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James Callaghan: 1968

James Callaghan (1912-2005) is the only Parliamentarian to have the honour of holding the offices of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister. The tenure as Home Secretary from November 1967 to June 1970 was preceded by the libertarian stewardships of Frank Soskice and Roy Jenkins who were trailblazers in areas such as capital punishment, decriminalisation of homosexuality and abortion laws. Jenkins had stressed the importance of previous racial discrimination legislation being extended and he promoted the ethos of equal opportunities for all. The spring of 1968, saw both Enoch Powell's infamous ‘Rivers of Blood' speech and the new Race Relations Bill being presented to Parliament. Callaghan's addressed his fellow members with an uncompromising idealism to the virtues of creating a more integrated society. The bill was made law, but this work was undermined, when in the same year he passed the Commonwealth Immigrants Act that tightened entry controls into the UK.

James Callaghan: Home Secretary



Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, PUD/18.34