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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Merlyn-Rees 

In office
10 September 1976 – 4 May 1979
Prime Minister James Callaghan
Preceded by Roy Jenkins
Succeeded by William Whitelaw

In office
5 March 1974 – 10 September 1976
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Francis Pym
Succeeded by Roy Mason

Born 18 December 1920
Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales, UK
Died 5 January 2006 (aged 85)
London, UK
Political party Labour

Merlyn Rees, later Merlyn Merlyn-Rees, Baron Merlyn-Rees, PC (18 December 1920 – 5 January 2006) was a British Labour party Member of Parliament from 1963 until 1992, having served as Home Secretary.


Early life

Born in Cilfynydd, near Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales, and educated at Harrow Weald Grammar School, Harrow, England and Goldsmiths College, London where he was president of the Students' union from 1939 to 1941. He served in the RAF the University of Nottingham Air Squadron during World War II, becoming a squadron leader at 25. He attended the London School of Economics where he received BSc(Econ) and MSc(Econ). He was appointed schoolmaster at his old school in Harrow in 1949, teaching economics and history. He taught for eleven years, during which time he was three times an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for Harrow East. He was a member of the Institute of Education at the University of London from 1959 to 1962.

Member of Parliament

At a by-election in 1963, he stood successfully as the Labour candidate for Leeds South, succeeding Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, who had died in office. He held the seat until he stepped down from the House of Commons at the 1992 general election. The constituency was renamed as Morley and Leeds South in 1983. He was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from March 1974 until September 1976, when he was appointed Home Secretary. For two years before the Labour government came to power in 1974 he had been Labour Party spokesman on Northern Ireland. Rees wrote of his views on Northern Ireland in: Northern Ireland: a Personal Perspective (Methuen, London, 1985 ISBN 0-413-52590-2).



Merlyn Rees Avenue, street sign in Morley, West Yorkshire

When he retired from the House of Commons in 1992, he was created a life peer as Baron Merlyn-Rees, of Morley and South Leeds in the County of West Yorkshire and of Cilfynydd in the County of Mid Glamorgan and entered the House of Lords (having changed his name by deed poll to Merlyn Merlyn-Rees to allow his title to be Merlyn-Rees rather than Rees) (see [1]).

He was president of the Video Standards Council from 1990 and the first Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan from 1994 to 2002.


He suffered injuries in a number of falls, and failing to recover from these, fell into a coma, dying at the age of 85. He was survived by his wife Colleen and three sons.



  • Merlyn Rees, "Northern Ireland: a personal perspective", Methuen, London, 1985.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Gaitskell
Member of Parliament for Leeds South
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Morley and Leeds South
Succeeded by
John Gunnell
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Pym
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Roy Mason
Preceded by
Roy Jenkins
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
William Whitelaw
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan
Succeeded by
The Lord Morris of Aberavon


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