Hardy, Peter 1931-2003

views updated

HARDY, Peter 1931-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born July 17, 1931, in Wath upon Dearne, South Yorkshire, England; died of cancer, December 16, 2003, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. Politician, educator, and author. Hardy was a longtime Member of Parliament who gained particular attention for his backing of wildlife and environmental legislation. After serving in the Royal Air Force from 1949 to 1951, he attended the University of London for two years and earned a teaching certificate there in 1962. His career began in education; he worked as the schoolmaster of Mexborough County Secondary School in South Yorkshire from 1953 to 1970. Running for Parliament, he gained the Rother Valley seat in 1970 and won attention early on for convincing the government to lift a ban on allowing guide dogs for the blind to enter the House building. Soon, however, his main calling was made evident as he began to work for environmental causes, beginning with the 1973 Badgers Act, which helped protect the native animal from those who would use it for fur and other purposes. Two years later, he championed the Conservation of Wild Creatures and Plants Act to help protect England's hedgerows habitat; in 1976 he proposed an amendment for the Protection of Birds Bill. Further legislation proposed by Hardy included laws to fine people who harmed wildlife and a 1979 bill to protect deer. The early 1980s saw Hardy defending the Wildlife and Countryside Bill, which was intended to protect wildlife habitat. When the government redrew district lines in 1983, Hardy successfully won the Wentworth seat, where he continued to serve until 1997. While in office, he was appointed to several important offices and committees, including secretary of state for Environment from 1974 to 1976, foreign secretary from 1976 to 1979, chair of the Energy Committee from 1974 to 1992, and chair of the Environmental Committee from 1986 to 1990. In addition to his concern for the environment, he was a supporter of labor, especially miners, having come from a long line of miners himself. From 1983 to 1996 he was chair of the Labour Party delegation to the Council of Europe and the Western European Union, and he also worked as vice-chair of the Socialist group on the Council of Europe. After being made Baron Hardy of Wath, Hardy left the House of Commons to join the House of Lords, where he served until his death, continuing to champion environmental causes as sponsor of the Waste Management Bill of 1998 and as chair of the All-Party Conservation Committee from 2000 to 2002. In his private life, he also was a patron of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. In addition, Hardy chaired the Defence Studies Group for the House of Lords, beginning in 2001. Hardy was the author of Lifetime of Badgers (1975) and a contributor to Creative Writing (1968).



Daily Telegraph (London, England), December 19, 2003.

Guardian (London, England), December 18, 2003, p. 29.

Independent (London, England), December 18, 2003, p. 20.

Times (London, England), December 22, 2003.