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Peter Shore

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Title: Peter Shore  
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Subject: List of Question Time episodes, Denis Healey, Roy Hattersley, Anthony Crosland, Bethnal Green and Stepney (UK Parliament constituency)
Collection: 1924 Births, 2001 Deaths, Alumni of King's College, Cambridge, British Secretaries of State, British Secretaries of State for the Environment, Labour Party (Uk) Life Peers, Labour Party (Uk) Mps, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, People Educated at Quarry Bank High School, Politicians from Liverpool, Uk Mps 1964–66, Uk Mps 1966–70, Uk Mps 1970–74, Uk Mps 1974, Uk Mps 1974–79, Uk Mps 1979–83, Uk Mps 1983–87, Uk Mps 1987–92, Uk Mps 1992–97
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Peter Shore

The Right Honourable
The Lord Shore of Stepney
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
In office
31 October 1983 – 13 July 1987
Leader Neil Kinnock
Preceded by John Silkin
Succeeded by Frank Dobson
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
31 October 1983 – 26 October 1984
Leader Neil Kinnock
Preceded by Peter Archer (Trade)
Stanley Orme (Industry)
Succeeded by John Smith
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
8 December 1980 – 31 October 1983
Leader Michael Foot
Preceded by Denis Healey
Succeeded by Roy Hattersley
Shadow Foreign Secretary
In office
14 July 1979 – 8 December 1980
Leader James Callaghan
Preceded by Francis Pym
Succeeded by Denis Healey
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment
In office
4 May 1979 – 14 July 1979
Leader James Callaghan
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by Roy Hattersley
Secretary of State for the Environment
In office
8 April 1976 – 4 May 1979
Prime Minister James Callaghan
Preceded by Anthony Crosland
Succeeded by Michael Heseltine
Secretary of State for Trade
In office
4 March 1974 – 8 April 1976
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Peter Walker (Trade and Industry)
Succeeded by Edmund Dell
Shadow Minister for Europe
In office
19 October 1971 – 19 April 1972
Leader Harold Wilson
Preceded by Harold Lever
Succeeded by Michael Foot
Minister without Portfolio
In office
6 October 1969 – 19 June 1970
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by George Thomson
Succeeded by The Lord Drumalbyn
Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
In office
29 August 1967 – 6 October 1969
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Michael Stewart
Succeeded by Office Abolished
Member of Parliament
for Bethnal Green and Stepney
Stepney and Poplar (1974-1983)
Stepney (1964-1974)
In office
15 October 1964 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Stoker Edwards
Succeeded by Oona King
(Bethnal Green and Bow)
Personal details
Born (1924-05-20)20 May 1924
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Died 24 September 2001(2001-09-24) (aged 77)
London, England
Citizenship British
Nationality English
Political party Labour
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge

Peter David Shore, Baron Shore of Stepney PC (20 May 1924 – 24 September 2001) was a British Labour politician and former Cabinet Minister, noted in part for his opposition to the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community. His idiosyncratic left-wing nationalism led to comparison with the French politician Jean-Pierre Chevènement.[1] He was described in an obituary by the Conservative journalist Patrick Cosgrave as "Between Harold Wilson and Tony Blair, the only possible Labour Party leader of whom a Conservative leader had cause to walk in fear."[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Member of Parliament 2
    • In government 2.1
    • EEC 2.2
    • Nuclear deterrent 2.3
    • Labour leadership candidate 2.4
    • Shadow Cabinet 2.5
    • Backbenches, retirement and death 2.6
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • Archives 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, Shore was the son of a Merchant Navy captain and was brought up in a middle class environment. He attended the Quarry Bank Grammar School in Liverpool, England, and went from there to King's College, Cambridge, to study history, where he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, a secret society with an elite membership.[3] During the later stages of World War II he served in the Royal Air Force, spending most time in India.

