Varley Shadow Secretary of State for Industry 1979–1980 Succeeded byStanley Orme Preceded byMichael Foot Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 1980–1983 Succeeded byPeter Shore Preceded byBrynmor John Shadow Secretary of State for Defence 1981–1984 Succeeded byDenzil Davies Party political offices Preceded bySydney Irving Labour Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons 1966 Succeeded byCharles Grey Preceded byEdward Short Labour Chief Whip of the House of Commons 1966–1969 Succeeded byBob Mellish