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Peter David Shore

(1924—2001) politician


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(b. Great Yarmouth, 20 May 1924; d. London, 24 Sept. 2001) British; Secretary of State for the Environment 1976 –9; Baron (life peer) 1997 After education at Quarry Bank School, Liverpool, and King's College, Cambridge, Shore joined the Labour Party's Policy Research Department, becoming its head.

He entered the House of Commons in 1964 as MP for Stepney and (subject to boundary revisions) represented it continuously until 1997. After acting as Harold Wilson's parliamentary private-secretary he rose rapidly and in 1967 joined the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, later becoming Minister without Portfolio and deputy leader of the House of Commons. At this time many thought him over-promoted, and in spite of his patent intellectual capacity his performance in the House was often uncertain. This weakness was remedied during his membership of the shadow Cabinet while Labour was in Opposition (1970 –4). When Labour returned to office he performed effectively in both Cabinet and parliament, first as Secretary of State for Trade (1974 –6) and then as Secretary of State for the Environment (1976 –9).

By 1980, Shore's stature was sufficient for him to be nominated as a candidate for the leadership in succession to James Callaghan. He initially appeared to be a strong contender: he was not a left-winger but his opposition to membership of the European Community had gained him support on the left. But Michael Foot, who appealed to the same electorate, then entered the contest and Shore came last. He was again a contender in 1983, but the domination of the extra-parliamentary party in the new electoral college operated against a man not widely known beyond Westminster. He remained in the shadow Cabinet until 1985. Afterwards, he participated actively in select committees and the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life, retiring as an MP in 1997. He then became a member of the House of Lords, as Lord Shore of Stepney, and continued to argue passionately against stronger links with Europe.

From A Dictionary of Political Biography in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Politics.


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