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Merlyn Rees, later Merlyn Merlyn-Rees, Baron Merlyn-Rees, PC (18 December 1920 – 5 January 2006) was a British Labour party Member of Parliament from 1963 until 1992, having served as Home Secretary.

Early life

Born in Cilfynydd, near Pontypriddmarker, Glamorganmarker, Wales, and educated at Harrow Wealdmarker Grammar School, Harrowmarker, England and Goldsmiths College, London where he was president of the Students' union from 1939 to 1941. He served in the RAF the University of Nottinghammarker Air Squadron during World War II, becoming a squadron leader at 25. He attended the London School of Economicsmarker where he received BSc and MSc. He was appointed schoolmaster at his old school in Harrow in 1949, teaching economics and history. He taught for eleven years, during which time he was three times an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for Harrow Eastmarker. He was a member of the Institute of Educationmarker at the University of London from 1959 to 1962.

Member of Parliament

At a by-election in 1963, he stood successfully as the Labour candidate for Leeds South, succeeding Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, who had died in office. He held the seat until he stepped down from the House of Commons at the 1992 general election. The constituency was renamed as Morley and Leeds South in 1983. He was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from March 1974 until September 1976, when he was appointed Home Secretary. For two years before the Labour government came to power in 1974 he had been Labour Party spokesman on Northern Irelandmarker. Rees wrote of his views on Northern Ireland in: Northern Ireland: a Personal Perspective (Methuen, London, 1985 ISBN 0-413-52590-2).


When he retired from the House of Commonsmarker in 1992, he was created a life peer as Baron Merlyn-Rees, of Morley and South Leeds in the County of West Yorkshire and of Cilfynydd in the County of Mid Glamorgan and entered the House of Lordsmarker (having changed his name by deed poll to Merlyn Merlyn-Rees to allow his title to be Merlyn-Rees rather than Rees) (see [732178]).

He was president of the Video Standards Council from 1990 and the first Chancellor of the University of Glamorganmarker from 1994 to 2002.


He suffered injuries in a number of falls, and failing to recover from these, fell into a coma, dying at the age of 85. He was survived by his wife Colleen and three sons.



  • Merlyn Rees, "Northern Ireland: a personal perspective", Methuen, London, 1985.

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