Mikardo, Ian

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MIKARDO, IAN (1908–1993), British politician. One of the most important leaders of the British Labour Party's left wing from the 1940s through the 1980s, Mikardo was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, the son of a tailor for the Royal Navy who had recently emigrated from a town near Warsaw. Mikardo spoke Yiddish at home and was educated at Aria College, a Jewish school in Portsmouth. In the 1930s he acted as a management consultant and was long associated with the Supervisory Staffs Association. Mikardo was elected to Parliament in the Labour landslide of 1945, becoming one of the driving forces of its left wing and working hard for further extensive nationalization and other left-wing goals. He was one of the closest associates of Labour's left-wing leader Aneuran Bevan and of other left-wing figures like Michael Foot. Mikardo lost his seat in 1959, but again became a Member of Parliament in 1964, serving until 1987. While out of Parliament he developed a business trading with the Soviet Union and became a fierce opponent of the Vietnam War. His left-wing views kept him out of any ministerial post, although he was always an influential figure in the Labour Party's internal machinery, serving as chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 1974. Mikardo was also a supporter of the Israeli Labor Party. In his last years, ironically he was criticized by Labour's militants as too moderate. Mikardo wrote an autobiography, Back-bencher (1988).


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[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]