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Labour former attorney general Lord Morris of Aberavon dies aged 91

06 Jun 2023 2 minute read
Lord Morris of Aberavon. Photo by Roger Harris, CC BY 3.0

Lord Morris of Aberavon lived a life of “exemplary public service”, Sir Tony Blair said in tribute to his former attorney general after his death at the age of 91.

As well as Sir Tony’s Cabinet, John Morris, as he was then, served in those of two other Labour prime ministers.

He was Welsh secretary from 1974 to 1979 under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan.

Lord Morris was Wales’ longest-serving MP, representing Aberavon for 41 years, from 1959 to 2001.

First entering government in 1964 in the Wilson administration, he was a junior minister in the Ministry of Power and Ministry of Transport, before becoming minister of state for defence equipment in 1968 during the Nigerian civil war.

He served as Secretary of State for Wales throughout the 1974 to 1979 Labour government.

Sir Tony appointed the barrister as attorney general after his landslide victory in 1997, a post he held for two years at the time of the Kosovo conflict.

Public service

The former prime minister said: “John Morris lived a life of “exemplary public service”.

“His extraordinary career, being a minister under three different Labour leaders, was unprecedented.

“But the reason prime ministers like myself chose him so regularly was because of his character and demeanour.

“He was immensely capable, could always be relied upon and never deviated from having the interests of the country at heart.

“I personally was hugely grateful to him particularly through the difficult times of the Kosovo conflict.

“I pay fond and heartfelt tribute to him.”

Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan said she was “very sad” to hear of his death and noted that he was “the last living member of Harold Wilson’s cabinet”.

BBC broadcaster Huw Edwards described him as “one of the most distinguished Welshmen of his time” and “one of the fathers of devolution”.

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8 months ago

One of Llandysul’s finest. Men like him don’t seem to frequent the political space any more. We pay the price.

8 months ago

I worked with John on the 79 Reff Campaign.

His disapontment in the antics of Kinnock and co was only matched by the loss of the vote itself.

The support off friends like Cledwyn , Prys Davies, Emlyn Hooson, Gwynfor and Elystan Morgan etc was conforting but the betrayal from the Lab Valley Mafia… was so hard to understand.

I was so happy that he lived to see the rising of a new and self confident Wales proud of its national voice.

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