Member of Parliament

He had specialised in political economy during part of his degree and joined the Labour Party in 1948. He spent the 1950s working for the party and, after two unsuccessful Parliamentary contests at St Ives in 1950 and Halifax in 1959, he was appointed as Head of the Labour Party's Research Department and took charge of the renewal of party policy following its third successive defeat in 1959. Shore was only briefly a follower of Hugh Gaitskell; his adherence to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament from 1958 led to a breach in relations for several years.[4]

He became close to Harold Wilson once Wilson had been elected as Leader, and was the main author of the Labour Party manifesto for the 1964 general election. At the last minute, he was selected to fight the safe seat of Stepney in the election, which he easily retained.[5]

After only a short time on the backbenches, Wilson chose Shore to be Parliamentary Private Secretary, responsible for liaising between the Prime Minister and Labour MPs, though Denis Healey termed him "Harold's lapdog".[4] Shore was responsible for drafting the 1966[6] and 1970[7] election manifestos.[3] Shore's job as Wilson's PPS kept them in close contact and in August 1967, Shore became a member of the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.

In government

This Department had been created by Wilson to undertake long-term planning of the economy. Shore declared immediately his belief in state-controlled economic planning, together with the regulation of prices and wages. Early in 1968, the responsibility for prices and incomes was transferred to another department. The Treasury had never approved of the creation of the Department for Economic Affairs and began reasserting its influence, depriving it of any significant power. The Department was wound up in October 1969. At the same time, Shore sided with those in cabinet who were opposed to Barbara Castle's White Paper, In Place of Strife. In a conversation with Richard Crossman at the time, Wilson was frustrated with Shore: "I over-promoted him. He's no good".[4]

Shore was retained in the Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. He played a key part, behind the scenes, in planning the Labour Party's unsuccessful 1970 general election campaign. In opposition, Shore was appointed as spokesman on Europe, taking the lead in opposing Edward Heath application to join the European Economic Community. Shore had already become convinced that membership of the EEC would be a disaster because it would stop a British government from taking necessary economic action. However, due to organisation by pro-EEC Labour backbenchers, Heath was able to steer his policy successfully through Parliament.


When Wilson returned to government in 1974, Shore was appointed as Secretary of State for Trade. His term in office was dominated by the renegotiation of the terms of British membership of the EEC, a pledge contained in the Labour manifesto as a preparation for a national referendum on membership; this compromise had reunited the Labour Party on the issue. Shore participated in the discussions without believing that any new terms would be acceptable, and during the referendum he joined with other anti-EEC politicians in opposing membership.

The results of the 1975 Referendum, giving a two-to-one majority in favour of remaining members, damaged Shore along with the other 'dissenting ministers'. His inclination to support an autarkic economy ruled him out of consideration as a new Chancellor of the Exchequer, but Shore was moved to Secretary of State for the Environment by new Prime Minister James Callaghan in 1976. This move was a promotion but involved him in considerable political controversy. He called on local authorities to cut spending and waste, and criticised the trade unions representing local authority staff for failure to support modernisation. Shore also launched a campaign to revitalise the inner cities of Britain.

Nuclear deterrent

Shore became a fervent advocate of the British nuclear deterrent for the last three decades of his life, but in 1958 he had been an active member of CND. In his 1966 book Entitled to Know, he was critical of the Nassau Agreement with the United States under which Britain's nuclear submarines were, except in a national emergency, permanently assigned to NATO. Regarding dependence on NATO as limiting Britain's freedom of action, Shore negatively compared Britain's nuclear strategy to that of France:

For if such a policy is like General de Gaulle's, based upon a deliberate and far-reaching politico-military strategy of national independence, past disengagement from NATO and détente in Europe, it merits the most careful examination. But, of these broader aims, there was not a whisper or suggestion from Tory Ministers.[8] ...after the cancellation of Blue Streak...that, failing the development of a major new British weapons system, we had'nt, and could not in future possess, a genuine independent nuclear capacity.[9]

Shore had always been implaccably opposed to any suggestion of British participation in the Vietnam war, both as PPS and in Cabinet he had encouraged Wilson to distance himself more explicily from American foreign policy.[10] By the mid-1970s, while continuing to condemn American foreign policy in Vietnam and Chile, he had become more supportive of NATO and the United States.

