James Callaghan: British Prime Minister from 1976-1979

James Callaghan was born in Portsmouth in 1912. From 1927-1936 he was a civil servant, but gave up this post to become a trade union official. He abandoned this too in 1942, volunteering to serve in the Royal Navy, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant.

After the war he joined the Labour Party, and became the MP for Cardiff South in 1945. After a series of minor appointments he became Shadow Chancellor in 1961. When Harold Wilson came to power in 1964 he became full Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post that he held until 19671, when he became Home Secretary. Between 1974 and 1976 he was Foreign Secretary, negotiating Britain's role in the European Community and in 1976 he became Party Leader.

This made him the Prime Minister of Britain. During his three year stint in office he suffered greatly at the hands of the trade unions, who crippled the country through a series of strikes. In March of 1979 there was a vote of no confidence in the Commons, and in the subsequent General Election he lost his position.

He resigned as Party leader that year, but remained in his seat until 1987. Then he was made a life peer, and went to the House of Lords, as Lord Callaghan of Cardiff.

1: Thanks Catchpole

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