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Henry Owen and the Guild of Handicraft


Henry  Owen and the Guild of  Handicraft

By David  Ellis

To those who are familiar with Pembrokeshire’s rich history Henry Owen needs no introduction but for those unfamiliar with his sterling work as a local historian need look no further than to the late Dillwyn Miles’ summary of his life, career and achievements in the second article of this Journal.1


Besides soliciting  on  behalf  of  the  law  while resident  in London, Henry Owen gave his spare time to charitable work mainly connected with hos­pitals. He was a member of the management committee of the Samaritan Hospitals in  Marylebone  Road  and Honorary  Secretary  of the Lying In Hospital in York Road, Lambeth . It was in the latter hospital in the early 1870s that Henry  Owen  met Dr. John  Williams (later  Sir John  Williams GCVO)  and  the two became life-long friends.  It was  Dr. Williams who persuaded him  to lecture to the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion on the life and writings of Gerald of Wales, but who afterwards told him that it was the worst delivered address he had ever listened to, at the same time advising him to extend his account into a book. This he did in 1889 and it gave hi m immediate recognition, not just of h is gifts of literary expression, but also of a keen sense of humour.

In his Memoirs of a Literary Bloke,2 H . M . Vaughan recounts his visits to Dr. Owen at Poyston in winter as being uncomfortable because:

Henry  Owen  detested  warmth  fully   as much   as I  desired   and required it. Now and again I was forced to wearing an overcoat, scarf and hat in the chilly dining room, which  my host  seemed to think effeminate though excusable on my part

Vaughan describes how he:

was fond of him and consequently was only amused by his eccentric and sometimes rather alarming manners, although many people who met Dr. Owen were liable to be upset by his brusqueness and even sudden explosions of anger, assumed rather than genuine, I aways suspected.

Interesting too, that:

Dr. Owen had a perfect mania for displaying the white boar chained to a holly bush , which is the coat of arms of the Owen family, in every guise at Poyston. It decorated the entrance gates of the drive, it appeared  on candlesticks  and  Sheriff ‘s banners, and  it occupied a large portion of the specially  woven  carpet of the parlour. Some  of us used irreverently to allude to these heraldic figures as “The Poyston Pigs”.

There is a connection too with Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936),  a noted   medieval   scholar  and  Vice-Chancellor   of  Cambridge  University ( 1 913-15), perhaps best known as the author of some of the greatest ghost stories in the English language. He had met Dr. Owen when they both sat  on the Royal Commission  on Public Records in  1912-3. In ‘A View from a Hill’ , published in 1926, James modelled Squire Richards on Dr. Owen:

. . . the two of them had met on an official inquiry in town, had  found that they had many tastes and habits in common, and liked each other, and the result was an invitation from Squire Henry Richards  to Mr. Fanshawe.

It is perhaps surprising to learn that Henry Owen had a close association  with the Arts and Craft movement of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods and was friendly with Charles Robert Ashbee, the driving force behind the Guild of Handicraft. A highly significant figure  in  British  artistic and cultural life in the early twentieth century, Ashbee’s philosophy was influenced by the Romantic anti-industrialism of William Morris and John Ruskin. He started the Guild of Handicraft  as a small craft workshop  in the east end of London in 1888 before moving it to the small Cotswold town of Chipping Campden in 1902. A man of great energy  and passion, part socialist, part imperialist, his interests included architecture, the history of architecture in relation to political and social factors, the medieval craft tradition,  printing  and publishing,  town  planning  and social reform.

Born  in  1863 Ashbee  grew  up  in  Bloomsbury  in  a  comfortable middle class home. His father, Henry Spencer Ashbee, had married well and was senior partner in an export firm. His wealth enabled him to  establish  himself  as  a  bibliophile  and  scholar.  Curiously,  under  the  pseudonym of  Pisanus  Fraxi  he  compiled  Cantena  Librorum  Tacendorum  (London,  1 885), a bibliography of erotica. In 1898 C. R. Ashbee married twenty­ year-old Janet Forbes, the daughter of a prosperous stockbroker who had been a supporter of the Guild of Handicraft for many  years.  In one way  this was a curious partnership as for many years she had found him ridiculous, ‘clouded with his own conceit’, whilst he had always, as he told her  in a letter, felt a ‘coldness to her sex’, preferring  the affections of men.

A connection between Henry Owen and C. R. Ashbee has long  been  known, and the writing desk made for Henry Owen by the Guild of Handi­ craft in 1892 and currently on display at Scolton is  evidence  of  this. Further information came to light in 2004 when Graham Peel of Tenbury Wells, a researcher working on the life and career of Alec Miller (1879- 1961 ), a Glasgow-born sculptor, found reference to a pair of cast lead heraldic  boars apparently  made in  1906 and  installed  on gateposts at the entrance to a house belonging to a Dr. Owen in Haverfordwest. This, of course, was Poyston. Normally working in wood and  stone, and  mainly  for ecclesiastical clients, Alec Miller’s boars were, for him, an unusual commission. From 1 902 he worked with C. R. Ashbee and the Guild of Handicraft at Ch i ppi ng Campden, although eventually he emigrated to the United States.

The relationship between Henry Owen and C. R. Ashbee appears to have come about through his being the family solicitor to Janet Forbes’ family. By 1904 Owen had visited Campden and in August of that year Ashbee stayed at Poyston. Two quotes from Ashbee’s journal relate to these two events which seem to show a degree of affection, perhaps greater than that usual between  solicitor and client:

The family lawyer has been with us. A dear frowsty old thing, very human and very shrewd, who smokes like a chimney, balances his gold eye glasses on the bridge of his nose and blows up his moustache like a walrus. To us he is inseparably connected with a stuffy little office in Old Jewry, where he sits among deeds and papers, where he draws up family documents and never by any means sends out a full bill of charges. It is his most charming trait to firmly believe that legal charges are always too high and should be reduced whenever possible. This is what he appears to Janet and me, in reality he is the great Dr. Owen of Owen’s Pembrokeshire, historian, antiquary, JP, mayor of Pembroke, Lord High Sheriff of the County, fur and tipstaves,  pomp  and antique dignity  . .  .

Poyston  . . . is a delightful  stretch of wild woods and lakeland in the Owen Withybush estate and he is nursing it for his retirement in his old  age.

Henry Owen was also involved in amending the rules of the Guild of Handicraft and in 1910 was advising Janet Ashbee  about a possible  move to the Norman chapel at Broad Campden. This was a building that Ashbee had surveyed in 1903 when it was derelict and for which he had prepared plans for its reconstruction and enlargement, in 1905-7, for a Singhalese scholar Ananda Coomaraswamy and his wife Ethel. By 1910, with Janet Ashbee pregnant with their  first child, the Coomaraswamys  were giving  up the tenancy of the Norman  Chapel and the opportunity therefore arose


for the Ashbees to live there, which they did, moving in in the summer of 1911.

It is likely that Henry Owen had also been a trustee to the marriage settlement of C.R. and Janet Ashbee. In July 1914 Janet Ashbee stayed at Poyston and her journal includes a picture of the gates captioned ‘The  Gates (with lead boars) designed by CRA (modelled by Alec Miller)’. The actual making of the gates was undertaken by two members of the Guild, Bill Thornton and Charley Downer, described as ‘truculent but  insepar­able’, and a photograph exists showing the partly assembled gates in the blacksmiths’ workshop at Campden.3 In August 1907 a photograph of them was used in an advertisement for the Guild of Handicraft in The Archi­ tectural Review.

In the late 1890s and early 1900s Henry Owen extended and remodelled Poyston with the help of architect D. E. Thomas, embellishing it with several decorative details with a strong Arts and Crafts flavour. As well  as the gates i t is likely that the plaster fireplace overmantel commemorating General Sir Thomas Picton’s battles is  a  Guild of  Handicraft  product utilising the Tree motif that features in many of  the  designs  listed  in  the Guild Workshop Record Book in the library of the Victorian and Albert Museum. It is  seen  also  on  the  library  book  case  ends  at  Madresfield Court,  Worcestershire.   At   Poyston   the   library   fireplace   overmantel   is a sophisticated exercise in wood, repousse brass and ivory incorporating Henry Owen’s initials. It is known that Alec Miller carved an overmantel based on the story of The Jackdaw of Reims for a house near Ledbury, and that he was commissioned for a sizeable work in plaster for the Coronation Hall in Ulverston.
Editorial Note
The editor wishes to thank Kath Woolcock, Senior Library Assistant, Pembroke­  shire County  Libraries,  for supplying  the photograph  of  Henry  Owen.

1. See also the notice of Henry Owen printed in the Dictionary  of   Welsh Biography.
2. H. M. Vaughan,  Memoirs  of  a Literary  Bloke  (Privately  printed, 1941).
3. A. Crawford, C. R. Ashbee (London, 2005), 142.

The Pembrokeshire General Election of 1970




By J. Graham Jones

Desmond Louis Donnelly entered the House of Commons in the general election of February 1950 as the first Labour MP for the highly marginal Pembrokeshire constituency. 1 At just 29 years of age, he was the youngest Labour MP in the new House of Commons. From the outset he was widely viewed as something of a political maverick and was initially seen as an avid follower of Aneurin Bevan before in 1954 veering sharply to the right within the Labour Party and becoming a supporter of the new party leader Hugh Gaitskell who had succeeded Clement Attlee in December 1955. He also forged a close friendship with George Brown who became the deputy leader of the Labour Party. Throughout these years Donnelly was seen within the Labour Party as a rather dubious, unreliable character, ever liable to defect to another political party  and one who could never really  be relied upon to toe the party line. When Gaitskell died very suddenly in January 1963, and an intensely fought contest for the party leadership ensued with Harold Wilson and George Brown as the forerunners, Donnelly became one of Brown’s leading campaign managers. But it was of course Wilson who succeeded Hugh Gaitskell as party leader and indeed became Labour Prime Minister in October 1964. Although Donnelly’s position within Pembrokeshire seemed very secure – he had a substantial majority of 8586 votes there in the 1964 general election – he was predict­ably not offered even junior ministerial office by Wilson and subsequently became something of a backbench rebel constantly sniping at many aspects of governmental conduct and policies.


