The Lord Collins of Highbury
Official portrait, 2019
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
Assumed office
20 October 2021
LeaderThe Baroness Smith of Basildon
Preceded byThe Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town
Shadow Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Assumed office
18 September 2015
LeaderThe Baroness Smith of Basildon
Shadow Spokesperson for International Development
Assumed office
18 March 2013
LeaderThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
The Baroness Smith of Basildon
Opposition Whip in the House of Lords
Assumed office
17 October 2011
LeaderThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
The Baroness Smith of Basildon
Shadow Spokesperson for Women and Equalities
In office
15 April 2020 – 29 September 2020
LeaderThe Baroness Smith of Basildon
Shadow Spokesperson for Work and Pensions
In office
6 September 2012 – 18 March 2013
LeaderThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
General Secretary of the Labour Party
In office
12 June 2008 – 19 July 2011
LeaderGordon Brown
Harriet Harman (acting)
Ed Miliband
Preceded byPeter Watt
Succeeded byIain McNicol
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
24 January 2011
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born
Ray Edward Harry Collins

(1954-12-21) 21 December 1954 (age 66)
NationalityBritish
Political partyLabour

Ray Edward Harry Collins, Baron Collins of Highbury (born 21 December 1954)[1] is a British politician and trade unionist serving as a Member of the House of Lords since 2011. A member of the Labour Party, he has been Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords since 2021. Collins served as General Secretary of the Labour Party from 2008 to 2011,[2] and has held several opposition front bench posts in the Lords since 2011.

Trade unionist

Collins was appointed Central Office Manager of the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1984 and held essentially the same post until 2008, being redesignated Head of Administration in the 1990s and Assistant General Secretary in 1999. He has been a member of the Labour Party for over thirty years and has campaigned for the party in every General Election since 1970. He was TGWU representative on the Labour Party National Policy Forum and a member of Labour's National Constitutional Committee.[citation needed]

He helped steer the TGWU into a merger with Amicus, creating Unite, one of the largest trade unions in the country.

Labour Party

Collins took the helm because the party was reportedly close to bankruptcy. In May 2008, Electoral Commission figures showed the party was £17.8 million in debt.[3]

On 20 January 2011, Collins was created a life peer as Baron Collins of Highbury, of Highbury in the London Borough of Islington,[4] and was introduced in the House of Lords on 24 January 2011,[5] where he sits on the Labour benches. He was appointed a whip in 2011.[6] He was appointed Labour's Lords Spokesperson for International Development in 2013.[7]

On 10 July 2013 Collins was asked to review and make recommendations for internal Labour Party reform. His recommendations included replacing the electoral college system for selecting new leaders with a "one member, one vote" system. Mass membership would be encouraged by allowing "registered supporters" to join at a low cost, as well as full membership. Members from the trade unions would also have to explicitly "opt in" rather than "opt out" of paying a political levy to Labour. On 1 March 2014, at a special conference, the party largely adopted these recommendations.[8][9][10]

Personal life

Collins married his partner Rafael in 2014.[11]

References

  1. ^ "Debretts". Debretts. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Labour Party press release". Labour.org.uk. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  3. ^ ""Ray Collins is new Labour general secretary", Pink News, 13 June 2008". Pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  4. ^ "No. 59680". The London Gazette. 25 January 2011. p. 1161.
  5. ^ House of Lords Minute of Proceedings for 24 January 2011.
  6. ^ Parliamentary biography Archived 12 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Lord Collins of Highbury - UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  8. ^ Andrew Grice (28 February 2014). "Tony Blair backs Ed Miliband's internal Labour reforms". The Independent. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  9. ^ Andrew Sparrow (1 March 2014). "Miliband wins vote on Labour party reforms with overwhelming majority". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  10. ^ Ray Collins (February 2014). The Collins Review Into Labour Party Reform (PDF) (Report). Labour Party. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  11. ^ Twitter - https://twitter.com/Lord_Collins
Party political offices Preceded byPeter Watt General Secretary of the Labour Party 2008–2011 Succeeded byIain McNicol Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Preceded byThe Lord Wigley GentlemenBaron Collins of Highbury Followed byThe Lord Hussain