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James Callaghan (Election '78)

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James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office:

April 5, 1976 - November 10, 1981

Preceded by: Harold Wilson
Succeeded by: Denis Healey
Foreign Secretary
In office:

March 5, 1974 - April 5, 1976

Preceded by: Alec Douglas-Home
Succeeded by: Tony Crosland
Home Secretary
In office:

November 30, 1967 - June 19, 1970

Preceded by: Roy Jenkins
Succeeded by: Reginald Maudling
Biography
Born:

March 27, 1912, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Died March 26, 2005, Ringmer, United Kingdom
Nationality: British
Political party: Labour
Spouse:

Audrey Callaghan

Children: Margaret, Julie, Michael
Alma mater:

None

Occupation: Politician, Trade Unionist
Religion: None (Raised Baptist)

James Callaghan was a British Labour politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1976 - 1981). Callaghan is the only British politician in history to serve in all four of the great offices of state, Chancellor (1964 - 1967), Home Secretary (1967 - 1970) and Foreign Secretary (1974 - 1976).

When Harold Wilson suddenly resigned in March 1976, Callaghan won the leadership election to succeed him. Labour had already lost its majority in the commons by the time he became Prime Minister, and further by-election defeats and defections forced Callaghan to negotiate with other parties.

From March 1977 until September 1978 Callaghan remained in office due to a Lib-Lab pact with the liberals, whereby the liberal party granted the government confidence and supply in exchange for policy concessions. The agreement initially seemed fruitful, but disagreements between the two parties eventually brought the pact to an end. 

Callaghan subsequently called a snap general election in October 1978, which saw labour returned with a small majority.

The March 1979 scottish devolution referendum was narrowly approved, but not by the designated 40% of scots. The ensuing crisis caused the SNP to table a motion of no confidence, which was defeated. However the political climate in Scotland was heavily in favour of a Scottish assembly, and an amended Scotland Bill was passed through parliament in the spring of 1981, with the first Scottish Assembly election being held in May 1981.

He also reformed the trade union movement, introducing the Hand in Hand policy of encouraging trade union representatives on company boards as well as the requirement of a ballot before a nationwide strike, the policy has been credited with avoiding further trade union discontent through the 1980's.

In October 1981 Callaghan resigned the premiership, saying it was time for a younger man to take the office. He stood down from parliament at the 1987 general election, but remained a prominent Labour elder statesman until his death.



Early life

Early Political Career

Prime Minister

First Government 1976 - 1978

1978 general election

Second Government 1978 - 1981

The Labour government was returned at the October 1978 general election, with a working majority.


By this time the revenues from North Sea Oil were beginning to have a major impact on the British economy, allowing the government to increase spending on the NHS and modernise British Rail as well as reducing the national defecit (although it would not be until 1985 that a budget surplus would be achieved).

In September 1981 Callaghan unexpectedly announced he would resign.


Later life

Callaghan stepped down from parliament at the 1987 election.


Cabinets

Cabinet, April 1976 - September 1976

Prime Minister - James Callaghan

Chancellor of the Exchequer - Denis Healey

Foreign Secretary - Tony Crosland

Home Secretary - Roy Jenkins

Defence Secretary - Roy Mason

Education and Science Secretary - Fred Mulley

Employment Secretary - Albert Booth

Energy Secretary - Tony Benn

Environment Secretary - Peter Shore

Social Services Secretary - David Ennals

Industry Secretary - Eric Varley

Overseas Development Minister - Reg Prentice

Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection - Shirley Williams

Secretary of State for Trade - Edmund Dell

Cabinet September 1976 - November 1978

Prime Minister - James Callaghan

Chancellor of the Exchequer - Denis Healey

Foreign Secretary - Tony Crosland

Home Secretary - Merlyn Rees

Secretary of State for Defence - Frederick Mulley

Secretary of State for Education - Shirley Williams

Secretary of State for Energy - Tony Benn

Secretary of State for Industry - Eric Varley

Cabinet November 1978 - 1980

Cabinet 1980 - November 1981

Prime Minister - James Callaghan

Chancellor of the Exchequer - Denis Healey

Foreign Secretary - David Owen

Home Secretary - Merlyn Rees

Secretary of State for Defence - Bill Rodgers

Secretary of State for Education and Science - Neil Kinnock

Secretary of State for Industry - Shirley Williams

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