Lord Lever of Manchester

BM September 1995

Lord Lever of Manchester, PC, former Labour MP and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1974-79, died in London on 6 August, aged 81. He was born on January 15, 1914.

Harold Lever was a distinguished parliamen­tarian, who also made his mark in the bridge world, representing both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in their annu­al match. The side he played on usually won.

As an MP he irked his colleagues by the infrequency of his appearances in the division lobby. In 1962, the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting finally resolved to cable him to the effect that, unless he attended more regularly in the future, he would lose the party whip. This telegram crossed with one which Harold, in ignorance, was sending at the identical time. This read: ‘Honeymooning in Caribbean. Back in two weeks.’ On receiving it the party meet­ing just dissolved into laughter.

In the days when the Labour government held a very slender majority, it is claimed that he once missed an important vote because he was in the middle of a hand when the division bell sounded.

He leaves his widow Diane and their three daughters, and a daughter from his second mar­riage.