The Lord Marsh
|Minister of Transport|
6 April 1968 - 6 October 1969
|Member of Parliament |
8 October 1959 - 7 July 1971
Richard William Marsh
14 March 1928
|Died||29 July 2011(aged 83)|
|Labour (before 1978)|
|Alma mater||Ruskin College|
Marsh was the son of William Marsh, a foundry worker from Belvedere in southeast London. His father subsequently worked for the Great Western Railway, and the family moved to Swindon. He was educated at Jennings Street Secondary School, Swindon, Woolwich Polytechnic and Ruskin College, Oxford. He initially worked as an official for the National Union of Public Employees from 1951 to 1959, during which time he sat on the Clerical and Administrative Whitley Council for the National Health Service.
As a backbencher he submitted a private members bill in 1960 which despite Government opposition became the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act, a white-collar equivalent of the Factories Act and the forerunner of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
He served in the second Wilson Government as the Minister of Power (1966-68). On 22nd April 1966 as Minister of Power he officially opened the new Hinkley Point A nuclear power station. He piloted the legislation for the nationalisation of the steel industry.
Subsequently, he served in the Cabinet as Minister of Transport (1968-69). When appointed to the transport ministry he let it be known that (unlike Barbara Castle, his predecessor in the post) he was a motorist, though he insisted that the family car, a Ford Cortina, was run by his wife while he relied on ministerial cars for his transport needs. He was also reported as having taught his father to drive, but having given up trying to perform the same favour for his wife, applying what forty years later appears as imprudent candour in characterising the attempt as "traumatic".
He left the House of Commons in 1971 to become Chairman of the British Railways Board, a position he held until 1976. On leaving British Rail he was knighted, and became chairman of the Newspaper Publishers' Association (NPA). The first chairman of the NPA to come from outside of the industry, he served until 1990. He also held the chairmanships of the British Iron and Steel Consumers' Council from 1977 to 1982 and of Allied Investments Ltd from 1977 to 1981. He was also a member of a number of quangoes and held directorships in several private companies and was chairman of TV-am in 1983-84.
In 1978 he announced that he had become a supporter of Margaret Thatcher, who had been his shadow counterpart when he was Minister of Transport, and intended to vote Conservative at the forthcoming general election, held in 1979.
Thatcher won the election, and she created him a life peer as Baron Marsh, of Mannington in the County of Wiltshire on 15 July 1981. He then sat in the House of Lords as a Crossbench peer.