Leonard James Callaghan Baron Callaghan of Cardiff

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Leonard James Callaghan Callaghan of Cardiff, Baron, 1912–2005, British statesman. He was first elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1945. As chancellor of the exchequer (1964–67), he introduced extremely controversial taxation policies, including employment taxes; he resigned when he was forced to accept devaluation of the pound. Prime Minister Harold Wilson then appointed him home secretary (1967–70), and in that post he ordered British troops into Northern Ireland to deal with the rising violence there. Callaghan also served as foreign secretary (1974–76). He succeeded Wilson when the latter resigned as prime minister in 1976. Callaghan was by nature a moderate man, but his government was plagued by inflation, unemployment, and its inability to restrain trade unions' wage demands, and foundered after a series of paralyzing labor strikes in the winter of 1978–79. In the elections later in 1979, the Labour party lost to the Conservatives, led by Margaret Thatcher. Callaghan resigned as party leader in 1980 and was created a life peer in 1987.

See his autobiography Time and Chance (1987); biography by B. Donoughue, Prime Minister (1987).

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Callaghan, (Leonard) James, Baron (1912– ) British statesman, prime minister (1976–79). Callaghan entered Parliament in 1945, and succeeded Harold Wilson as Labour Party leader in 1976. He is the only prime minister in British history to have held all three major offices of state: chancellor of the exchequer (1964–67), home secretary (1967–70) and foreign secretary (1974–76). Callaghan also has the dubious distinction of being only the second post-war prime minister never to have won a general election. His tenure was marked by delicate negotiations with David Steel in the Lib-Lab Pact, and strife with the trade unions which culminated in the ‘winter of discontent’. He was defeated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 general election and became a life peer in 1987.