He was born on 21 March 1890 at Rishton, Lancs. He left the Wesleyan Day School at 13 to become a cotton weaver and at 21 became President of the Weavers Union. He was rejected for the UM ministry. From 1938 to 1952 he was Labour MP for Farnworth, Lancs, served under Ernest Bevin in the Ministry of Labour 1941-45 and became Minister of Works 1945-47. As Ellen Wilkinson's successor at the Ministry of Education, 1947-51, his experience on the Lancashire County Council and as President of the Association of Education Committees stood him in good stead in implementing the 1944 Education Act in the face of post-war stringencies. As both local preacher and politician he was dedicated to the gospel of 'evangelical socialism'. After an operation for cancer, he died at Golders Green, London on 22 September 1952.