speakers panel ever since 1946, had addressed more than 200 political meetings throughout the length and breadth of the country during the intervening years, and during the winter of 1948-49 had published in the Daily Herald a series of articles defending his party's advocacy of the nationalisation of the iron and steel industry. Narrowly missing the Labour nomination for West Gateshead by only two votes in the spring of 1949, in August he was chosen prospective candidate for remote Pembrokeshire over the heads of a number of native Welshmen. His professional work meant that he was fully sensitive to the need to attract industrial initiatives to the rural areas and he soon endeared himself to the local electorate. The division had been viewed as a 'target seat' by the Labour Party hierarchy ever since 1945 when Lloyd-George had narrowly repelled a powerful Socialist challenge by only 168 votes. Party heavyweights like Prime Minister Clement Attlee, Aneurin Bevan and Jim Griffiths had all addressed political meetings in the county, no effort was spared to increase substantially Labour representation in local government, and the party's county organisation was overhauled and much improved. A deep-rooted, venomous cleavage in the ranks of local Liberals over the active support rendered by Major Lloyd-George to Tory aspirants in a number of divisions had also helped to improve Donnelly's prospects by winning over the support of several disgruntled former radical Liberals. In February 1950 Desmond Donnelly captured Pembrokeshire by a hair's breadth 129 votes, thus becoming, at 29 years of age, the youngest Labour MP in the new House of Commons, and one of the few new Labour MPs in an election which had seen the party ravaged at the polls. The new member, pithily dubbed 'an Englishman with an Irish name sitting for a Welsh seat', was initially viewed as a member of the left- wing Bevanite group within the House of Commons.' Hugh Dalton's biographer has described him as 'a maverick Bevanite who, unknown to left-wing associates, leaked Bevanite secrets to Dalton who passed them on to Gaitskell', while Michael Foot, in his acclaimed biography of Aneurin Bevan, correctly wrote of Donnelly as the 'compulsive informer in our midst who reported our proceedings to Hugh Dalton and thereby to the Whips'.2 Seen by Dalton himself as 'a perfect leak' of Bevanite secrets to the party mainstream, Donnelly travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, grew convinced of the inevitability of German rearmament and
This text was generated automatically from the scanned page and has not been checked. Typical character accuracy is in excess of 99%, but this leaves one error per 100 characters.
The National Library of Wales has created and published this digital version of the journal under a licence granted by the publisher. The material it contains may be used for all purposes while respecting the moral rights of the creators.