During 1965 Desmond Donnelly and his close political associate Wood­row Wyatt, the equally maverick Labour MP for the Bosworth division of Leicestershire, were a particular thorn in the government’s flesh over its plans to nationalise the British steel industry. In his memoirs, Wyatt wrote at length about his associate and his political activities, ‘Desmond Donnelly was a large, lumpy man with an ugly but not repulsive face. He had ability and energy and was a good, unpolished speaker. He had strong enthu­siasms, sometimes sustained and sometimes not. . . . He had courage and verve but was not assiduous in studying details, so his writings and speeches lacked content. He became a strong adherent of Hugh [Gaitskell]’s, always in attendance. He was an encouraging  friend  to have  around’. Eventually, on 6 May 1965, the day of the crucial debate on steel nationalisation in the House of Commons (when the government’s  defeat  had  seemed  a  very real possibility), last-minute concessions from George Brown persuaded Donnelly and Wyatt to vote with the Labour government, support which gave it a majority of just four votes in the House (310 votes to 306). In the course of an impassioned speech during the debate, Michael Foot (fully sensitive to the many problems facing the Ebbw Yale steelworks within his constituency) had actually referred to Donnelly as ‘a compulsive traitor’, while Donnelly had retorted by dismissing Foot’s remarks as ‘Restoration comedy’. (One of Foot’s biographers has described Desmond Donnelly as ‘one of the few men in public life for whom Michael [Foot] entertained a positive loathing’).2 But, although  their  MP had  finally  come into line at the eleventh hour, rumbles of discontent persisted in his Pembrokeshire constituency for several months, while at Bosworth there was a concerted attempt to unseat Woodrow Wyatt. Donnelly’s personal relations with the Prime Minister reached an all-time low, a deep-rooted personal animosity increased still further by Donnelly’s advocacy of  a  ‘Lib-Lab’ alliance  and his  friendship  with  the  Liberal  Party  leader  Jo  Grimond.  Wilson’s   biographer has recorded that, by the early months of 1966, the Prime Minister was most anxious to sack George Brown,  but  admitted  to Barbara Castle that, if  he did, Brown  ‘would only  make cause with  Wyatt  and Donnelly  to destroy us’ . When Harold Wilson eventually decided  to  go  to  the country in the spring of 1966 mainly because of his party’s  very  small  overall majority in the Commons, four Labour Party delegates from Pembroke Dock  formally  opposed  Donnelly’s re-nomination  and  even  set in motion moves to nominate a rival  Labour  candidate.  In the event, time was against the dissident delegates, and Desmond Donnelly was again re­ elected to parliament with a somewhat  reduced  majority  of  5931  votes after a keenly  fought  four-cornered  contest.  In  July  Donnelly  launched  a vitriolic attack on the Labour government during a further debate on steel nationalisation and, together with Woodrow Wyatt, he abstained in the ensuing vote in the House  so that  both  were then  formally  ‘reprimanded’ by Joh n  Silkin, the government chief whip.3

Desmond Donnelly remained a real thorn in the flesh of the Wilson govern­ment, especially in relation  to  its  patently  half-hearted  attitude  towards British entry into the EEC, Rhodesia, and steel nationalisation, and he provocatively advocated the establishment of a coalition government between Labour and  the  Liberals,  an  idea  which  he  discussed  with  the Liberal Party leader Jo Grimond . By the summer of 1967 he was openly advocating the abolition of the Westminster parliament and the traditional local government structure in favour of a national network of regional assemblies,  including  an  elected  council  for  Wales  with  its  own prime minister.4  By the autumn Donnelly was even anticipating the election of  a
Conservative government under Ted Heath as in the best interests of the nation. His political  opponents within Pembrokeshire  observed closely his   highly ambivalent standpoints and his inconsistent voting records in the House of Commons. Research by the opposition whips’ office at West­ minster revealed that, during the parliamentary session 1966-67, the MP for Pembrokeshire had voted on just 129 occasions out of a possible 428 divisions in the House, that he had failed to vote on the Iron and Steel Bill and that he had voted with the Labour government at the end of the  economic debate on the devaluation of the pound on 22 November 1967. 5  Yet,  during  the  devaluation  debate,  he  had  launched  a devastating attack
on his own government’s economic and industrial policies and on the Prime Minister personally. 6
On 18 January 1968, following a heated debate on substantial cuts in government spending, twenty-five backbench Labour MPs chose to vote against the government, twenty-two of these in protest against the reduc­tion in the social services budget, two demanding a tougher line with left­ wing rebels, and Sir Dingle Foot, the former Solicitor-General, because of the withdrawal east of Suez. It was also the withdrawal east of Suez which convinced Desmond Donnelly that he must resign the Labour whip as he sharply denounced  the government ‘s action – ‘Mr. Wilson. should resign and leave public life. He is a transitory phenomenon of limited signifi­cance’. Amplifying the reasons for his dramatic decision, Donnelly asserted that he had resolved to resign his party whip because of his ‘patriotism and principle . . . . I believe that Socialism in thirty years has given a higher standard of living and a fairer life for the British workman. The withdrawal from the Orient will strike directly at the British workman in exactly the same way as the refusal to see arms to South Africa’. He went further, contrasting the government’s  decision  to  pull out  of  Singapore with Neville Chamberlain’s weak-kneed abandonment of Czechoslovakia shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. Donnelly declared that he felt sure that his local constituency party would ‘approve’ of his resigning the party whip, further protesting that his dramatic action as ‘only the beginning of the campaign’ to remove Harold Wilson as Prime Minister.7 His resignation had taken place five years to the very day since the death of the previous party leader Hugh Gaitskell.  Initially it seemed that the Pembrokeshire Labour Party was prepared to rally behind their renegade, unpredictable MP. When the party met on 10 February, general support was voiced for Donnelly’s action, local agent Glyn Rees, a close personal friend and supporter of  the MP, reporting  ‘tremendous  support for Mr Donnelly. . . . I have not had one word of criticism so  far’ .8

This intriguing course of events moved along with some rapidity as Desmond Donnelly’s stand was evidently contributing substantially the growing anti-Harold Wilson bandwagon within the Labour Party. Writing in The Times on 1 February, Ian Trethowan detected that Donnelly enjoyed ‘a very special relationship with his local party’, but  anticipated  ‘a diffi­cult local meeting’ due to take place ten days later. If their MP was still being denied the party whip at the time of the next general election, anticipated Trethowan, ‘the local party will either have to pick someone else more  acceptable  in  Smith Square  [the Labour  Party headquarters], or else risk being disaffiliated and seeing a new local party created’ .9 Trethowan’s predictions were remarkably close to the mark. When the Pembrokeshire Labour Party’s county management committee met on 10 February, a motion instructing Donnelly to re-apply for restoration of the Labour whip was lost by 40 votes to 24.10 But the wayward MP for Pembrokeshire certainly had his enemies too, both at Westminster and in his constituency, especially at Pembroke Dock where twelve local trades union branches resolved to withhold their affiliation fees to the Labour Party ‘until a new candidate has been nominated’ instead of Donnelly to stand at the next general election .11 Action was also taken against him centrally where an attempt by the Labour Party NEC to expel Donnelly from the party, at the instigation of Harold Wilson , failed, ruled out-of­ order by the Labour Party chairman Alice Bacon. But it was resolved that  a disciplinary panel comprising three prominent trades union leaders should investigate and report back to the Labour Party. Barbara Castle recorded these traumatic events in her diary: ‘The day started with an NEC meeting in which we had an illuminating discussion on the future of Mr. Desmond Donnelly. Nobody could hate him more than the left wing, but with an eye on their own fates [Ian] Mikardo and others were all for letting his misdemeanours ride for a bit. Jo Gormley and the right wing were thirst­ing for his immediate blood. Finally they were headed off by Alice Bacon’s suggestion that we ought to go through the usual routine of inter­viewing him first. The next argument was about who should interview him, and the general view was that it ought to be the Organization Sub­ Committee’. Desmond Donnelly defended himself vigorously, asserting his heartfelt belief that, since the October 1964 general election, many of the policies implemented by the Wilson government had been, in his view, ‘mistaken and would eventually bring the Labour Party into disrepute with the working man’. It was widely feared that, if Donnelly adamantly stuck to his guns and continued to receive the backing of his local party, eventually this ‘could mean both being cut adrift’. Eventually, the Labour Party would have no alternative, it was thought, but to ‘reconstitute’ the local party in Pembrokeshire  ‘with loyal members’ .12

But there was to be no backing down. Donnelly  met the disciplinary  panel  on 20 March, but  refused  to retract  a single word  of his previous  attacks  on the party and the  Prime  Minister, telling journalists  immediately  after the  fraught  meeting,  ‘I  don’t  scare  easily.  I  have  retracted   none  of  my views . I am doing what I consider right for my country, my county and my party. I shall not give in – never ‘. He claimed that four prominent Conser­vative politicians, two of them MPs and two former MPs, had  voluntarily agreed  to  finance  his  next  general  election  campaign  in   Pembrokeshire and to address his campaign meetings in the now quite likely event of his expulsion  from  the  Labour  Party  – ‘I  cannot  say  who   they   are  but  one of  them  is  very  well  known’.  Within   a  week   the   Labour   Party   NEC  had indeed agreed, by an ‘overwhelming’ majority,  to  expel  Desmond Donnelly from the party. Tremendous  pressure  had  been  exerted  for  Donnelly ‘s expulsion by prominent trades union  leaders  like Jo  Gormley  and Frank Chapple. He had no right of appeal against the decision  of  the party NEC, and it seemed highly unlikely  that Harold  Wilson  would  allow him the right to address the party’s annual  conference  in  the  autumn. Appearing gaily  and  confidently  on  radio  and  television  programmes  in the wake of these events, the MP for Pembrokeshire  reacted  defiantly,  still pouring scorn on Harold Wilson , and anticipating the publication of his own monograph entitled Gadarene ’68, a harsh diatribe on the Wilson governments, due to appear on 29 April. 1 1 The next hurdle for him to face was a meeting of the Pembrokeshire Labour Party scheduled t o take place on 29 March when Donnelly again characteristically stubbornly refused to give an undertaking that he would apply in due course for the restoration of the Labour Party  whip.  (It was  pointed  out  that,  ever since the end  of the Second World War, every single Labour M P who had been deprived of the party whip had eventually re-gained it before the  next  general election.) At a meeting of the party management committee, there was widespread  support  for Donnelly’s standpoint, local  party  agent  Glyn Rees
asserting,  ‘I cannot  see anything  being done  to get  rid  of him  from the local  Labour  Party.  He  has  served  us  well  for  seventeen  years!’ 14  It was notable that Pembroke Dock remained the bedrock of opposition to the MP; Cledwyn Nicholls, one of the Pembroke Dock delegates, described Donnelly’ s expulsion from the Labour Party as ‘the best thing that could have happened . We might as well have a Conservative to represent us’.15 Donnelly, a shrewd political operator, knew full-well that his retention of most Labour support within the constituency would be guaranteed if the county Labour Party resolved to disaffiliate from Transport House, and was delighted when a motion introduced at the 29 March meeting by the delegates from Transport House demanding that Donnelly re-apply for the Labour Party whip was rejected by 44 votes to 24. 16

