William Geraint Oliver Morgan (Geraint) – MP for Denbigh

William Geraint Oliver Morgan was born in the Llandeilo area of Carmarthenshire.  His father was a dairy farmer. The family moved to Lathbury, nr. Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. Morgan was educated at Bedford School,  He attended  University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.   He was an accomplished linguist being bi-lingual, from an early age, in Welsh and English.  He then added French at school, German and Italian later on.

At the outbreak of WW II he enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment in 1939 and was commissioned in the Royal Marines. He landed on Gold Beach on D-Day.  At the end of the war he was a Major.  In 1947 he became a barrister and ultimately in 1971, a QC.

Geraint Morgan unsuccessfully contested the Merioneth seat in 1951 and Huyton in 1955.  He was elected Member of Parliament for Denbigh from 1959 and remained the Member for Denbigh until the seat was abolished in boundary changes  in 1983.

The Denbigh seat covered a wide geography that included Denbigh and Ruthin; Abergele and PensarnColwyn Bay and ColwynLlangollen, and Llanrwst; and the  LlangollenLlanrwstLlansillinRuthinSt Asaph (Denbigh), and Uwchaled, part of Chirk, and the part of Glan Conway not in Caernarvonshire.  So the lower part of the Conwy Valley had Geraint Morgan as their MP. 

He was noted for very rarely making any speeches in the House of Commons during his period as a member. His obituary in The Independent newspaper read :-

"Although not the most frequent of speakers in the Commons, his commitment to the North Wales constituency was unswerving - and totally fair to those he represented. He answered letters from Welsh-speakers in Welsh - and in his own meticulous handwriting. There were triumphs too small to register on the Westminster scale which were of importance to his constituents. Many householders living near the A55 - a road designated "a highway of opportunity" - thanked him for the compensation they received when the road was upgraded."

 

His attendance record was also very poor.  He usually attended to vote or attend debates of the Welsh Grand Committee.  Between 1965 and 1973 he did not ask a single oral question in the House of Commons. It is reported that for many years he refused to let the Tory whips know his daytime telephone number.  However, he was regarded regarded as a hard working constituency MP, always taking a keen interest in agricultural matters. He held regular constituency surgeries,  in Denbigh's historic eighteenth—century town hall.

However, he was often to be seen at local marts and even as late as 2007-10 whilst Guto Bebb was campaigning in the new constituency of Aberconwy, Guto was often asked whether he would be as regular a mart attender as Geraint Morgan.  It seems that a good local presence is more important to many than being a regular speaker in the House of Commons!

 

Geraint Morgan did not always follow the whips,  After his election he refused to support the party over the Profumo Affair.   Also, in 1972, he voted against British entry to the Common Market.  This was contrary to party policy, since British entry to the Common Market, at that time, for the Conservative leadership and notably for the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was a central aim.

He served as chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary Party, 1965—66 and he also served on the Welsh Select Committee. He was a member of the Lord Chancellor's Committee (Payne Committee) on the Recovery of Judgement Debts, 1965—69, and was a member of the Investiture Committee of the Prince of Wales, 1968—69. He was a fierce opponent of CND and a supporter of capital punishment. A native Welsh speaker, he was received into the Gorsedd of Bards in 1969

At the 1983 general election he attempted to be selected for the new seat of Clwyd North West, which was largely based on his old Denbigh constituency, with the addition of parts of the Flint constituency, but found himself in a heated selection battle between Sir Anthony Meyer and Miss Beata Brookes, the Member of the European Parliament for North Wales.  Geraint Morgan's application to be included was rejected.  Contemporary reports seemed to suggest that this was despite (his having considerable support from the floor of the public meeting.

In the general election of 1983, he lent support to the Plaid Cymru candidate. In 1984, deprived of his seat, he resigned from the Conservatives and joined the Liberal Party. In the 1989 European elections Morgan urged support for Dafydd Elis Thomas, the Plaid Cymru candidate. Yet he never formally joined Plaid Cymru.

After leaving Parliament, Geraint Morgan continued to practise law as a Crown Court Recorder.

Geraint Morgan was married in 1957 to Joan Maxwell.  They had two sons and two daughters.  He died in Barrow in Furness in 1995.