Shropshire Star

Labour former attorney general Lord Morris of Aberavon dies aged 91

Sir Tony Blair said his ‘extraordinary career, being a minister under three different Labour leaders, was unprecedented’.

Lord Morris (PA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labour government
Then prime minister Harold Wilson with members of his government including Lord Morris of Aberavon at 10 Downing Street, before a dinner to mark his departure from the Labour leadership (Archive/PA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I pay fond and heartfelt tribute to him.”

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

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

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