Joan Lestor

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The Baroness Lestor of Eccles
Joan Lestor, Baroness Lestor of Eccles.jpg
Shadow Minister for Overseas Development
In office
20 October 1994 – 25 July 1996
LeaderTony Blair
Preceded byTom Clarke
Succeeded byClare Short
Shadow Spokesperson for Children and Families
In office
2 November 1989 – 20 October 1994
LeaderNeil Kinnock
John Smith
Chair of the Labour Party
In office
7 October 1977 – 6 October 1978
LeaderJames Callaghan
Preceded byJohn Chalmers
Succeeded byFrank Allaun
Member of Parliament
for Eccles
In office
11 June 1987 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byLewis Carter-Jones
Succeeded byIan Stewart
Member of Parliament
for Eton and Slough
In office
31 March 1966 – 9 June 1983
Preceded byAnthony Meyer
Succeeded byConstituency Abolished
Personal details
Born13 November 1931
Died27 March 1998 (aged 66)
Political partyLabour
Other political
Socialist Party
Alma materUniversity of London

Joan Lestor, Baroness Lestor of Eccles (13 November 1931 – 27 March 1998) was a British Labour politician.

Early life[edit]

Lestor was educated at Blaenavon Secondary School, Monmouth; William Morris High School, Walthamstow and the University of London, she became a nursery school teacher and a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, but resigned from the latter over the Turner Controversy. She became a councillor in 1958 on the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth and later the London Borough of Wandsworth, she served on London County Council, losing in Lewisham West at the 1961 election, but winning a by-election to represent Wandsworth Central from 1962 until 1964.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Lestor contested Lewisham West in 1964 and was elected Member of Parliament for Eton and Slough in 1966.

She was briefly a junior minister from 1969–70 with responsibility for nursery education. In March 1974 she became the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and in June 1975 moved back to Education as Under-Secretary of State, for Education and Science. In March 1976 she resigned over cuts.

Lestor was one of the founding editors of anti-fascist monthly, Searchlight, though that magazine had only a tenuous connection to the current publication.

After boundary changes in 1983, Lestor contested the new constituency of Slough but was defeated by the Conservative candidate John Watts. Neil Kinnock, who became leader of the Labour Party shortly after the election said he was "heartbroken" by Lestor's defeat.[1] Lestor blamed the SDP for her defeat.[2] No longer an MP, Lestor worked for the World Development Movement, campaigning for child welfare and setting up a unit to investigate child abuse, including sexual abuse, an area neglected by mainstream politicians at the time.[3]

She was returned for Eccles in 1987, and held this seat until 1997, she served in the shadow cabinet between 1989 and 1996 firstly as Shadow Spokesperson for Children and Families and subsequently as Shadow Minister for Overseas Development. She resigned on 25 July 1996 after announcing that she was not seeking re-election at the next election.

House of Lords[edit]

On 4 June 1997, Lestor was created a life peer as Baroness Lestor of Eccles, of Tooting Bec in the London Borough of Wandsworth,[4] nine months before her death from motor neuron disease.

Styles of Address[edit]

  • 1931-66: Miss Joan Lestor
  • 1966-83: Miss Joan Lestor MP
  • 1983-87: Miss Joan Lestor
  • 1987-97: Miss Joan Lestor MP
  • 1997-98: The Baroness Lestor of Eccles of Tooting Bec


  1. ^ "Home before midnight. Thatcher strolls back to Number 10". Glasgow Herald. 10 June 1983. Retrieved 25 February 2017 – via Google News.
  2. ^ Reid, Harry (10 June 1983). "Benn ousted after 33 years". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2017 – via Google News.
  3. ^ Jad Adams, ‘Lestor, Joan, Baroness Lestor of Eccles (1927–1998)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  4. ^ "No. 54793". The London Gazette. 13 June 1997. p. 6907.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anthony Meyer
Member of Parliament for Eton and Slough
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Lewis Carter-Jones
Member of Parliament for Eccles
Succeeded by
Ian Stewart
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Chalmers
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Frank Allaun