Goronwy Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts
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Goronwy Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts

The Lord Goronwy-Roberts

Goronwy Roberts.jpg
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

December 1975 - May 1979
Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
LeaderLord Shepherd
Lord Peart
Lord Beswick
Earl Ferrers
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

4 December 1975 - 4 May 1979
Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Roy Hattersley
Peter Blaker
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

8 March 1974 - 4 December 1975
Harold Wilson
Peter Blaker
Ted Rowlands
Minister of State for Trade

13 October 1969 - 19 June 1970
Harold Wilson
Bill Rodgers
Frederick Corfield
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

17 October 1968 - 13 October 1969
Harold Wilson
Baroness White
Lord Shepherd
Minister of State for Education and Science

6 April 1966 - 29 August 1967
Harold Wilson
Reg Prentice
Alice Bacon
Minister of State for Wales

20 October 1964 - 6 April 1966
Harold Wilson
office established
George Thomas
Member of the House of Lords

25 March 1974 - 23 July 1981
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Caernarfon

23 February 1950 - 28 February 1974
David Price-White
Dafydd Wigley
Member of Parliament
for Caernarvonshire

5 July 1945 - 23 February 1950
Goronwy Owen
constituency abolished
Personal details
Born20 September 1913
Died23 July 1981 (aged 67)
Spouse(s)Marian Ann Evans

Goronwy Owen Goronwy-Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts, FRSA PC (20 September 1913 - 23 July 1981), was a Welsh Labour Member of Parliament.

Early life

Roberts was the younger son of Edward and Amelia Roberts from Bethesda, Gwynedd, where his father was an elder of the Presbyterian Church of Wales.[1] He was educated at Ogwen Grammar School, Bethesda and the University College of North Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University).[1] Later he attended the University of London and was appointed a Fellow of the University of Wales in 1938. While at Bangor, Roberts, together with Harri Gwynn was one of the founders of Mudiad Gwerin, a nationalist left-wing pressure group.[1][2]

Roberts served in the army in 1940-41 and in the army reserve until 1944. From 1941 until 1944 he worked as Youth Education Officer for Caernarfonshire and in 1944 was appointed lecturer in youth leadership at the University College of Swansea.

Member of Parliament

Goronwy Roberts was elected Labour MP for Caernarvonshire in 1945, when he defeated the sitting Liberal MP Goronwy Owen, who had held the seat since 1923.[1] Following boundary changes, he was elected to represent Caernarvon at the 1950 General Election, defeating the Liberal candidate by over 10,000 votes.[1] He continued to represent the constituency until February 1974, when he lost his seat to Dafydd Wigley of Plaid Cymru.

During the 1950s, Roberts was, together with Cledwyn Hughes and others, a stalwart of the Parliament for Wales campaign. In 1951, Plaid Cymru announced that the party would not oppose him at the General Election due to his support for the campaign.[3] Eventually, he presented the final petition to Parliament, bearing more than 250,000 signatures, in May 1956.[1]

He was a member of the House of Commons Chairmen's Panel in 1963-64, and served in government as Minister of State at the Welsh Office from 1964-66, Minister of State at the Department for Education and Science from 1966-67, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1967-69, and Minister of State for Trade 1969-70. When Labour lost power in 1970, Roberts became an opposition spokesman on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1968.

House of Lords and later life

On his defeat at the February General election in 1974 he was created a life peer as Baron Goronwy-Roberts, of Caernarfon and of Ogwen in the County of Caernarfonshire.[4] He returned to government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1974-75 and as Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1975-79. He was Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, 1975-79.

Personal life

Roberts was a Member of the Court of Governors of the National Library of Wales, the National Museum of Wales and the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University). He was Chairman of the Welsh publishing house, Hughes a'i fab, from 1955 to 1959. He was appointed a FRSA in 1968 and an Honorary Freeman of the Royal Borough of Caernarfon in 1972.[1]

In 1942 Roberts married Marian Ann Evans, daughter of David and Elizabeth Evans of Robertstown, Aberdare. They had two children: a daughter, Ann, and a son, Dafydd.[1] Marion Goronwy-Roberts wrote a biography of Marion Phillips, the pioneering Labour campaigner for women's rights,[5] and a number of books in Welsh,[1] including the centenary lecture at the 1981 Welsh National Eisteddfod on the Welsh poet, scholar and politician, W. J. Gruffydd.[6]


Goronwy Roberts was a strong supporter of devolution and of Welsh culture but was also a fierce critic of what he regarded as the nationalistic excess of Plaid Cymru. His own roots were in the Labour tradition of the quarry working communities of his constituency. His Welsh was fluent and attractive ("swynol, dawel, gerddorol").[7] He was greatly troubled by his defeat at the General Election of 1974.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jones, John Graham. "Goronwy Owen Roberts, Baron Goronwy-Roberts". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Chapman, T. Robin. "Harri Gwynn (1913 - 1985), writer and broadcaster". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Jones 1992, p. 214.
  4. ^ "No. 46249". The London Gazette. 28 March 1974. p. 4005.
  5. ^ Goronwy-Roberts, Marian (2000). A Woman of Vision - A Life of Marion Phillips, MP. Wrexham: Bridge Books. ISBN 1872424848.
  6. ^ Goronwy-Roberts, Marian (1981). W J Gruffydd - Darlith ganmlwyddiant. Cyhoeddiadau Barddas (National Eisteddfod of Wales 1981).
  7. ^ Jones, John Graham. "ROBERTS, GORONWY OWEN (1913-1981), gwleidydd Llafur". Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 2019.


Books and Journals



External links

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