Hugh Scanlon
Hugh Parr Scanlon, Baron Scanlon (26 October 1913 – 27 January 2004) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...


Scanlon was born in Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 to parents who had emigrated from Britain. His mother brought him to Britain at the age of two after she was widowed.

He attended Stretford
Stretford is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. Lying on flat ground between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, it is to the southwest of Manchester city centre, south-southwest of Salford and northeast of Altrincham...

 Elementary School in Stretford
Stretford is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. Lying on flat ground between the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, it is to the southwest of Manchester city centre, south-southwest of Salford and northeast of Altrincham...

 near Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, which he left at the age of 11 to become an apprentice instrument maker
Scientific instrument
A scientific instrument can be any type of equipment, machine, apparatus or device as is specifically designed, constructed and often, through trial and error, ingeniously refined to apply utmost efficiency in the utilization of well proven physical principle, relationship or technology to...

 at a local engineering firm where he first joined his union, the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU). He then worked at the Metropolitan-Vickers
Metropolitan-Vickers, Metrovick, or Metrovicks, was a British heavy electrical engineering company of the early-to-mid 20th century formerly known as British Westinghouse. Highly diversified, they were particularly well known for their industrial electrical equipment such as generators, steam...

 engineering plant at Trafford Park
Trafford Park
Trafford Park is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. Located opposite Salford Quays, on the southern side of the Manchester Ship Canal, it is west-southwest of Manchester city centre, and north of Stretford. Until the late 19th century it was the...

 where he became a shop steward, before attaining the position of convener for the plant. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
The Communist Party of Great Britain was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.-Formation:...

 in 1937 following the events of the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 and made use of its networks and organising skills to rise through the union, becoming a district official in 1947.

He left the Party in 1954 but continued as a "broad left
Broad left
Broad Left is a coalition of left members, usually involving independents, members of the Labour Party, and members of organised revolutionary leftist movements within a trade union. Several groups are described by the term....

" candidate within the union - winning the leadership in 1968. Scanlon and TGWU leader Jack Jones
Jack Jones (trade union leader)
James Larkin Jones, CH, MBE , known as Jack Jones, was a British trade union leader and General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union.-Early life:...

 were known by the press as "The Terrible Twins" for their opposition to both Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 and Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 attempts to restrict the power of the unions - Labour prime minister Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 once famously telling him to "get your tanks off my lawn."

When Labour returned to office in 1974, Scanlon and Jones acted as go-betweens for Labour, communicating Labour's demands back and forth to Congress House
Congress House
Congress House is the headquarters of the Trades Union Congress , a British organisation that represents most of the UK's trade unions....

. They were the prime movers within the union movement of the Social Contract
Social Contract (Britain)
The Social Contract is a term used to describe policy by the Labour government of Harold Wilson in 1970s Britain.In return for the repeal of 1971 Industrial Relations Act, food subsides and a freeze on rent increase, the TUC would be able to persuade its members to cooperate in a programme of...

 which introduced strict wage controls and limits on strike action. This culminated in the 1978/79 Winter of Discontent
Winter of Discontent
The "Winter of Discontent" is an expression, popularised by the British media, referring to the winter of 1978–79 in the United Kingdom, during which there were widespread strikes by local authority trade unions demanding larger pay rises for their members, because the Labour government of...

, which was followed by the election of the Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, in 1979.

Scanlon was also opposed to Britain's membership in the EEC.

Scanlon's political beliefs led to him being effectively blacklisted by the British security service from 1966 to 1977, it emerged years later.

In 1977, he was prevented from becoming chairman of British Shipbuilders
British Shipbuilders
British Shipbuilders Corporation was a public corporation that owned and managed the shipbuilding industry in England and Scotland from 1977 and through the 1980s...

 because MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 advised that he should not see documents marked "confidential" or above. Two years earlier, he was refused security clearance to join the British Gas
British Gas plc
British Gas plc was formerly the monopoly gas supplier and is a private sector in the United Kingdom.- History :In the early 1900s the gas market in the United Kingdom was mainly run by county councils and small private firms...

 Board, but was later appointed after his files were examined.

He was elevated to the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 in 1979, taking the title Baron Scanlon, of Davyhulme
Davyhulme is a locality within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, England. Historically part of Lancashire, it is contiguous with the town of Urmston....

 in the County of Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.6 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the...

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