As this bizarre course of events unfolded, the Pembrokeshire Conservative Party turned to the pressing task  of  choosing  its parliamentary  candidate for the next general election. Their choice soon fell on Roger Nicholas Edwards, a 34-year-old married man with two children , educated at West­minster School and Trinity College, Cambridge,  where  he  had  graduated BA in history. Descended from a notable family of Welsh Anglicans (the first archbishop of Wales, A. G. Edwards, was his great-great uncle, as was Dean Edwards of Bangor) , he had served on national  service  with  the Royal Welch Fusiliers from 1952 until  1954  when  he  had  undertaken some of his military training  at  Castlemartin  in  Pembrokeshire.  He  also had family links within the county. At the time of his selection  Edwards was the managing director of W. Brandt’s Sons  and  Co.  (Insurance)  Ltd and he  was  also a director  of  three other  subsidiary  companies  as well  as a member of Lloyds. He had travelled widely and had visited the USA,  New Zealand , Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia as well  as a large number of European countries. Nicholas Edwards had already taken  a substantial part in parliamentary and local government elections and had played a prominent role in study groups responsible for the formulation of Conser­vative Party policies, especially on monopolies  and  restrictive  practices. He was also heavily involved in educational matters as an  experienced school  manager and governor. 1 7

At  his  adoption  meeting  at  Haverfordwest  on  16  March   1 968,  Nicholas Edwards hit out at Desmond Donnelly in a personal attack full of biting invective.  Noting  that  Donnelly  had  recently  attended  a  Monday  Club meeting in the company  of Duncan Sandys, Julian Amery  and Patrick Wall – ‘strange bed-fellow s for a Socialist’ – he went on:

We can acknowledge that it was brave,  but  it  revealed  the great flaw in his position. While attacking the Government for its foreign and defence policy, Mr. Donnelly said: ‘I do not take back a single Socialist principle’ . Minutes before Mr. Sandys had declared to a thunderous applause that it was our duty ‘to cut the canker of Socialism right out of our system’; and in the speech that followed, Mr. Amery told us that there was a clear alternative to the Wilson foreign policy for Britain, and that was provided by the Conser­vative Party.
Here is a man who proclaim s his Socialism, but repudiates the policies  of  a  Socialist  Government.  Here  is  a  man  who  is blind to the fact that socialism has failed on the three  occasions  it  has  been tried , under three different leaders,  because  the  system  is  wrong, and not the personality at its head . Here is a man who says he is a Socialist while putting forward the declared policies of hi s political opponents. Here is a man who, for all the words  he has uttered , has for more than three  years  sustained  the  Government  by  his  presence in the Labour Party, and by his failure to pass through the Opposition lobbies. For all his words he has not changed Govern­ment pol icy, and he will not change it. M r. Donnelly can not dodge the  central  dilemma:  politics  is  about  power  and government.

During the same impassioned speech, Edwards assailed his rival as  ‘an intellectual fence sitter who asks the people of  Pembrokeshire  to believe  that a Cabinet of Donnelly’s will solve all Britain ‘s problems’. Concerning the  Liberal  Party  he was  equally  dismissive – ‘all   that  is  left  are the pathetic  lamentation s of a lost people ‘ – while Plaid  Cymru, in  his  view, had  become  ‘inspired  by  hatred   of  the  English  rather  than   by   love  of Wales, and from  that hatred springs its negative, inward  looking character.
. . . How are they to attract capital when all they have to offer are  snide remarks about the companies that have established here [ in Pembrokeshire] the nucleus of our prosperity ?’.18     Letters appeared in the local  press in response to Nicholas Edwards’s powerful speech. Some or these at least, it is now clear, were  drafted  by  Donnelly himself  and  published under false names. One such  communication read as follows :

In the belief that Pembrokeshire should always be hospitable to newcomers, I read the report of Mr. Nicholas Edwards’ Conservative adoption meeting with great interest. However, I became more and more disappointed as I read on. At first I thought ‘Me1hi11ks he doth protest too much ‘. Then when h e came lo hi s wild attacks on Mr. Desmond  Donnelly  M P. I was  astonished  that this   London gentleman should be so abusive and impertinent about  someone who has served Pembrokeshire people of all parties so well and for so long. Why cannot he stick to his own policies’! By this time l had decided the local Tories had got another Farey-Jones but  then Mr. Farey-Jones , for all his wild speeches, had a sense of humour. Mr. Edwards may  have  one but  he has yet  to show it.”,

On 6 April at its annual general meeting at Willie Jenkins House at Haver­fordwest the Pembrokeshire Labour Party voted by 69 votes to one  to disaffiliate from the  Labour  Party  and  thus  effectively  declared  UDI  and  set   out   to   establish   its   own   organisation   and    membership   structure. At around the same time Desmond Donnelly’s long anticipated volume Gadarene ’68, sub-titled The Crimes, Follies and Misfortunes of the Wilson Government, finally saw the light of day and immediately enjoyed  impres­sive sales and publicity throughout the country. The renegade MP at once ebulliently announced a nationwide crusade ‘from  John  o’Groats  to  Land ‘s End’ to effect a transformation in government policy,  and  he  appealed  to  other  constituency  associations  to  follow  the  bold  lead  of  Pembrokeshire. It was  anticipated  that  the  Labour  Party  would  soon  take  steps  to  establish a new Pembrokeshire DLP, and it was widely believed that a legal  tussle over the local Labour headquarters and the local party’s funds, estimated to approach some £60,000, lay in prospect. Within days  it  was  revealed that  senior  party  mandarins  had  taken  steps  to  attempt  to  freeze  the bank accounts  of  the  local  Labour Party. 20  A  week  later  Desmond Donnelly announced  the setting  up  of  a national  campaign  committee  as a prelude to the eventual establ ishment of a new  political party, the campaign  to  be launched  in  Scotland  at  the  end  of  May  on  the  lines  of  an  American primary, then to hold meetings at all the big cities in England  and Wales, concluding with a huge public demonstration at Harold Wilson’s Huyton constituency – ‘This could be a  breakaway  party  from  the  Labour  Party, and could embrace radical Conservatives and practical Liberals. . . . Many Labour supporters, middle-of-the-road people, and “open-minded Tories” were thinking  as  he  was’.  On  24  April  the  Labour  Party  NEC  resolved lo suspend the local constituency organisation, re-establi sh  ‘a  local  group loyal to the national party’ and set in  train  moves to  select  a  new  Labour cand idate for the next general election . Sara  Barker,  the  Labour  Party’s nation a l agent and acting general secretary, circulated all branches of affiliated trades  unions  within  Pembrokeshire  notifying  them  of  their M P’s suspension  from the Labour Party  and  the required  reconstruction .21

There was a general welcome in Pembrokeshire for Nicholas Edwards’s candidalure. As one correspondent wrote in the local  press,  ‘The Conser­vatives have my full support. We must never forget that Mr. Donnelly is a dangerous Socialist. Even if it means splitting the vote and pulling in the Welsh  Nationalist , the Pembrokeshire Conservatives are right  to  put party before else. The country must come second’ .22 Such sentiments were evidently widely shared throughout the county. The new Conservative candidate delivered a number of impressive public speeches, speaking on such issues as transport, race and immigration , industrial development, tourism, and subsidies to the fishing industry.23 Enoch Powell, the shadow minister for defence, spoke at a coffee reception at Haverfordwest arranged by the county Conservative Association at the end of March . He was highly critical of the  Labour  government’s  Transport  Bill , which  was  designed to force bulk transport off the roads to the advantage of the railways, and promised a new maritime forces set-up under a future Conservative govern­ ment.24

On 17 May  the  funds  of  the  Pembrokeshire  Labour  Party  were  frozen  in the  High  Court  (apart  from  routine  administrative   outgoi ngs)   pending  hearing of legal proceedings over the  party’s  future. It  was  announced  that the party would be reconstituted at  a  meeting  of  delegates  on  22  J une.25 During  the  middle  of  May  significant  numbers  of  local  Labour   Party members went over to the new local Labour Party  set  up  by  the  party ‘s NEC. Much  to  Donnelly’s  chagrin,  there  were  large numbers  of defectors at Fishguard, St Davids, Pembroke, N eyland , Haverfordwest and Tenby. Transport  House began  to  send  individual  communications  to   Labour Party members i n the county as a means of winning over their support and demanding  conformity  to  the  constitution  of  the  Labour  Party,  while  on the last day of the  month  in  the  local  press, Desmond  Donnelly  published the manifesto of his embryonic new party. Just days later, speaking at Col­ chester, Donnelly savaged the Prime Minister’s  policy  towards  Rhodesia which, he asserted,  had  ‘deservedly  earned  him  the  “political  dunce’s” cap for 1968’.26 A long, unpleasant legal  battle  seemed  in prospect  during  the  high summer of 1 968 as Labour Party national organisers  continued  their  efforts to reconstitute the local party in Pembrokeshire, and,  at the  meeting which took place on 22 June,  which  about  100 delegates  attended  (all  of  these opposed to Desmond Donnelly), Cecil John, an elderly local school­ master,  was  confirmed  as  the  president  of  the  new  Pembrokeshire   CLP  and  a  completely   new   executive  committee   was  chosen.  At  this   meeting
Cecil John noted that thirteen local parties had been reconstituted , seven­teen local trades union branches had pledged their full support to the new party, and that the party had the backing of about 3000 Pembroke shire people.27

At the hearing which took place at the High Court in London from 10 July, Mr Justice Megarry was told by Mr Charles  Sparrow  QC,  representing Cecil John, the former president of the Pembrokeshire CLP, that Desmond Donnelly was a ‘self-proclaimed rebel of the Labour Party who started a country-wide crusade to start a new opposition party.  His idea  seems  to  have been to harness to the crusade funds contributed  by  the Pembroke­shire people to the Labour Party. The funds  were to become  the  war  chest of the new one-man party. Mr. Donnelly announced that he had decided to declare his own UDI’. Cecil John meanwhile was ‘one of [the local Labour Party’s] elder senators and keeper of the party’s conscience’. Sparrow described  to  the court  in  some detail  the uproar  which  had  ensued  at the infamous local party meeting on 6 April and  lengthy  exchanges  ensued with passions rising on both sides. When Donnelly’s wife Mrs Rosemary Donnelly  returned  home   after   attending   court,   she  found   a  telegram summoning her to appear before a special committee of the Labour Party to explain her apparent refusal to make a declaration  of  loyalty  to  the party. She commented, ‘Behind  it they  were  trying  to get me  to agree not to support my husband any longer. I wrote  back  and said I wished  to give my support to my husband’. Two days later she responded angrily to an apparent threat  by  the party  NEC  to expel  her and a further thirty  of  her  husband’s supporters unless they signed an undertaking of loyalty to the Labour Party – ‘How can one be a member of a radical party, a party of change, if one is asked to sign a declaration representative of stagnation?’. Donnelly’s local agent Glyn Rees dismissed the imperious attitude of Transport House as ‘taking things right back  to the days of  the jackboot’ .  All thirty Donnelly supporters were soon to receive a registered letter  warning them bluntly of the threat to  expel  them  forthwith  from  the party.28

