Sir Ray Powell MP -2002

• Ray Powell, Labour MP for Ogmore since 1979 died suddenly in January 2002, aged 73.

• Born in 1928 in Treorchy, Rhondda, the son of a miner.

Educated at grammar school in Rhondda, through the National Council of Labour Colleges, and at the LSE.

• Member of the Labour Party from 1945, 1977-78 Chairman of the Welsh Labour Party.

• Ray Powell liked fixing things, eg his legendary fixing was the background for the rule changes in the mid ‘80s for major PLP elections. Thereafter balloting has taken place in person, and, for good measure, the rule that no colleague could act as a proxy for more than one other colleague was also introduced. These democratic gains are an abiding legacy to us all – now very much part of the status quo – and very much down to Ray.

• More likely to be remembered with gratitude is Portcullis House. Ray Powell was Chairman of the New Parliamentary Building Committee,1987-97, and kept that project on track through its many ups and downs. Rewarded with a knighthood in 1996.

• Ray would not have minded all of that, he had a mischievous and wicked sense of humour. Ken Livingstone could bear testimony to that. He waited for a desk for over a year.