- James Prior, Baron Prior
James Michael Leathes Prior, Baron Prior, PC, known as Jim Prior, (born
11 October 1927) is a British politician, and was Conservative Member of Parliament(MP) for Lowestoft and for the renamed constituency of Waveney.
He was educated at
Charterhouse Schooland Pembroke College, Cambridgewhere he graduated with a BA degree in Estate Management, getting first class honours. He did military service as an officer in the Royal Norfolk Regimentof the British Army, serving in Germany and India.
He was first elected to Parliament in 1959, and was
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foodfrom 1970-1972, then Leader of the House of Commonsand Lord President of the Counciluntil 1974. Under Margaret Thatcherhe was Secretary of State for Employmentfrom 1979 to 1981. During this period he is believed to have angered the Prime Minister by not pressing far enough with anti-trade union legislation. He became Secretary of State for Northern Irelandand was in this office until 1984. This transfer was widely seen as a move by Margaret Thatcherto isolate Prior, who disagreed with her on a number of economic issues and was seen as one of the cabinet ' wets'. The post of Secretary of State for Northern Irelandwas for a time seen as a dumping ground to marginalise ministers.
He retired from Parliament in 1987 and was later created a
life peeras Baron Prior, of Brampton in the County of Suffolk. His successor, David Porternever managed to escape the shadow of Prior.
He is Vice President and was Chairman of the
Rural Housing Trust.
In the media
Prior was interviewed about the rise of
Thatcherismfor the 2006 BBCTV documentary series " Tory! Tory! Tory!".
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