Leeds MPs

REES, Merlyn (1920–2006) Labour. Lecturer.

With the outbreak of World War II he joined the RAF and ended up as a squadron leader. He then studied at the London School of Economics and became a lecturer in economics at Luton College of Technology from1962–1963. When Hugh Gaitskell died unexpectedly in 1963 he was asked to stand successfully for Leeds South, a seat he retained until it was abolished in 1983. He was then elected for Leeds South & Morley and held it until his retirement in 1992. He was a well-liked and influential figure in the party exercising considerable influence over Prime Minister James Callaghan. He was Under-Secretary of State for the Army 1965–1966, for the RAF 1966–1968, and Home Office 1968–1970. His period as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 1974–1976, when he was the first Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was at a crucial time in the province’s history and Rees thereafter remained passionately involved in the problems of Ulster and the Republic of Ireland. As Home Secretary from 1976–1979 he set up both the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure after police abuse of safeguards in questioning suspects, and operation ‘Countryman’ to investigate corruption in the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police. He changed his surname to Merlyn-Rees by deed poll in 1992 the same year he was created Baron Merlyn-Rees. He acted as Chancellor on the University of Glamorgan from 1994–2001. For further reading see The Independent, 6 January 2006.