Leeds MPs

PANNELL, Thomas Charles (1902–1980) Labour. Trade union official.

He joined the Labour Party when he was 16 years of age and spent many years as an official of the Amalgamated Engineering Union. He became involved in local politics first as a member of Walthamstow Borough Council from 1929–1936 and then Erith Borough Council from 1938–1955 where he was mayor from 1944–1945. As leader of the council and chairman of Finance and General Purposes Committee, he was responsible, during World War II, for post-blitz services. He was invited to stand for Leeds West in the by-election of 1949 brought about by the suicide of Tom Stamford and held the seat until his ennoblement in 1974. He was always considered a ‘good House of Commons’ man and spent many years in a struggle with the authorities over the way the Commons amenities were governed. He served on various select committees but the fact that Labour was out of office from 1951–1963 meant that he was 62 before he was given ministerial office. Labour’s success in 1964 saw him appointed Minister of Public Building and Works, a post he held until 1966. It was during his tenure that the ministry was called upon to play an important role in the arrangements for the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. For further reading see The Times, 25 March 1980; http://www.ukwhoswho.com.