Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Baron Stoddart of Swindon 1926-2020

 _. Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a life peer, died 14 November, 2020, aged 94.

David Leonard Stoddart was born 4 May 1926. He was a British politician who served as Member of Parliament for Swindon from 1970 to 1983, and as a life peer in the House of Lords from 1983 to his death in 2020. He served as a Labour peer from 1983 to 2002, when he was expelled from the Labour benches, after which he sat as an Independent Labour peer until his death.

Stoddart was a member of the County Borough Council of Reading from 1954 to 1972 and the Leader of the Council from 1967 to 1972.  He was the Labour candidate for Newbury in 1959 and 1964, and narrowly lost at Swindon in a by-election in 1969.

Stoddart became the Labour Member of Parliament for Swindon in 1970, but in 1983 he lost his seat to the Conservative Simon Coombs. Stoddart was a government whip from 1975 to 1978, PPC to the Housing Minister 1974–75 and Front Bench opposition spokesman on Trade and Industry.

Stoddart was raised to the peerage as a life peer on 14 September 1983 taking the title Baron Stoddart of Swindon, of Reading in the Royal County of Berkshire. He was Chief Front Bench spokesman on energy 1983–1988 and served as House of Lords Whip during the same period.

He was expelled from the Labour benches in the House of Lords in 2002 for backing a Socialist Alliance candidate in the 2001 general election, an action he took because he strongly opposed the parachuting of Shaun Woodward, a defector from the Conservative Party, into the safe Labour seat of St Helens South.

Stoddart was for many years the Chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain, which campaigns for the United Kingdom to end its membership of the European Union, a position he held from 1985 until May 2007. In 2016, he expressed his support for the upcoming EU referendum, urging withdrawal from the European Union.


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