George Morgan Thomson was born in Stirling, on 16 January 1921, son of James Thomson, a commercial traveller, and his wife Caroline, née Morgan. He grew up in Monifieth, just outside Dundee, and was educated at Grove Academy. He left school at 16 and joined DC Thomson as a trainee journalist (he had no connection with the Thomson publishing family), where he worked as a sub-editor on The Rover and The Dandy and as a reporter for the firm's newspapers. When Dandy editor Albert Barnes joined the Royal Navy in 1940, Thomson edited the comic for nine months, before being called up himself and joining the RAF. He was replaced as editor by John Low, brother of managing editor R. D. Low.

After the war he joined the Glasgow-based socialist weekly Forward as assistant editor, becoming editor in 1948. It moved to London during his editorship, and closed in 1953. He married Grace Jenkins in 1948, and they had two daughters.

He stood for parliament as the Labour Party candidate for Hillhead in 1950, and lost. He became MP for Dundee East in 1952 in a by-election following the death of the sitting MP, and remained in parliament for 20 years. He served in Harold Wilson's government from 1964 to 1970 in various positions, including as Secretary of State for Commondwealth Affairs in 1967-68, overseeing the independence of Rhodesia. After Labour's defeat in 1970 he became shadow Defence Secretary. He resigned in 1972 after the party switched to an anti-EEC policy. Conservative prime minister Edward Heath appointed him to the European Commission in 1973, and he served as Commissioner for the Regions until 1977. In that year's New Year's Honours List he was made Baron Thomson of Monifieth, and he was appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1981. He was chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority from 1981 to 1988, , after which he returned to politics as a spokesman for the Liberal Democrats on broadcasting and European affairs.

Despite health problems in middle age - skin cancer, and a heart attack in his fifties - he remained active into his eighties. He died in London on 3 October 2008.


  • William Rodgers, "Thomson, George Morgan, Baron Thomson of Monifieth (1921–2008)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2012; online edn, Sept 2012, accessed 21 June 2014
  • Steve Holland, George Thomson, Bear Alley, 6 October 2008

Online referenceEdit

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