Roger Thomas (British politician)


Roger Thomas (British politician)

Roger Gareth Thomas (14 November 1925 – 1 September 1994) was a British Labour Party politician.

In 1979, Thomas was elected Member of Parliament for Carmarthen, defeating the President of Plaid Cymru, Gwynfor Evans. Thomas was re-elected in 1983. He was one of the few Labour MPs to represent a predominantly rural area and concentrated on agriculture and EEC issues.

On 30 January 1984 Thomas was convicted at Gowerton Magistrates' Court, Swansea, of importuning for immoral purposes at a men's public lavatory (he was fined £75). The case was reported and attracted negative publicity for Thomas, who announced to Carmarthen Constituency Labour Party on 2 March that he would resign his seat. However, he delayed his resignation to allow for a successor to be selected.

In the meantime, Thomas continued his Parliamentary activity and became one of the most active Welsh MPs of all. He also received a good deal of sympathy on his plight, and times had moved on since William Field was forced to resign in similar circumstances thirty years before. A similar scandal involving a Conservative MP also deflected some attention. He was also pressed to stay on by the Labour whips who feared a byelection in a marginal seat may be lost. By the end of July, Thomas had started to have doubts about resigning, to the chagrin of his constituency, and on 17 August he announced he would remain until the dissolution of Parliament.

In an acrimonious selection of a new Labour Candidate for the constituency in 1985, Thomas' preferred choice was a Gorseinon-born, London-based, Welsh-speaking trade union official and London Borough of Bromley Councillor, Ira Walters who, at age 23, was the youngest candidate in the UK 1983 General Election, contesting the Conwy Constituency and who acquired the majority of branch nominations in the Constituency, largely from the eastern, industrialised areas of the Constituency. His was a controversial nomination given that he was a Political Assistant to Eric Hammond, General Secretary of the Electricians' Trade Union, the EETPU, at a time when that trade union was at odds with the majority of trade union views on the major industrial disputes at that time involving Fleet Street/Wapping and the Miners' strike. Walters, however, despite being the favourite to gain the nomination lost to the local Trinity College lecturer, Dr Alan Wynne Williams, supported by very active Labour Party Branches in Carmarthen town and who went on to win the seat in the subsequent General Election.

Thomas duly retired from Parliament at the dissolution in 1987.

References

*"Times Guide to the House of Commons 1983"
*rayment


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