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Final years: Baroness Jennie Lee

(page 1 of 3)
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Audio: House of Lords
Duration: 00:01:14
Date: 1982
A campaign leaflet for Jennie Lee, the Labour candidate for the constituency of Cannock in the 1970 election. After 25 years as Cannock's MP, Jennie lost her seat.
Image : Jennie Lee election campaign leaflet
Date: 1970

By 1970 Jennie had secured the creation of The Open University and had been successful in promoting the Arts throughout the country. She had already announced that she wanted to step down as Minister after the 1970 general election but unfortunately, she also lost her Cannock seat after holding it for 25 years. You can read two newspaper articles about Jennie's shock defeat here.

Within the archive collection there are a number of items relating to the 1970 election – including the campaign leaflet for Jennie on this page. The Conservative campaign documents, also held in the archive, point to why Jennie may have been defeated – they argued that a younger and more active Member of Parliament was needed to represent the constituency. Jennie’s reputation had suffered as she visited the area less and less because of her ministerial duties.

Following her defeat in Cannock there was immediate speculation that Jennie would become a Life Peer. She was introduced to the House of Lords as Baroness Lee of Asheridge on 10 November 1970. She went to the Lords, she announced, “to keep an eye on the Arts and The Open University”.

Jennie was introduced to the House of Lords by Lady Llewellyn Davies, an old friend, and Lord Goodman, Chairman of the Arts Council. A party was held in her honour at Hednesford Civic Hall a few days earlier, during which Jennie said she would tackle her job in the Lords with the same spirit as always. 

In the audio clip on this page, recorded for the BBC in 1982, Jennie talks about entering the House of Lords.

Final years: Baroness Jennie Lee (page 1 of 3)