Archer, Peter Kingsley, MP, Lord Archer of Sandwell

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Labour politician, barrister and judge, born at Wednesbury on 20 November 1926, the son of Cyril Kingsley Archer, a tool make. He was educated at Wednesbury High School, the London School of Economics and University College London, of which he became a Fellow in 1978. With his Methodist background and under the influence of Donald Soper he became a Christian Socialist. In 1944 he became a Bevin Boy working in the pits and then in 1952 was called to the Bar by Grays Inn, beginning in practice in the Oxford Circuit. and taking silk in 1971.

He joined the Labour Party in 1947 and in 1954 the Society of labour Lawyers of which he was Chairman from 1971 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1993. He unsuccessfully contented Hendon South in 1959 and Brierley Hill in October 1964, but was elected for Tipton and Rowley Regis in 1966. Following boundary changes he represented Warley West from 1974 until retirement from Parliament in 1992, when he became a Life Peer as Lord Archer of Sandwell. He served as Solicitor General from 1974 to 1979 and was subsequently Opposition spokesman on Legal Affairs, 1979-1982, Trade, 1982-3, and Northern Ireland, 1983-7. Amongst other positions held, he was Chair of Amnesty International (British Section), 1970-4, and President of Uniting for Peace, One World Trust and Methodist Homes for the Aged. He wrote a number of books relating to the law, including The Queen's Courts (1956), Communism and the Law (1963) and The International Protection of Human Rights (1967). In 2005 he gave the Beckly Lecture, on 'John Wesley's Parish: Politics and Theology in a Globalised World'.

He died on 14 June 2012.

  • Methodist Recorder, 3 August 2012