Labour leadership candidate

When the Labour Party went into opposition in 1979, Shore was made Shadow Foreign Secretary, having recanted on his previous support for CND. He was persuaded to stand as a candidate in the election of a new party Leader in November 1980 by Michael Foot who thought he was the best-placed soft-left candidate to defeat Denis Healey. However, Shore came bottom of the poll with 32 votes when Foot was himself persuaded to stand. Foot then made him Shadow Chancellor where his support for interventionist measures met with Foot's approval; party policy also became opposed to EEC membership, which suited Shore well. In 1982, Shore's nationalism was again in evidence when he supported Margaret Thatcher over the Falklands War.

Shadow Cabinet

He fought for the leadership again after Foot resigned, but obtained a dismal vote of 3%,[4] being unsupported by any Constituency Labour Party. Shore served as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons for four years under Neil Kinnock but his influence with the leadership was negligible and he was not re-elected to the Shadow Cabinet in 1985. He stood down from the front bench in 1987 and thereafter served on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, devoting himself to European Union questions. Tony Blair selected him as a senior Labour statesman as his nominee for the Committee on Standards in Public Life when it was set up in 1994.

Backbenches, retirement and death

After several attempts in his constituency party to deselect him, he finally stood down from the House of Commons at the 1997 general election, and in the dissolution honours he was made a life peer, being created Baron Shore of Stepney, of Stepney in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on 5 June 1997.[11] His book Separate Ways (2000) advocated a multi-speed Europe, with some countries as merely associate members, so as to allow the centre to forge a political union at its own pace. He died in 2001, aged 77.


  1. ^ "The Financial Statement and Budget Report 1998-99".  
  2. ^ Patrick Cosgrave "Lord Shore of Stepney", The Independent, 26 September 2001. Retrieved on 20 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b Tam Dalyell "Lord Shore of Stepney", The Independent, 26 September 2001. Retrieved on 20 May 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d Edward Pearce "Lord Shore of Stepney", The Guardian, 26 September 2001. Retrieved on 20 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Shore, Peter David, 1924-2001, Baron Shore of Stepney, politician", Archives in London and the M25 area
  6. ^ "Time for Decision", - Text of the 1966 Labour Party manifesto, Political Science Resources website.
  7. ^ "Now Britain's Strong - Let's Make It Great to Live In", - Text of the 1970 Labour Party manifesto, Political Science Resources website.
  8. ^ Peter Shore (1966). Entitled to Know. London: MacGibbon & Kee. p. 70. 
  9. ^ Peter Shore (1966). Entitled to Know. London: MacGibbon & Kee. p. 71. 
  10. ^ Peter Shore (1993). Leading the Left. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 94-95. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54789. p. 6745. 10 June 1997.


  • Entitled to Know, MacGibbon & Kee (1966) ISBN 978-0-2616-3132-8
  • Europe : the way back, Fabian Society (1973)
  • Leading the Left, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1993) ISBN 978-0-2978-1096-4
  • Separate Ways, Duckworth (2000) ISBN 978-0-7156-2972-7


External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Peter Shore
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stoker Edwards
Member of Parliament for Stepney
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Stepney and Poplar
Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Stepney
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Stewart
Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
Position abolished
Preceded by
George Thomson
Minister without Portfolio
Succeeded by
The Lord Drumalbyn
Preceded by
Peter Walker
as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Secretary of State for Trade
Succeeded by
Edmund Dell
Preceded by
Anthony Crosland
Secretary of State for the Environment
Succeeded by
Michael Heseltine
Preceded by
Francis Pym
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
Denis Healey
Preceded by
Denis Healey
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Roy Hattersley
Party political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Blenkinsop
Chairman of the Fabian Society
1968 – 1969
Succeeded by
Thomas Balogh
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