Alexander Harris
Member of Parliament
Harold Grenfell
Born 21st June 1930
Constituency Islington South and Finsbury
Political Party Labour
Religion Agnostic
Spouse Francesca Arimales

The Rt. Hon. Alexander Harris MP PC BA MA is the Labour Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury. He served as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons from 1970 until 1972, and recently served as Home Secretary and Government Chief Whip.

Early Life[]

Alexander Harris was born to David Harris and Sophie Harris (nee Noble) on 21st June in Clerkenwell in the London Borough of Islington. His father was a teacher and his mother worked as a political organiser. He was first educated at the local primary school, Clerkenwell Parochial, from 1934 until 1941. He then went on to secondary school at Central Foundation Boys' School, and studied there from 1941 until 1948.

He chose to go to University at Queen Mary College, London. He chose first to study History, and gained a BA in 1951. He then progressed on to Politics, which he moved north to study at Durham. He gained an MA (Hons) in 1954.

He began work at the Fabian Society the following year, as Deputy Director of Home Affairs Policy Development. He met his future wife, Francesca Arimales, who at the time worked in the Foreign Affairs Policy Development Department. He served as Deputy Director until 1957 when he was promoted to Director, and a further promotion in 1960 saw him as Deputy Director of Policy of the Fabian Society.

He was also active in the Constiuency Labour Party of the constituency of Islington South West, and was selected as Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Islington South West in time for the 1964 general election. He won with a majority of 9,566.

Parliamentary Career[]

Alex was quickly promoted in the Wilson Government. First, he was promoted to the position of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Technology under the trade union leader Frank Cousins in 1965. He served in that position for a year until after the 1966 general election (at which he was returned with an increased majority of 10,303). He was then promoted to the position of Minister of State for Home Affairs under Roy Jenkins, where he assisted Jenkins in his reforming agenda, including the homosexuality and abortion bills. He also served under Jim Callaghan from November 1967.

In 1968, he was promoted to the position of Minister of State at the Foreign Office under Lachlan McKenzie. He had responsibility for relations with Europe and continued in Government attempts for Britain to join the EEC (this was achieved in the Heath Government of 1970-1974). When Labour lost office two years later, he was elected to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, despite opposition from the left of the party, particularly over his stance on Europe. He resigned in 1972 to vote for the European Communities Act which was presented by the Heath Government, and has remained on the backbenches ever since, though he has been largely loyal to the Labour leadership.

He supported Peter Redmond in the Labour leadership election in March 1974. He was appointed Secretary of State for the Home Department by Mr Redmond after he became Prime Minister. He resigned from the Government after the election of Jamie McMahon.


His interests are history, politics, London architecture, hill-walking, classical music, Europe and murder mysteries. He has been a member of the Fabian Society since 1950, a member of the Ramblers' Association since 1956 and a Member of the European Movement since 1954.


He married Francesca Arimales in 1955. They have a son, Arthur Harold Fabian, and a daughter, Claudia Meredith Eva.

Division Record[]

Voted for Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965

Voted for Abortion Act 1967

Voted for Sexual Offences Act 1967

Voted for Theatres Act 1968

Voted for Decimal Currency Act 1969

Voted for Divorce (Reform) Act 1969

Voted for Representation of the People Act 1969

Voted for Equal Pay Act 1970

Voted for European Communities Act 1972

Preceded by:
Oliver Silvester
Government Chief Whip
Jun 1974-Present
Succeeded by:
Lachlan McKenzie
Preceded by:
Robert Carr
Secretary of State for the Home Department
Mar 1974-Present
Succeeded by:
Dilan Winters
Preceded by:
new constituency
Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury
Feb 1974-Present
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Goronwy Roberts
Minister of State, Foreign Office
Succeeded by:
Joseph Godber
Preceded by:
Alice Bacon
Minister of State, Home Office
Succeeded by:
Lord Stonham
Preceded by:
Lord Snow
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Technology
Succeeded by:
Peter Shore
Preceded by:
Albert Evans
Member of Parliament for Islington South West
1964-Feb 1974
Succeeded by:
constituency abolished