Baroness Lena Jeger 1915-2007

Former Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras South born 1915 died 26 February 2007.

The daughter of a postman, Lena Jeger graduated in English and French from Birkbeck College. When war broke out she was recruited by the Ministry of Information where her talent for writing made her a valuable asset. Later she also spent a period of time at the British Embassy in Moscow. From 1949-1954 she was a journalist on the Manchester Guardian and returned in 1964 and continued to contribute until as recently as 2003.

Lena, was elected as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras 1953. She held onto the seat in the 1955 general election but lost in 1959. Lena returned in 1964 until 1979 when Jim Callaghan made her a Life Peer. She accepted with wry good-humour the appointment of Chairman of the Government’s Working Party on Sewage Disposal in 1969-70. Actually, in spite of ribaldry, she made a massive contribution to a very real problem.

Lena was also a member of Labour’s NEC for many years and Chaired the 1980 annual conference in Blackpool, her own personal address, winning resounding applause. It was a difficult situation which she handled superbly, using sheer charm to get over potential explosions. As always the “officials” were a little worried that the Chair may relax over a drink too many and despatched women organisers Helen Liddell and Jean Corston to “mind her”, at one point they lost her and found her in the bar resplendent in a blue evening gown ordering a large gin and tonic.

Lena is survived by her sister Eileen.

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