Donnelly, Desmond

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Donnelly, Desmond

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Desmond Louis Donnelly, MP, (1920-74), politician, was born in India. He was educated at the Bembridge School, Isle of Wight, and served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. After the War, he contested various parliamentary seats, and was elected to the House of Commons as the Labour MP for Pembrokeshire in February 1950. Initially a follower of Aneurin Bevan, he later joined the Gaitskellite camp within the Labour Party. He travelled extensively in the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe. He developed an anti-Soviet stance and opposed the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He supported the Common Market. He was critical of the 1964 Labour government, and eventually resigned the Labour whip and was expelled from the Labour Party. In 1967 he set up his own United Democratic Party, whose policies included abolition of the Welfare State, a form of national service and far-reaching changes to the tax system. His new party unsuccessfully contested five seats in the general election of June 1970 and Donnelly was himself defeated in Pembrokeshire. He abandoned his new party, and joined the Conservative Party in 1971. He suffered severe clinical depression during the closing months of his life and was found dead on 4 April 1974. He was a prolific writer and among his works are The March Wind (1959) and Struggle for the World (London: Collins, 1965), and corresponded widely. He owned a notebook belonging to John Wynford Philipps, 1st Viscount St Davids (1860-1938), Liberal MP for Mid-Lanark, 1888-92, and Liberal MP for Pembrokeshire, 1898-1908, containing Pembrokeshire historical material.

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