As this dramatic course of events unfolded , both at London and in Pem­brokeshire , there were criticisms in some quarters that Nicholas  Edwards was not participating actively in the life of the county where  he  was  to stand for parliament. In July, however, he revealed the results  of  the detailed study which he had taken into the question of the unemployed in Pembrokeshire. His conclusion was that some of those without work were ‘genuine victims’ of unkind circumstances, but  that  there  were  others  whom he labelled ‘the phoneys – people who prefer to live on a combi­nation  of  casual  labour and  their  unemployment  benefits’ , and  he rightly castigated those ‘idle men  living  off  the  backs  of  those  who  work’ .29  During the same month  Edwards  won  general  commendation  for putting in an appearance at the Royal Welsh Show at Builth  Wells  (where  he turned up in the company of party leader Ted  Heath,  David  Gibson-Watt, the Tory spokesman on Welsh affairs, and Sir Raymond Gower, the Conservative MP for Barry) and visited the stands of  the  NFU  and  the FUW on the showground. He also spoke out repeatedly against  the  pro­posal that Pembrokeshire should me submerged into the huge county of Dyfed at the time of local government reorganisation . The proposed new county gave ‘every sign of having been invented in the minds of politicians and bureaucrats who [had] never been closer to West Wales than  a small scale map’. During the high summer of 1968 Nicholas Edwards (possibly responding to repeated criticism that he had rarely been seen in the county since his nomination in March) adopted a notably high profile within the constituency, visiting many areas, fulfilling an array of official engage­ments, and turning up at many old people’s homes, hospitals and schools throughout Pembrokeshire. He also threw his weight behind the preservation of Withybush Hospital at Haverfordwest, protesting that seriously ill folk could not tolerate the long journey to Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen and were currently having  to  endure  an  exceptionally  long wait before being seen by a consultant. Edwards also pressed for improved transport links in Wales and welcomed warmly the recent reduction in the voting age to eighteen.’30

During October it was announced that party leader Ted  Heath was likely  to visit Pembrokeshire, probably speaking at Haverford west, and other south Wales venues at the end of November. It was widely assumed that the Conservatives now sensed the scent of victory in the county as a result  of Desmond Donnelly’s expulsion from the Labour Party and his subse­quent formation of a new political party. They  saw  Donnelly  as  ‘a tough nut to crack’, and it was anticipated that ‘the  star  men  of  both  major parties’ would visit Pembrokeshire ‘to try and unseat the dauntless Desmond. Our county will become the cock-pit of the country’ .31 There were some who forecast that Donnelly might well himself stand as a Conservative candidate at some point in the future – following his likely defeat in Pem­brokeshire at the next general election (a prediction uncannily close to the mark). But it was by no means certain that Donnelly would be defeated in  the county  where  he clearly  enjoyed  a substantial  personal  following and potentially a strong personal vote. At the 6 April meeting Glyn Rees had spoken out – ‘A fact that must now be realised is that the votes cast for Labour at each general election in Pembrokeshire are not really Labour votes, but Donnelly votes. The seat in Pembrokeshire has been retained for Labour against very strong opposition largely, if not entirely, through Mr Donnelly’s personal hard work and triumph and the help of a small group of hardworking supporters. It is estimated today through public opinion that Mr Donnelly holds a personal following of anything between 15,000 to 20,000 supporters’ .32 During the summer the Western Telegraph con­ducted a detailed opinion poll of 1,000 individuals throughout Pembroke­ shire, a poll which suggested that Donnelly was likely to be re-elected in the county with a majority of some 7000 votes. The detailed figures were: Donnelly 40.2 per cent; Conservative 27.4 per cent; Labour 13.4 per cent; Plaid Cymru 12.3 per cent; Liberal 4.1 per cent; and ‘undecided ‘ 2.6 per cent. In the report detailed figures were given for each part of the county. The official Labour Party was apparently being dismissed by many in the county as ‘Transport House Socialists’.” Donnelly himself, with his customary bravado, publicly forecast that he would easily hold Pembroke­ shire at the general  election  with  a majority  of 10,000 votes.34

There was considerable consternation within the Pembrokeshire Conser­vative Association in September when it was discovered that Desmond Donnelly had received and accepted an  invitation  to address a meeting of the Barry Conservative Association. Representations were made  by  the  Pembrokeshire group, but were simply ignored. As the local  secretary wrote to the party’s central office in Wales, ‘. . . Knowing the way the “guest speaker” works, I am sure Pembrokeshire will suffer – not only will a  press  report  of  the  speech  appear  (probably  stating  what  a   rapturous reception   he  received   from  Conservatives)   in  our  local  press,  but  our supporters will  be hurt  in one sense and  furious in  another ‘ . He enclosed a  press  cutting  of  a  Young  Conservative  meeting  which   Donnelly   had recently addressed at Chelsea – ‘It is not what he says that matters   so much  as  the  impression  he creates  that  he  is “well  in”  with  the Conser­vatives’. Donnelly ‘s conduct was clearly causing the Pembrokeshire Con­servative Association considerable discomfiture and embarrassment , and it was known  that Nicholas  Edwards had  appealed  to his associates  at Barry not to invite Donnelly. ”
In October the Donnelly camp received a welcome boost with  the high  court judgement that the officers elected by the Donnelly party at its  meeting on 6 April had been properly chosen. Further, it was ruled that the funds and possessions of the party belonged to the Donnelly group.36 This rather unexpected outcome caused attitudes to harden on all sides. When George Thomas, formerly a close personal friend of Desmond Donnelly’s, now the recently appointed Secretary of State for Wales, spoke at Haver­fordwest at the end of October, he launched a sharp attack on Donnelly’s ‘wild outbursts’ and vigorously defended Harold Wilson .37 As the autumn ran its course, Nick Edwards and the Conservative Party machine clearly stepped up its campaign in Pembrokeshire. At the party  conference convened at Blackpool in  October,  Edwards  delivered  an  important, widely reported speech on the problems of the constituency and the urgent need for the government to devote resources to the development of an improved transport system: ‘The old industries are fading away and the employment prospects of many depended upon Government establish­ments that are threatened  with  closure. We now  have the greatest oil port  in the United Kingdom [in Milford Haven], but it is highly automated and employs few. The industrial complex that should go with it will remain a dream until we have a government which will recognise that the greatest single contribution they can make to the prosperity of many of the devel­opment areas is an adequate transport system ‘. In this speech he drew attention to the unusually high unemployment levels within  Pembroke­shire and the very poor prospects of future employment – unless the govern­ment acted.38 Shortly afterwards, the Conservative candidate pressed  government departments for an assurance that the projected concorde test flights over west Wales would not pose a threat to historic  buildings like  the  St David ‘s Cathedral.

A major political meeting was then convened  at the Fishguard  Bay Hotel on 9 November – to be addressed by Nick Edwards, David  Gibson-Watt (as the Conservative spokesman on Welsh affairs) and David George (the Conservative candidate for Cardiganshire). Gibson-Watt, who experienced severe difficulties with the local railway service in reaching the remote constituency (eventually arriving at Pembroke Dock instead of Haverford­ west as originally planned!), urged caution over further devolutionary concessions for Wales: ‘The future well-being of Wales stands or falls on whether  the United  Kingdom  as a whole can surmount  its difficulties ‘. In response to current government plans to give the Secretary of State for Wales responsibility for health and agriculture within the principality, Gibson-Watt spoke out, ‘Let nobody blind himself to where all this may eventually lead us in Wales. The Welsh Nationalists want a Welsh Parlia­ment and economic separation’. At the same conference Edwards under­ lined his party’s  commitment  to  increasing  the defence  budget.39  On 13 November the prospective candidate addressed the Pembrokeshire Young Farmers on the difficulties facing agricultural communities and in support of the decision that the voting age in parliamentary elections should be reduced to  eighteen  years.  Party  leader Ted  Heath  visited the county on 29 November, travelling there by overnight sleeper from London, and attending functions at Milford Haven and Haverfordwest before departing for Carmarthen in the afternoon. To an audience exceed­ing four hundred of the party faithful who nibbled chicken legs and sipped white wine at the Market Hall, Haverfordwest, the Tory leader declared that the county would certainly fall to the Conservatives at the next general election, along with many other Welsh seats – ‘As the result of research we have come to the conclusion that there is now an opportunity, as never before, to gain almost half the votes of the people of Wales at the next election . We now have new voters ready to turn to our cause when the general election comes’ . Heath also spoke out against the growing swirl of devolutionary demands: ‘The prosperity of Wales will always depend upon the prosperity of the United Kingdom as a whole. We can none of us cut ourselves off from the others without damaging each other, and this applies to all parts of the United Kingdom . The first task of any Govern­ment must be to produce good government for the whole of Britain’ . The day after the visit to the county, the Tory leader wrote to Nick Edwards, ‘I shall look forward to seeing you in the next House of Commons’ .40

