Jenkins, Baron Roy Harris
British politician, born in Monmouthshire, Wales. He became a Labour minister in 1964, was home secretary 1965-67 and 1974-76, and chancellor of the Exchequer 1967-70. He was president of the European Commission 1977-81. In 1981 he became one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party and was elected as an SDP MP in 1982, but lost his seat in 1987. In the same year, he was elected chancellor of Oxford University and made a life peer. In 1997 he was appointed head of a commission, set up by the Labour government, to recommend, in 1998, a new voting system for elections to Parliament.
Jenkins was educated at Abersychan Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he became a close friend of the future Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell. He served in World War II, and became Labour MP for Southend (1948-50) and, subsequently for Birmingham Stechford (1950-76). He was minister of aviation (1964-65), then home secretary and chancellor of the Exchequer under Harold Wilson. As chancellor he pursued policies that resulted in a record balance of payments surplus. In 1970 he became deputy leader of the Labour Party, but resigned in 1972 because of his disagreement with Wilson on the issue of UK entry to the European Community (now the European Union). Jenkins was a leading member of the pro-European supporters in the referendum campaign of 1975. He unsuccessfully contested the Labour leadership in 1976.
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