Judith Hart

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The Baroness Hart of South Lanark

Chairman of the Labour Party
In office
24 November 1981 – 24 November 1982
Leader Michael Foot
Preceded by Alex Kitson
Succeeded by Sam McCluskie
Minister for Overseas Development
In office
21 February 1977 – 3 May 1979
Prime Minister James Callaghan
Preceded by Frank Judd
Succeeded by Neil Marten
In office
7 April 1974 – 10 June 1975
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Richard Wood
Succeeded by Reg Prentice
In office
6 October 1969 – 19 June 1970
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Reg Prentice
Succeeded by Richard Wood
Shadow Minister for Overseas Development
In office
4 May 1979 – 8 December 1980
Leader James Callaghan
Preceded by Richard Luce
Succeeded by Frank McElhone
In office
19 June 1970 – 7 April 1974
Leader Harold Wilson
Preceded by Bernard Braine
Succeeded by Richard Wood
In office
1 November 1968 – 6 October 1969
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by The Lord Shackleton
Succeeded by Harold Lever
Minister of Social Security
In office
26 July 1967 – 1 November 1968
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Margaret Herbison
Succeeded by Richard Crossman (as Secretary of State for Social Services)
Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs
In office
6 April 1966 – 26 July 1967
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Cledwyn Hughes
Succeeded by George Thomas
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
20 October 1964 – 6 April 1966
Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Preceded by Anthony Stodart
Succeeded by Bruce Millan
Member of Parliament
for Clydesdale
Lanark (1959–1983)
In office
8 October 1959 – 11 June 1987
Preceded by Patrick Francis Maitland
Succeeded by Jimmy Hood
Personal details
Constance Mary Ridehalgh

(1924-09-18)18 September 1924
Burnley, Lancashire, England, UK
Died 8 December 1991(1991-12-08) (aged 67)
London, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Anthony Bernard Hart (1946-19??)
Alma mater London School of Economics
University of London
Occupation Politician

Constance Mary Hart, Baroness Hart of South Lanark, DBE, PC (née Ridehalgh; 18 September 1924 – 8 December 1991), known as Judith Hart, was a British Labour Party politician. She served as a government minister during the 1960s and 1970s before entering the House of Lords in 1988.

Early life and education

She was educated at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, the London School of Economics and the University of London. She adopted the name Judith aged twelve. She married Anthony Bernard Hart in 1946. She was a lecturer at a teacher training college. She was a member of the Fabian Society and a branch secretary of the Association of Scientific Workers.

Political career

After joining the Labour Party aged 18, Hart was unsuccessful Labour candidate for Bournemouth West in 1951, and Aberdeen South in 1955. She was elected as member for Lanark in 1959, holding the seat until 1983. Thereafter she sat for Clydesdale until 1987.

She held ministerial office as joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland from 1964 to 1966, Minister of State, Commonwealth Office (1966–1967), Minister of Social Security (1967–68), Paymaster-General (with a seat in the Cabinet) from 1968 to 1969, and as Minister of Overseas Development from 1969–70, 1974–75 and 1977-79. In so doing, she became the fifth woman ever to have been included in a government cabinet in the history of Britain.

In opposition, Hart was front bench spokesman on overseas aid from 1979 to 1980. Govt Co-Chairman of the Women's National Commission, 1969-70.[citation needed] Within the Labour Party she was a member of the National Executive Committee (1969–83), serving as Vice-Chairman from 1980–81, and as Chairman from 1981-82.

She was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1967 and appointed a DBE in 1979.[1]

On 8 February 1988, she was created a life peer, as Baroness Hart of South Lanark, of Lanark in the County of Lanark.[2]


She died of cancer at the Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, London, in 1991, aged 67.

Titles and honours

  • Miss Judith Ridehalgh (1936–1946)
  • Mrs Judith Hart (1946–1959)
  • Judith Hart MP (1959–1967)
  • The Rt. Hon. Judith Hart MP (1967–1979)
  • The Rt. Hon. Dame Judith Hart DBE MP (1979–1988)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Hart of South Lanark DBE PC (1988–1991)


  1. ^ "No. 47868". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1979. p. 7600.
  2. ^ "No. 51238". The London Gazette. 11 February 1988. p. 1593.


External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Judith Hart
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patrick Maitland
Member of Parliament for Lanark
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Clydesdale
Succeeded by
Jimmy Hood
Political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Herbison
Minister of Social Security
Succeeded by
Richard Crossman
as Secretary of State for Social Services
Preceded by
The Lord Shackleton
Succeeded by
Harold Lever
Preceded by
Reg Prentice
Minister of Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Richard Wood
Preceded by
Richard Wood
Minister for Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Reg Prentice
Preceded by
Frank Judd
Minister for Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Neil Marten
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alex Kitson
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Sam McCluskie
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