The Conservative pre-election campaign in Pembrokeshire rapidly gathered momentum. Within a week  of Ted Heath’s  visit,  a party  rally  and bazaar at Haverfordwest was addressed by Sir Ted Leather, the party’s vice­ chairman, well-known nationally as a regular panellist on the BBC radio programme ‘Any Questions’ .41 It was agreed  on all sides that the result  of the next general election remained wide-open partly as a result of the ‘massive floating vote’ within the county and the unknown impact of the split Labour vote there. There remained, it was thought, a substantial body  of  ‘undecided   Socialists  who  have  still  to  decide  whether  to  back   the breakaway Desmond Donnelly or the pro-Wilson Transport House Brigade’. A further poll undertaken by Western Telegraph reporters at the end of the year revealed a quite dramatic change in the voting intentions of the county’s electorate: Conservatives 36.1 per cent; Desmond Donnelly 28 per cent; Official Labour 1 2.5 per cent; Plaid Cymru 7.8 per  cent ;  Liberal Party 5.7 per cent; and ‘Don ‘t know ‘, 9.9 per cent. At the  time  opinion polls conducted throughout the UK were revealing a dramatic swing of some 20 per cent to the Conservatives. Within Pembrokeshire the swing was rather less, but still significant, while Desmond Donnelly still enjoyed ‘an amazing personal following’ within the county whose impact was very much an unknown quantity.42 Right at the end of this extraordinary year, Desmond Donnelly did make an attempt to reach some kind of agreement with the Labour Party nationally, but his tentative olive branch was con­temptuously swept aside by Transport House which doggedly resolved to press on with its investigation into the affairs of the constituency Labour Party. On 9 January  1969 the  secretaries  of  all  the  local  Labour  Parties in Pembrokeshire were informed by Sara Barker that they were to be summoned before the party’s NEC individually for questioning and the possibility that they might well then be expelled from the Labour Party. Rosemary Donnelly was indeed  expelled  from  the party  at the beginning of February, and she then lost her Goodwick seat at the subsequent local government  elections.43

But the Desmond Donnelly crusade attracted a considerable amount of interest and publicity across the globe – even in such remote places  as Hong Kong and New Zealand where newspapers carried reports on his activities and progress.44 He clearly enjoyed  a fair measure  of  sympathy  and support, but many spoke out against hi m too. There were some in Pembrokeshire who, with some justification, depicted Donnelly as an MP who ‘had no mandate ‘ from his constituents to remain in the House of Commons. One correspondent noted in the columns of the local press, ‘A continuation of abusive remarks which have now reached the border of scurrility will not improve the image of our M.P. in his attacks on Mr. Wilson. On the contrary, it is a serious blow to the prestige and popularity  he has had in the County for many years’ .45 The reformed county Labour Party was in very serious difficulties. Early in 1969 Glyn Rees, the local party agent, had written to Sara Barker to inform her that the party had an overdraft  of  over  £2000  at  Lloyds  Bank,  Haverfordwest,  and  that there were further debts owed to the Midland Bank, Milford Haven which was pressing for repayment. Such was the severity of the local party’s finances  that it seriously considered disposing of its headquarters Wille Jenkins House at 61 and 62 Dew Street, Haverfordwest, a  suggestion  which provoked an angry reaction from the local party membership. Further indignation was caused by the fact that both Glyn Rees and his nominated deputy had failed to turn up at party meetings convened early in the new year, and by the ongoing proceedings of the NEC investigating committee.  At a meeting in January, one of the delegates present asserted,  ‘There was  a lot of money in the party up to the time of the split, and it was often said that there were sufficient funds for Desmond Donnelly to finance  an election every six months. What has happened to it all now ?’. It was noted that the party ‘s balance  sheet  for the  year  1967 had  shown  an excess  of income over expenditure  of £600  ‘which  was quite healthy ‘.46

It  was  widely  anticipated  that,  in  consequence  of  this  course  of events, Nicholas Edwards stood a very good chance of capturing the Pembroke­ shire constituency. By March  it seemed that at least five candidates   would contest the next  general  election  in  Pembrokeshire  as the county  Liberal Party  announced  the adoption  of Alan  Coulthard,  a 45-year-old  Swansea
barrister who had already stood in the county in the October 1 964 general election when he had polled a fairly impressive total of 9679 votes.47 Wynne Samuel, the Plaid Cymru aspirant, had already been adopted some months earlier and had been nursing the constituency assiduously in the meantime, and the Labour Party, too, had chosen Gordon Parry to stand in the constituency. In the middle of March, Donnelly wrote a little glumly to his friend Sir Roy Welensky , the former Prime Minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland , ‘I am feeling a little grim at the moment. The Liberals have now gone and adopted a candidate against me in Pembroke as well, which is not good. This means we shall have Conservative, Labour, Welsh Nationalist , Liberals and me.  If I can beat that lot, I can climb Mount Everest’.48 Possibly he sensed that his fate was scaled by the decision of the Liberals (which whom he had had genuine hopes of forming some kind of electoral alliance in  the  county  and possibly beyond) to put up a candidate against hi m. Meanwhile Desmond Donnelly ‘s own behaviour was growing increasingly bizarre and indeed unpredictable. At the Brighton Pavilion by-election , due to take place on 24 March,  he gave  his full  backing  to Julian  Amery,  the Conservative candidate, with whom he had apparently formed a very close bond of fnendsh1p. Shortly afterwards, he gave an impassioned address to a  packed meeting of the Chelsea Conservative Political Centre during the course of which a man at the back of the hall demanded, ‘Why are you not a Tory?’ , to which Donnelly relied at once, ‘Because my duty is to the ordinary common people of Pembrokeshire and to Britain as a whole, not to a sall group of Home Guard colonels’, a response which surprisingly gave rise to loud cheers from the Tory faithful present at the meeting. Within the Labour Party he was now regarded as an outright traitor. Before the end of the month, amidst recurrent rumours  that  the wayward  MP was on the point of .setting up his own independent political party, he suffered a real body-blow when fourteen prominent members of the Milford  Haven  Labour  Party,  previously  among  Donnelly’s staunchest supporters, announced their resignations and readiness to back the party’s NEC and national constitution.49 By this time it was rumoured that, although the Pembrokeshire CLP had some £50,000 worth of material assets, it was still in debt to the tune of about  £14,000.50


On the first day of the month the three officials – the president, secretary and treasurer – of the Pembrokeshire Labour Party which supported Desmond Donnelly had announced their resignations from the Labour Party, as did fourteen members of the twenty-four strong committee, among them Rosemary Donnelly. One of their number was Glyn Rees, who had been secretary and agent to the party ever since 1955 and was extremely well-known in political circles throughout the county. In the words of the local press, ‘What started as a small crack in the surface unity of the local Labour party has gradually widened to become a major split   …  and  now,  finally,  a  complete  division’ .51  It  was  now  abundantly  clear  that  there  could  never  be  any  real  reconciliation   between   Desmond Donnelly and the official Labour Party. Donnelly’s new party was  indeed launched at a Haverfordwest hotel (significantly a location within the Pembrokeshire  constituency  rather  than   at  Westminster)   on   8  April   1969 to  a  large  gathering  of  national  journalists   and  television   cameras.  From the outset, although it was agreed that the timing  of  the  launch  and  the  delivery of Desmond Donnelly’s inaugural speech were  auspicious,  it  was widely felt that the  new  party  had  but  little  prospect  of  making  any significant  long-term  impression  upon ·the  course  of   British   political   life and  that  the  new  Donnelly   party   did  not   have  a  distinguishable   enough political platform and policies. To a large  extent  his  political  standpoint  seemed remarkably close to  that  of  the  Conservatives,  and  an  Edwards victory now   seemed   ever   more   likely   in   Pembrokeshire.   Donnelly   was himself also stirring the political waters with his articles in  the News  of  the World which claimed  that  a  general  election  was  likely  in  the  autumn  as  was a change of party leader.52 In an impressive speech at the AGM of the Pembrokeshire  Conservative  Association   in   April   1969,   Nick   Edwards assailed each of the other  candidates  in  turn,  reserving  the following  attack for Desmond  Donnelly:  ‘We have  been  told  that  soon  Mr.  Donnelly  is going to tell us  his  plans  for  the  future  and  what  he  stands  for.  I  know  what  it will  be – an  attempt  to  retain  Socialist  votes  with  Conservative  principles. Recently Mr. Donnelly wrote about  the  sensitivity  of  certain  politicians  to TV  and  press  criticism;  basically   it  stems  from  a  desire  to  pull  their  own publicity strings and present themselves as big men – well the cap fits ‘. Alan Coulthard regarded  Edwards’s  peroration  and  claims  of  assured victory as ‘a little pathetic’ , and  asserted  that  there were,  in  reality,  now two Conservative candidates standing in Pembrokeshire. Desmond Donnelly, Coulthard described as ‘that new pillar of the right ‘, who had openly supported the candidature and policies of Julian Amery – a figure notoriously on the extreme right wing  of  the  Conservative  Party.  and  a man  already  spoken of as a successor to the hapless Mr.  Heath ‘ 53

But Donnelly pressed ahead with the development of  his n new  party,  by now christened the United Democrats, holding a formal foundation conference, again at Haverfordwest, at the end of May, and proclaiming ambitious plans to put up some thirty -six party candidates at the forthcoming general election , seven of these in Welsh seats, while each of the three three party leaders was to be opposed by Donnelly candidates and  a candidate was also to be put up at  the  pending  by-election at Newcastle-­under-Lyme due to be held in the autumn . Donnelly announced with characteristic bravado at the Haverforwest launch conference, ‘Some fifty people have come forward as parliamentary candidates.  Our greatest needs are money and time. If we have enough time, and Mr Wilson does not run out on his job, we hope to put  something like thirty to  forty candidates in different  parts of  Britain ‘. Warming  to  his  theme,  he  went on, ‘Our challenge is to bring about a new alignment altogether in British politics. Our appeal is to all those who may have voted Tory, Liberal  or Labour in the past, but who now see our nation is in  rapid  decline’. He underlined the fact repeatedly  that it  was the new  party’s  firm intention  to put  up a candidate  against the Prime  Minister in  his  Huyton  constituency
– ‘We have a retired judge who is a very distinguished man  of  great  dignity to fight there, and he may well have to don his black cap for M r. Wilson’ .54 (This was presumably a reference to Mr Gerald  Sparrow,  the  former  Bangkok  judge,   who  was  then  66  years  of age.)

