Will Edwards -2007

Will Edwards was Labour MP for Merioneth from 1966 to 1974. Will Edwards died in October 2007. During his eight years representing the rural constituency of Merioneth, in north-west Wales, 1966-1974, Will Edwards was a devoted constituency MP and campaigner for Welsh causes and institutions.

Will Edwards was born in Anglesey in 1938, the son of a tenant farmer and a seamstress. He attended Amlwch Grammar School and Sir Thomas Jones’ Comprehensive School. He then studied Law at Liverpool University.

Will was elected Merioneth’s MP at the relatively young age of 28, on the retirement of T.W. Jones (later Lord Maelor), at the 1966 general election and was quickly spotted as a young talent in his early Westminster days and became PPS to the Anglesey MP Cledwyn Hughes, Secretary of State for Wales. When Labour went into opposition in 1970, Will joined George Thomas as one of Labour’s spokesmen on Wales.

In 1973, Heath’s Tory government tried to get rid of the Cambrian Coast Railway, which ran from Pwllheli and Aberystwyth, connecting the NW Wales coast to the Midlands and London. Will Edwards was a founding member of the Cambrian Coastline Action Group, giving evidence to the public inquiry, and the fact that the Cambrian Coast Railway still operates today is a tribute to his political talents and tenacity.

With his political career curtailed at the age of 38 in the bitter election of February 1974, in which he lost his Merioneth seat to Plaid, Will returned to legal practice. He attempted to regain his seat in the subsequent election of November 1974, but lost.

After the election of 1979, Will Edwards secured nomination as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for his native Anglesey. He was disappointed with Labour’s move to the left under Michael Foot and opposed the adoption of unilateral nuclear disarmament and withdrawal from the EEC. He felt that he could not campaign for these policies, so he resigned his candidacy in 1982. But he was not tempted to join the SDP.

In his later years he gave much encouragement and advice to Labour politicians in north-east Wales, where he had settled. He is survived by his wife Eleri, a son and three daughters.