Douglas Jay, Baron Jay

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Jay
President of the Board of Trade
In office
18 October 1964 – 29 August 1967
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Edward Heath (Secretary of State for Trade, Industry and Regional Development)
Succeeded by Anthony Crosland
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
23 February 1950 – 30 October 1951
Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Preceded by Glenvil Hall
Succeeded by John Boyd-Carpenter
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
In office
13 November 1947 – 23 February 1950
Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by John Edwards
Member of Parliament
for Battersea North
In office
25 July 1946 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Francis Douglas
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Personal details
Born Douglas Patrick Thomas Jay
(1907-03-23)March 23, 1907
Died March 6, 1996(1996-03-06) (aged 88)

Douglas Patrick Thomas Jay, Baron Jay, PC (23 March 1907 – 6 March 1996) was a British Labour Party politician.

Life and career

Educated at Winchester College[1] and New College, Oxford, Jay won the Chancellor's English Essay in 1927 and gained a First in Literae Humaniores ('Greats') in 1929. [2] He was a Fellow of All Souls between 1930 and 1937. His early career was as an economics journalist working for The Times 1929-33, The Economist 1933-37, and the Daily Herald 1937-41, then as a civil servant in the Ministry of Supply and Board of Trade, from 1943 as personal assistant to Hugh Dalton.

Jay was elected member of Parliament for Battersea North at a by-election in July 1946,[3] and held the seat until the constituency was abolished for the 1983 general election. Alongside Evan Durbin and Hugh Gaitskell, he brought the thinking of John Maynard Keynes to the Labour Party, especially in relation to price determination. Later, his views somewhat mellowed, as he became influenced by the successful operation of rationing during the war. He served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury from 1947–1950, Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1950–1951 and President of the Board of Trade from 1964 until being sacked in 1967. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1951.

In The Socialist Case in 1937 he had written: ‘in the case of nutrition and health, just as in the case of education, the gentleman in Whitehall really does know better what is good for people than the people know themselves.’ This statement was mercilessly exploited by the Conservatives and won him long-lasting notoriety; it was often misquoted as ‘the man in Whitehall knows best’, which was, as Jay often protested, exactly the opposite of his general conclusion.

He was opposed to the UK's entry into the European Economic Community and campaigned for a 'no' vote in the 1975 referendum.

Jay was created a life peer as Baron Jay, of Battersea in Greater London, on 8 October 1987.[4]

His first wife was the councillor Peggy Jay and their son is the economist Peter Jay, who married (and later divorced) Margaret Jay, daughter of James Callaghan, whose premiership Baron Jay had served under. His second wife had been one of his assistant private secretaries at the Board of Trade.

Notes and references

  1. Adrian Wooldridge (27 April 2006). Measuring the Mind: Education and Psychology in England C.1860-c.1990. Cambridge University Press. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-521-02618-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Oxford University Calendar 1932, pp. 273, 488
  3. Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 3. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The London Gazette: no. 51090. p. 12667. 13 October 1987.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Francis Douglas
Member of Parliament for Battersea North
constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
(newly created position)
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
John Edwards
Preceded by
Glenvil Hall
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
John Boyd-Carpenter
Preceded by
Edward Heath
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Anthony Crosland