The published manifesto of the new  party  advocated  the  near-abolition  of the welfare state, a massive reduction in  public  spending  of  some  75  per cent over the  next  quinquennium , substantial  tax  cuts, the  denationalisation of British industries, a major reduction in the scope of the civil service, the removal of governmental controls on prices and incomes (thus allowing substantial  increases in  the  cost  of  basic commodities),  and  a  reduction  in the number of MPs from 630 to 250. As the functions of central govern­ ment were thus much curtailed, the role of local councils would be con­siderably enhanced to carry a substantial additional work-load . Donnelly’ s avowed objectives were to transform a constituency organisation into a national movement by forming new constituency parties at the rate of two per month , and to amass  a political war-chest  in excess of  £1 million  within the next five years. Most political commentators responded by doubting the prospects of success for the new party, but in the Sunday Teleraph eminent historian and writer Robert Skidelsky hailed Desmond Donnelly as ‘a brave man who has made a brave dash for freedom . . . . We should not despise the logic that drove him to it’ .55 Nicholas Edwards was predictably far less charitable towards his political rival. Within a week of the official launch meeting of the new party at Haverfordwest, Edwards stood on the very same platform and compared Donnelly ‘s ill-fated efforts to win power with those of Winnie the Pooh to reach the ‘honey ‘: ‘The Labour Party will be with us long after Mr. Donnelly ‘s vainglorious escapade is forgotten, because for all its shortcomings it represents ideals und common interests which are not to be found among Donnelly ‘s casual collection of political  dropouts  or  in  his  extraordinary  and  entirely artificial mixture of ideas from opposite ends of the political  spectrum. United and Democratic? We shall see!’. Edwards was clearly especially well informed about the Democratic Party foundation conference, stating that of the 212 chairs placed in the Masonic Hall for the potentially high­ profile occasion, only about 150 had been taken, out of which only some 100 were Pembrokeshire folk prepared to turn out to salute ‘their hero’, while the proceedings overall, claimed Edwards, had been characterised by a profound ‘sense of anti-climax’ – ‘The most remarkable thing about the meeting was not the poor attendance, but the complete absence – even of a verbal message – from a single figure of national distinction from our political and public life’. He continued:

Over a year after announcing his intention of forming a new party, after an unparalleled campaign of self-advertisement, in spite of an enormous public relations exercise, this was all that  Mr.  Donnelly could offer. A year ago we were told that three well-k n own – but nameless – politicians were about lo declare their support for Mr. Donnelly. We have heard  nothing of them since. Now  a retired – but, or course, nameless – High  Court Judge is apparently  to devote his old age to this noble cause. Thirty-eight – but faceless – candi­dates are to offer themselves as a sacrifice on the altar of Mr. Donnelly’s ambition, after being vetted – and how appropriately – by a former member of the Secret Service. In the shadows, we are told, a large, but anonymous part of the Parliamentary Labour Party is merely biding its time before declaring itself ready to abolish the Welfare State.56

By August it was clear that an intensive five candidate election campaign lay in prospect in Pembrokeshire, a feature widely noted in the national press.57 On 20 September, at a very enthusiastic meeting  convened  at Willie Jenkins House, the county Labour Party considered an impressive short-list of six potential candidates of whom the favourite  – Gordon Parry, a 43-year-old schoolmaster from Neyland – was eventually chosen by an overwhelming majority of the delegates as candidate, In previous years Parry had been a staunch supporter of Desmond Donnelly’s in the county; now, perversely, they were to be electoral opponents.58  Although in his heart of hearts Desmond Donnelly must have known that his prospects of electoral success were inevitably remote in a five cornered contest, in public his optimism continued: ‘Our aim in the next general election is 27-28,000 votes’, he told the September quarterly meeting of the Democrats at the Mariners Hotel, Haverfordwest, ‘The Liberal can­didate will lose his deposit, with ignominy. The Welsh Nationalist will do likewise. And the Wilsonite Labour man will either just save or just lose his deposit. I am not minimising the task ahead. But we can beat  the lot  put together. And we have one advantage, one priceless advantage – the Conservative candidate himself (loud laughter and applause)’.  He  then went on to discuss at length the serious unemployment problem facing Pembrokeshire and anticipated keenly the impending by-election at Newcastle-under-Lyne where a Democrat candidate was to stand for the first time – ‘The Newcastle-under-Lyne by-election is the first test and the Common Market will be an issue. Never mind the polls, this is the first time that people will have the chance actually to vote for a candidate who  is not pledged to be lobby fodder for the Common Market like the other three’. He boldly anticipated that Democrat divisional parties  were about  to be formed in constituencies throughout the country, and welcomed to  the meeting delegations from Birmingham and Coventry who, he claimed, sought to emulate the example of  Pembrokeshire. 59

Donnelly’s optimism in relation to Newcastle-under-Lyne was misplaced  as David Parker, the Democrat candidate, polled just 1699 votes, about three per cent of those cast, and, at another by-election in the Louth division of Lincolnshire a little later the Democrat polled no more than 1225 votes (4.3 per cent). Both candidates easily lost their deposits, but at least some interest in the cause had been created, and the campaign in Pembrokeshire continued.60  Gordon Parry alleged that Donnelly had even received a message wishing him well from Ted Heath, while Donnelly himself liked to boast that his new party was receiving generous donations from Conservative, Liberal and Labour supporters, including from  Sir John Wedgwood, the former deputy chairman of Josiah Wedgwood Ltd.61 The Young Conservative group at Haverfordwest even invited Desmond Donnelly to elucidate his policies at a public meeting – until the county Conservative Association got wind of the invitation and it was promptly withdrawn. 62 The Labour campaign in Pembrokeshire was clearly gather­ing momentum too. At the Labour Party annual conference in October Gordon Parry was given a very warm reception. As he walked to the microphone to address the conference, Jim Callaghan, the home secretary, called out, ‘Come on, Gordon, you can win Pembroke!’. In a cogent address to the delegates, Parry told them that, during the previous two years, ‘Pembrokeshire had been engaged in fighting off a bid  for  personal  power’ .63

On the last day of 1969 one local newspaper hailed the recent  formation  of ‘a new political party with positive, identifiable and attractive policies appealing to the mass of the uncommitted middle class’ and anticipated  that Donnelly’s Democratic party might well make  some impact  at the next general election.64 But, as 1970 dawned, Desmond Donnelly himself clearly realised that his prospects even of retaining Pembrokeshire were slim indeed. The pro-Labour vote would inevitably be split in Pembroke­ shire, possibly allowing a Conservative victory at the polls. Nicholas Edwards had proved himself a doughty campaigner in the county  ever since his nomination, making lavish promises to rescue the county’s rail links and to being new jobs to the area, and consistently making vitriolic personal attacks on Desmond Donnelly in his many public speeches. He had also become actively involved in the local campaign to save the naval air base at Brawdy.65 Moreover, Donnelly’s good name was inevitably somewhat  tarnished  by  the  civil  war  which  had  waged  throughout the previous two years. Intense speculation ensued on  the  precise  date of  the next general election as The Times asserted at the end of February that Donnelly’s spirited bid to retain  Pembrokeshire  had  ‘all  the  markings  of first class, and fierce, farce’ .66 There was  conjecture  that  Donnelly  had offered to withdraw the Democrat candidate at  Newcastle-under-Lyme  in return for an undertaking that Nichola s Edwards might stand down in Pembrokeshire. Bill Weale, the Conservative agent in Pembrokeshire, commented, ‘Needless to say,  this  last-ditch  effort  to  save  his  own  skin was as fruitless as all his other ventures to prove he is God’s gift  to  the luckless electors. He is obviously a worried man ‘.67  Talk  of  possible electoral pacts and deals between  the  Conservatives  and  the  Democrats persisted for months, and there was even conjecture about direct  talks  between Desmond Donnelly and Ted Heath  on  such  matters . Donnelly’s close friendship with right-wing Conservative MP J ulian Amery was often mentioned (both shared very similar anti-Labour and indeed anti-Wilson viewpoints), and it was widely known that Desmond Donnelly was well acquainted with two former Conservative Prime  Mini sters Anthony  Eden and Harold Macmillan. At a University of Wales Air Squadron dinner held  at St Athan in  mid-M arch, Julian Amery,  the secretary  of state for air  in the last Conservative government and the son-i n-l aw of Harold Macmillan ,  had  lavished praise  on  Donnelly,  ‘I  want   to  say   what  a privilege it is to share this table with my  friend  and  colleague  Desmond Donnelly. It is very rare in public life that a political figure has the courage to stand for principle and nation before any thought of  personal  self­ interest, and I am privileged to be here with  Mr.  Desmond  Donnelly because of what he had done and is seeking  to  do  for  the  defences  of Britain (applause) . We have been on opposite sides  of  the  House  in  the past, but we have always been friends and colleagues’.  It was  generally agreed  that,  by  speaking  out  in  this  way,  Amery,  viewed  as   ‘one  of Britain ‘s leading Conservatives’ , had deliberately  ‘cold-shouldered ‘ Nicholas Edwards, his own party ‘s candidate in  Pembrokeshire, as he went on: ‘It is a well known fact and I make it no secret that I can not understand why my political party should be opposing Mr. Donnelly in his constituency and  I know  how  I would  vote if l were an elector in Pembrokeshire’. 68

On 16 February the Democratic Party published a detailed sixteen-page policy statement – ‘The objective is to save a sinking nation ‘. A mong its many  proposals  were  a  tough  stance  on   ‘permissiveness ‘ – ‘Rome  fell because of its permissive society. Britain’s permi ssive society is rotting the soul of the nation’. It consequently advocated raising the moral standards of television and radio programmes and newspaper s, a harder line on drug taking , and a rigorous review of the laws on abortion, homosexuality and divorce. Other policies included heavier penalties for convicted criminals, a re-assessment of capital punishment, and con­sideration of the introduction of corporal punishment. Income tax  was to  be cut to a flat rate of five shillings in the pound , while those earning less than £2000 per annum were to be exempt from the payment of income tax . An added-value tax was to be introduced , support for industry, and a clamp down on the trades  unions and  on  immigration, together  with  a slimming-down of the civil service, and an increase in Britain’s defence commitments. 69 It was a notably right-wing agenda which  immediately did have its supporters, indeed admirers, but it was also widely felt that there was also an element of ‘something for everyone’  in  its contents. Most commentators agreed that the manifesto presented ‘a picture of an Utopia which the Democrats will never be given the chance to provide’. The proposals concerning taxation were considered bizarre and incapable of implementation , while surprise was voiced at the failure to discuss Britain and the EEC, a burning i ssue in 1970. 70 The same month – Feb­ ruary 1 970 – saw a widely reported political meeting at Haverfordwest addressed by Jim Callaghan, the home secretary, at a ti me of major dis­ enchantment among the county ‘s  farming  communities.  Other  political big guns, too, came to the remote constituency, including Michael Hesel­tine, the Conservative spokesman on transport, Edward Short, Cledwyn Hughes (a former secretary of state for Wales), and Mrs Barbara  Castle, the secretary of state for employment and productivity. Mrs Castle told a Labour Party meeting at Haverfordwest that Donnelly ‘fell by the wayside when the going got tough. He should be repudiated for repudiating Socialism ‘. At a Democratic Party conference at Saundersfoot a week later, Desmond Donnelly retaliated sharply by asserting that Barbara  Castle had ‘lied and cringed’ over trades union legislation the previous year.71 At the same conference he warned his followers against setting their sights too high. Early bravado about putting up a large number of Democrat Party candidates at the general election had by now largely dis­ appeared: ‘I would rather run ten candidates well than twenty indifferently. We have too many action stations. We have got to decide what constituencies we are going to fight. Do not let us set our sights too high ‘.72  The influx of Labour heavweight politicians into the constituency during the. re-elect10n and elect10n campaigns was often commented upon in political columns. Commentators attributed their anxiety to visit Pembrokeshire to the fact that Transport House now considered the seat ‘winnable’ and to Donnelly’s general lack of popularity among his former colleagues  in the Labour fold.

