John Roper, Baron Roper

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The Lord Roper

Lord Roper 2014.png
House of Lords Chief Whip, Liberal Democrats
In office
7 June 2001 – 5 May 2005
LeaderCharles Kennedy
Preceded byJohn Harris, Baron Harris of Greenwich
Succeeded byDavid Shutt, Baron Shutt of Greetland
Director, Institute for Security Studies of Western European Union
In office
April 1990 – September 1995
Chief Whip, Social Democrat Party
In office
26 March 1981 – 9 June 1983
LeaderRoy Jenkins
Preceded byOffice Created
Succeeded byJohn Cartwright
Member of Parliament
for Farnworth
In office
18 June 1970 – 9 June 1983
Preceded byErnest Thornton
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
John Francis Hodgess Roper

(1935-09-10)10 September 1935
Died29 January 2016(2016-01-29) (aged 80)
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Other political
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford; University of Chicago

John Francis Hodgess Roper, Baron Roper PC (10 September 1935 – 29 January 2016),[1] was a British Liberal Democrat politician.

Early life[edit]

Roper was educated at William Hulme's Grammar School (Manchester), Reading School, Magdalen College, Oxford (studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and the University of Chicago,[2] he began his career as an economics lecturer at the University of Manchester.[3]

Political career[edit]

Roper first stood for Parliament for High Peak as a Labour candidate at the 1964 general election, but the Conservative David Walder retained the marginal seat, he was elected Member of Parliament for Farnworth at the 1970 general election.[4] In 1972 he acted as an unofficial whip for pro-European Labour MPs to help pass the Heath government's European Communities Act.[5]

He sat as a Labour Co-operative MP (1970–81) and for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) from 1981 to 1983, when he was also the party's Chief Whip, his Farnworth seat was subsequently abolished, and he contested Worsley in the 1983 general election, finishing third in a three-way marginal.[6]

House of Lords[edit]

On 12 May 2000, he was created a Life peer as Baron Roper, of Thorney Island in the City of Westminster.[7] He was the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Lords until 2005, he was subsequently appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. In 2008, he was elected Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees,[8] he retired from the House of Lords on 23 May 2015.[9]

Stasi allegations[edit]

Roper was accused by author Anthony Glees of having been a Stasi "agent of some influence" during his time at Chatham House.[10][11][12]

Roper rejected the charges and related that he was engaged in building bridges with East Germany in the 1980s as part of a Foreign Office-approved policy of thawing relations. "He was deceived, he says, about the background of an undercover Stasi officer he employed as a research fellow when he was director of studies at Chatham House".[13]

Personal life[edit]

Roper was married to Hope Edwards from 1959 until her death in 2003, she was the daughter of John Edwards, a former Health and Treasury Minister under Clement Attlee. They had one daughter.[14]


  1. ^ "Ex-Liberal Democrat chief whip Lord Roper dies aged 80". BBC. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  2. ^ Hartley-Brewer, Julia; Woodward, Will (31 March 2000). "The new intake - no2". the Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  3. ^ Fitzgerald, Todd (29 January 2016). "Former MP Lord Roper dies following long battle with illness, aged 80". men. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  4. ^ Hartley-Brewer, Julia; Woodward, Will (31 March 2000). "The new intake - no2". the Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Lord Roper obituary", The Guardian, 7 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Lord Roper of Thorney Island". The Times. 23 February 2016. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  7. ^ "No. 55850". The London Gazette. 17 May 2000. p. 5419.
  8. ^ "John Roper". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  9. ^ Profile,; accessed 29 January 2016.
  10. ^ "History on the rack", The Guardian, 5 July 2003.
  11. ^ Hayden B. Peake, "The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf", Central Intelligence Agency, 14 April 2007.
  12. ^ Glees, Anthony (2 February 2004). The Stasi Files: East Germany's Secret Operations Against Britain. Simon & Schuster UK. ISBN 9780743231053.
  13. ^ David Leigh, "The history men fall out over tales of spying, betrayal and buffoonery", The Guardian, 11 June 2003.
  14. ^ "Lord Roper obituary", The Guardian, 7 February 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ernest Thornton
Member of Parliament for Farnworth
Constituency abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
Giles Radice
Treasurer of the Fabian Society
Succeeded by
Brian Abel-Smith