Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arthur Skeffington MP

SKEFFINGTON, Arthur Massey

Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington 1953 -1971
(By-election death of Walter Ayles). former M.P for West Lewisham 1945-50. Joint Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Land and National Resources since 1964. Contested Streatham 1935. West Lewisham by-election 1938, reduced Tory vote by 7,000.

Born 4th September 1908. the son of Arthur James Williams a pottery manfacturer's clerk and his wife Edith Massey. (In 1933 changed his name by depoll to Skeffington from Williams) Educated Streatham Grammar School In his youth he played for Surrey second eleven (life long member)and London University, B.Sc. Economics (Hons.). Teacher, economist and barrister (middle temple 1951).

Joined Labour Party 1923 and the Fabians in 1933
In 1937 Skeffington re-established the Battersea Parliament originally established by John Burns

In 1938 he visited the Soviet Union

Was not callled up because of "poor eyesight" and entered the Civil Service, initially at the Board of Trade, later Ministry of Supply, where he became assistant director in charge of the production of medical supplies.
Labour member of the London County Council 1951-1958 (Peckham)
P.P.S. to John Hynd, M.P., and to George Buchanan, M.P., when Minister of Pensions 1945-47. Passed into Law Enforcement of Contracts Act.
Member of Executive Committee of Fabian Society, Chairman 1956. Socialist Societies representative since 1953 on the National Executive of the Labour Party:
Chairman of its Local Government Sub-Committee. Joint President, British Section of the Council of European Municipalities. Member of Political Purposes Committee, R.A.C.S (Co-op).

Member of National Union of Teachers and National Union of Municipal & General Workers Union (GMB). and a Justice of the Peace
Board of Trade 1941. Worked on "concentration of industry" policy under Professor G. C. Allen. Assistant Director of Medical Supplies, Ministry of Supply, 1943-45.'
Member of Parliamentary delegations to East Africa 1948 and 1957 and U.S.A. 1949 and 1958. Won League of Nations Scholarship to Prague; visited U.S.S.R. and many other European countries. Sometime member of the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal, Chairman of the Expert Working Surveys on Land and Building.
He fought hard against the Tories aboloition of the London County Council in 1963 but was always at odds with the Left wing within the Hayes Labour Party as well as the Communist Party
He was a short, stocky friendly man who generally wore a home grown flower in his button hole

Special mission to India for Labour Party 1961
Seven years Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel
Specially interested in education, land, law, local government.
For many years his home was Meopham, Kent
Married twice Sadie Isabel Belvin and later in 1952 to Sheila McKenzie, two sons. Hobbies: cricket (Surrey), bee-keeping, gardening (President of the Arboriculture Association), walking (Ramblers Association)
died 18th February 1971