An enterprising opinion poll conducted by the Western Telegraph in ten areas of Pembrokeshire  at the end of March  revealed  the following trend: Labour 30.9 per cent, Conservative 29.3 per cent, and Democrat 24.7 per cent.73  Desmond   Donnelly’s   own  predictions   were   predictably  more favourable to the Democrat cause. During April there was a great deal of speculat10n about other Democrat election  candidates  in  various  parts  of the country. Peter Hancock , the president of the Democratic Party in Pembrokeshire,  announced that  he  would  seek the nomination for Carmarthenshire, but  this eventually  came  to  nothing .74  Noel Armstrong, a Norwich solicitor, announced  that  he  would  stand  at Norwich  South  as  a  Democratic Party  candidate  rather  than  as  an independent   as  he  had originally intended.75  Press  columnists  noted that Desmond Donnelly’s close rapport with Woodrow Wyatt, the Labour MP for the Bosworth division and previously a political soul-mate, had conspicuously come to an abrupt end  since Donnelly had  been  expelled  from the Labour Party.76 In his own diary entry in the middle of the month Donnelly himself wrote, ‘I think Heath will win. Some do not. The public do not like him enough’ .77 He was convinced that a general election was imminent, even though the Labour government did not have to go to the country until the spring of 1971. As Donnelly wrote to his friend Dean Acheson, a former secretary of state in the United States, ‘The clue is Harold Wilson’s in­discreet remark, “Always remember I am still young enough to be P.M. for another  five  years after 1974-75” ‘.78  Just  ten   days  later  he  wrote  to Acheson again, ‘I am sitting writing this in bed at 7.30 am in a hotel in Reading – where I am a conference of Democratic Party candidates. In the last week I have spent three nights on trains, driving myself about 650 miles on British roads – and can confirm Chesterton’s rolling English roads! And made several – I cannot remember how many – speeches. There are easier ways of earning a living’ . Anticipating the likely date of the general election, he went on, ‘I am pretty sure we will hold in Pembroke. I have one or two other startling possibilities.  When and if they  are nearer to fruition, I will tell you’. In an addendum to this very long letter, Donnelly wrote, ‘An opinion poll with 1,000 sample in a 70,000 electorate in Pembrokeshire says: DD 20,500; Labour 19,800 (cannot be right); Tory 18,800 (about right); Nationalist 2,500 (I’d say a little more drawn from Lab); Liberals 1,650 (man now packed up). Rosemary [Donnelly, his wife], Glyn Rees (my agent) and Peter Hancock  (my President)  all returned unopposed to the Pembrokeshire County Council. Six other Democrat gains locally’ .79

During the June 1970 election campaign Desmond Donnelly gave priority to transport issues, law and order, welfare questions and defence. He caused ripples at Westminster at the beginning of May when he  summoned  a press conference at the House of Commons to demand the appointment of  a new editor of The Times to replace William Rees-Mogg on the grounds that, during recent months, the newspaper  ‘had pursued  policies contrary  to the British national interest ‘. It soon emerged that the real reason for Donnelly’s grouse was that the paper had refused to publish an advertise­ment for the Democratic Party on 15 April without some amendment of  its contents – ‘I think that the editor was imposing censorship, and that this was impertinent’ .80 At around the same time he wrote to Sir Roy Welensky :

Since I wrote life has been one hell of a mad rush. On March 14, when I was speaking at the University of Wales Air Squadron Dinner at St. Athan, I was dragged out to be told by my Intelligence that the General Election was July 2 or 9. And bang on! Since then everything has had to go by the board, including friendships,  almost. . . . I have been getting up at 2, 3 or 4 am. This letter is being written at 6 a.m. Anyway the situation is as follows. I shall hold Pembroke. The tide has turned, definitely. It is my eighth general election as a candidate and ninth if I throw in a by-election too. And I sense it without false optimism. In the country it is going to be a damn close run thing. Wilson could win. Repeat: he may win. The public do not like  Heath.81

Before the end of the month, Welensky, clearly aware of the very real danger that Donnelly might reduce his chances of success in Pembroke­ shire by giving overmuch support to the other Democrat candidates scattered across the country, warned  him kindly,  ‘. . . I sincerely hope you will take my  advice  and  concentrate  on  winning  your  own  seat. You  will of course help your candidates, but  remember  that,  if  you  are  defeated,  it  will be the end of  the  Party  and  I think,  if  this  can  be  avoided,  it  is  vital that  it  should  be’ .82  Soon  it  was  announced  that  the  general  election  was  to take place on 18 June  1970,  and  the  local  press i n  Pembrokeshire revealed that the local contest was ‘neck  and  neck’  and  published  the  following odds on the outcome of the election: Desmond Donnelly 5 to 2; Nicholas Edwards 4 to 5  favourite;  Gordon  Parry  5  to  4;  and  Wynne  Samuel the 100 to 1 outsider. As it was  widely  felt  that  the  traditional Liberal vote  in  the  constituency  had  simply  disintegrated,  those  with  Liberal sympathies were encouraged to vote for their second  choice  can­didate. At the eleventh hour there was a switch in the Liberal candidate.83 Following the withdrawal of  Alan  Coulthard,  the  county  Liberal  Associa­tion first announced that it would  not  be  putting  up  a  candidate  at  the general  election,  but   then   stated   that   they   had   found   a   new   aspirant in  Wynford  Thomas,  a  22-year-old   native   of   Loughor   near   Swansea  who was a law student at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Nationally the election was a presidential style campaign  with  the  person­alities of Harold Wilson and Ted Heath looming large throughout, and the opinion polls  generally  suggested  that  the  Labour  Party  would  be  returned to government with an overall majority of about twenty seats.  The  pre­ election campaign in  remote  Pembrokeshire  had  probably  lasted  longer  than in any other constituency – ever since Desmond Donnelly  had  resigned the Labour whip, been expelled from the party and then formed his own Democratic Party, a series of events which threw the Labour Party  organ­isation in the  county into  ‘disarray,  confusion  and  consternation’.  When Peter Walker, the  shadow  minister  for  housing  and  local  government, spoke at the Masonic Hall, Haverfordwest on 15 May,  shortly  after the  general election had been called, he anticipated ‘one of the dirtiest fought elections in history’ .84 Surprisingly, Desmond Donnelly rarely featured in news bulletins broadcast from London  during  the election  campaign,  and  was  just  occasionally  mentioned  in  passing  as  ‘a  departed  comrade  from  the  Labour  Party’.  This  may  be  explained  by   his  absence  from   London as he campaigned hard within Pembrokeshire and in the other five con­stituencies  where  Democratic Party  candidates were  standing.

Late in the campaign Desmond Donnelly characteristically threw a spanner into the works by announcing dramatically  at an election  press  conference that  he  had  received  a letter of  support  from Edward  du  Cann,  a former chairman  of  the  Conservative  Party,  a  ploy  which  deeply  angered  local Tories and forced du Cann into making a public denial. A little later Donnelly claimed at a Haverfordwest press conference that he had also received a ‘good wishes’ message for his electoral success there from Edward  Heath,  a  claim  which  compelled  the  Conservative  leader  to interrupt an election tour of the West Country in order to send a com­munication to the local press in Pembrokeshire – ‘I have not, at any  time – wished Mr. Donnelly success in the election campaign in Pembroke­shire’. When pressed further, Donnelly retorted that the message had been hand-written by Heath on the back of a menu for a rugby dinner – ‘It was given to a third party whom I am not prepared to name at this stage. When the chips are down, I will produce the man . . . . It’s perfectly true. It’s in his own handwriting’. Following the publication of this story in the local press, a writ alleging libel  was served  by  Desmond  Donnelly  on the  publishers of the Western Telegraph and a further writ alleging slander was served on Nicholas Edwards by Donnelly.85

At around the same time  the  Democratic  Party  published  its  election manifesto which had as its centre-piece  a radical  overhaul  of the  system  of personal taxation and the restitution of some form of national service extending for eighteen months to all young people. A separate Welsh manifesto was devolutionist in tone, advocating ‘far less government from London’ for the Welsh people. 86 Donnelly offered himself for re-election to the electors of Pembrokeshire as a ‘tried and trusted representative for twenty  years’  who  had  played  a  major  role  in  the  establishment  and   expans on of the new county general hospital. Throughout the frenzied campaign  he continued to assail Harold Wilson for the massive increase in the national debt, the recent increases  in personal  taxation,  and his failed policies on  Rhodesia,  South Africa and defence.87

As is well known,  the  Labour  Party  lost  the  June  1970  general  election against all the odds,  a  severe  personal  rebuff  for  Harold  Wilson  who, totally nonplussed and  unprepared,  soon  had  to vacate 10 Downing  Street at  just a  few  hours’ notice.  As  Desmond  Donnelly had often predicted during  the  run-up  to  the  election,  the  next  government  was  to  be  led  by, Edward  H eath, who hecame Conservati ve Prime  Minister for the  first and only  time. One of  the Conservative gains  in  the election  was Pembrokeshire where Nick Edwards won with a relatively small majority of 1231 votes, and the county reverted to the Tories for the first time since 1929. It was precisely the kind of highly marginal constituency which the Conservatives had needed to win in order to form a government in 1970. Although Donnelly won no fewer than 11,824 votes, a substantial total, he was still beaten into third place behind Gordon Parry and was predictably at once accused of having split the Labour vote in the marginal seat and of thus allowing a Conservative victory. 88 None of the other five Democrat candidates in the election had polled a creditable total poll, and it was widely felt that a bold experiment had come to an end with Donnelly’s personal defeat in Pembrokeshire. It could well be argued that Donnelly’s near obsession with bringing down Harold Wilson had meant the end of his own potentially promising political career. Whereas Wilson was, how­ ever, to return to government as Prime Minister in February and October 1974, eventually announcing a sudden retirement from the premiership in March 1976, Desmond Donnelly ‘s subsequent fate was especially sad. Not surprisingly, he realised that his defeat at Pembrokeshire in June 1970 heralded the effective end of his Democratic Party and, as widely anti­ cipated, he made overtures to the Conservative Party. He formally joined the Conservatives, where he had a number of friends, in April 1971, but sadly failed to secure adoption as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the party. Eventually, an intense feeling of political failure, coupled with financial and business pressures, saw him commit suicide on 4 April 1974. Although Nicholas Edwards’s initial return to parliament in June 1970 could perhaps be attributed primarily to the split Labour vote in Pembrokeshire, he subsequently held the constituency until his retirement from parliament in 1987, serving as the secretary of state for Wales during the first two Thatcher administrations. 89

1. See J. Graham Jones, ‘Desmond Donnelly and Pembrokeshire politics, 1964- 70’, Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society, No. 12 (2003), 67-102; and the fuller account available in Allen Layne, ‘Desmond Donnelly ‘, unpublished University of Miami Ph.D. thesis, 2004 .
2. W. Wyatt, Confessions of an Optimist (London, 1985), 295; H. Wilson, The Labour  Government,  1964-1970:  a personal   record  (London,  1971), 102;
B. Pimlott, Harold Wilson (London, 1992), 357-58; K. 0. Morgan , Michael Foot : a Life (London , 2007), 239; M. Jones, Michael Foot  (London,  1994), 288 . See also J . Grimond, Memoirs  (London ,  1979), 218-19.
3. P.  Ziegler, Wilson:  the authorized  life  of  Lord  Wilson of  Rievaulx  (London,  1 993), 2 1 5; The Times, 26 July 1966.
4. Western  Telegraph, 29 June  1967.
5. N ational Library of Wales (hereafter NLW), Pembrokeshire Conservative Assoc i ation Records, file 74, W. E. Austen , Opposition  Whips’ Office, House of Commons, to W. V. Weale, Pembrokeshire Con servative and Unionist Association , Haverfordwest, 27 November 1967.
6. House of Commons Debates, 5th series, vol. 754, cc. 1196-1201  (21 Novem­ber 1967).
7 . The Times, 19 and 29 January 1968. Donnelly ‘s resignation letter to John Silkin , the government  chief  whip, dated 18 January 1 968, was publish in full in The Times,  9 January 1 968.
8. The Times , 20 January 1968. See also ‘Stormy petrel Donnelly is so popular ‘, Western.  Mail, 20 January   1968,  for  a  sympathetic evaluation  of  Donnelly’s local popularity.
9. The Times, 1 February 1 968.

10. The Times, 1 2 February 1968.

11. Western Mail, 9 March  1968.
12. The Times, 22 February and 21 March  1968; Manchester Guardian, 18 March 1968;  B. Castle, The  Castle Diaries,  1964-70 (London ,  1984), 376-77, diary
entry for 21 February  1968.
13. The Times, 21  and 23 March 1968.
14. Minutes of meeting of the Pembrokeshire Constituency Labour Party, 29 March 1 968, cited  in  Layne, op. cit., p. 334.
15. Ibid.
16.  bid .
17. Western Telegraph , 28 February and  14 March 1 968.
18.  Western Telegraph, 2 1 March 1968.
19. .  NLW, Pembrokeshire Conservative Association Records, file 74, draft of  letter in  the hand  of  Desmond  Donnelly  to  local  newspapers [March  l 968]. At the close of the campaign Nicholas Edwards was able to  prove  that  some of  the letters printed  in  the local  press attacking him  and  supporting Donnelly  were in fact penned by Donnelly  and published under false names.
20. The Times, 8 and 10 April 1968.
21. The Times,  18, 25 and  30 April  1968; West  Wales Guardian,  1 8 April  1968.·
22. NLW, Lord Crickhowell Papers 4/1 , scrapbook I, unlabelled press cutting from a local newspaper, letter from Colonel I. M. Fogbound, late 1st Battalion, Pembrokeshire Airborne Regiment.
23. NLW, Lord Crickhowell Papers 4/1, scrapbook I, unlabelled press cuttings.
24. West  Wales Guardian, 5 April  1968. ·

25. The Times, 18 May 1968; NLW, Labour Party Wales Archives, vol. 12, execu- tive committee minutes,  17 J une  1 968.
26. West Wales Guardian, 3 and 31 May 1968; Western Mail, 5 June 1968.
27. The Times, 24 June 1968.
28. The Times, 1 1 , 13 and 15 July 1 968.
29. Western Telegraph, 4 July  1968.
30. NLW, Lord Crickhowell Papers 4/ I, scrapbook I, unlabelled press cuttings.
31. West Wales Guardian, II October 1 968.
32. NLW, Desmond Donnelly Papers, file B22, Report of Secretary & Agent to the AGM of the Pembrokeshire Labour Party, 6 April 1 968
33. NLW, Lord Crickhowell Papers 4/1,  scrapbook  1,  unlabelled  press  cutting from  the  Western Telegraph.
34. West Wales Guardian, 6 September 1968.
35. NLW, Pembrokeshire Conservative Association Records, file 74, W. V. Weale, Pembrokeshire   Conservative   and   Unionist   Association,   Haverfordwest,   to
L. Wolstenholme, 23 September 1968 (copy); Wolstenholme to Weale, 25 Sep­ tember 1968.
36. The outcome of the court case was widely reported in  the  national  press.  See the reports in The Times, 18 October 1 968, Manchester Guardian, 19 October 1968, Daily Telegraph, 19 October 1968, and the Western Mail, 18 October  1968.
37. Western Telegraph, 3 October  1968.
38. Western Telegraph, 1 7 October  1968.
39. NLW, Lord Crickhowell Papers 4/1 , scrapbook I, unlabelled press cuttings.
40. Western  Telegraph,  21  November  1 968;   West  Wales  Guardian,  22   and   29 November and 6 December 1 968; Western Mail, 30 November 1968; NLW, Lord Crickhowell Papers 4/1, scrapbook I, letter from  Edward  Heath  to Nicholas  Edwards , 30 November  1 968.
41. Western Telegraph, 12 December 1 968. 42. Western Telegraph, 26 December   1 968.
43. West Wales Guardian, 20 December 1968. See also the Western Mail, 24 October 1968, and Layne,  op. cit., pp.  349-51 .
44. See the column entitled ‘Echoes’ in the Tenby Observer, 14 February 1969. 45. Letter from F. D. Worvell , Llanychaer, Fishguard, to the Western Telegraph,
23 January 1969.
46. NLW,  Lord Crickhowell  Papers 4/1, scrapbook  2, unlabelled  press   cuttings.
47. Western Telegraph, 6 March  1969; West Wales Guardian, 7 March    1969.
48. NLW, Desmond Donnelly Papers, file A 1041, Donnelly to Sir Roy Welensky, 15 March  1969 (copy).
49. Layne, op. cit., pp. 352-53.
50. West Wales Guardian, 4 April 1969.
51. The Times, 1 April  1969;  Western Telegraph,  3 April  1969.

52.  The  Times, 9  April   1969;  Western  Telegraph,  10 April   1969;  Western Mail, 19 April  1969; R. Crossman, The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, Vol. 3: Secretary
of State for Social Services, 1968-70 (London,  1977), 447, diary entry for  20 April 1969.
53. NLW,  Lord  Crickhowell  Papers 4/1, scrapbook  2, unlabelled  press cutting.
54. The Times, 28 May 1969; Western Telegraph, 8 June  1969;  South  Wales Evening  Post, 2 June  1969; Layne,  op. cit., p.  354.
55. Robert   Skidelsky,   ‘Any   chance  for  Donnelly?’,   Sunday   Telegraph,  8  June 1 969.
56. NLW,  Desmond  Donnelly  Papers, file F63,  unlabelled  press  cutting  from the West  Wales Guardian, [June  1969]; Western Telegraph,  12 June  1969.
57. Daily  Telegraph, 28 August  1969
58. Noted  in  The Times, 22 September  1969.
59. West Wales Guardian,  19 September  1969.
60. See ‘Donnelly satisfied with Democratic vote’ , West Wales Guardian, 31 October 1 969.
61 .  West  Wales Guardian,  I O October  1969; Sentinel , 23 October 1969.
62. Western  Telegraph, 23 October  1969.
63. NLW, Lord  Crickhowell  Papers  4/1 , scrapbook  3, unlabelled  press cutting.
64. Derby Evening Telegraph, 31 December 1969. See also the interesting article by ‘Radar’ in the Lincolnshire Echo, 2 January 1970 – ‘1970 target for Donnelly the Democrat’.
65. West  Wales Guardian, 9 January   1970.
66. The  Times, 27 February  1970.
67. Ibid. See also the report in the  West Wales Guardian, 27 February  1 970, and  the article by  David  Rosser  in the  Western Mail, 27 February  1 970.
68. Western Telegraph,  19 March  1970;  West Wales Guardian, 20 March  1 970.

69. See the  summary  in  the Daily  Mail,  1 6 February  1 970. There are  references, too,  in a number of many  other newspapers  and  journals.
70. West Wales Guardian, 20 February  1970.
71. Western  Telegraph,  19 March 1970.
72. Western Mail,  16 March  1970.
73. Noted  in  The Times, 4 April 1970.
74. Western Telegraph, 16 April  1970.
75. Norwich  Mercury, 24 April  1 970.
76. See the  ‘Cross-bencher’ column  i n  the Sunday  Express, 26 April  1970.
77. NLW, Desmond Donnelly Papers C7, Donnelly’s diary entry,  1 6 April  1970, ‘The  British  General  Election’.
78. NLW, Desmond Donnelly Papers file A 1040, no. 47, Donnelly to Dean Acheson, 16 April  [1970] (copy).
79. NLW, Desmond Donnelly Papers file A 1040, no. 49, Donnelly to Dean Acheson , 26 April  1 970 (copy).

80. The Times, 6 May  1 970. Also reported  in  the South  Wales Argus, 6 May 1970.
81. NLW, Desmond Donnelly Papers, file A l 041 , no. 50, Donnelly to Sir Roy Welensky, 5 May  1970  (copy).
82. Ibid.  no.  52, Welensky  to  Donnelly, 20 May   1 970 (‘Dictated 17.5.70’).
83. Western Telegraph, 2 l May 1970.
84. Ibid.
85. Western Telegraph, 4 June 1970. The letter was quoted in full in the West Wales Guardian, 5 June  1970. Western  Telegraph,  11 and  18 June  1970.
86. The Times, I June 1970; West Wales Guardian, 12 June 1970.
87. Ibid . and further press cuttings in the NLW, Desmond Donnelly  Papers,  file  F70.
88. See D. Butler and  M. Pinto-Duschinsky,  The British  General  Election  of  1970 (London, 1971), 412.
89. See the reflections in N. Crickhowell, Westminster, Wales and Water (Cardiff, 1999).


Public Health Inspections in Pembrokeshire in the Nineteenth Century

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