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Bernard Donoughue

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Bernard Donoughue

Bernard Donoughue, Baron Donoughue of Ashton (born 8 September 1934) is a British politician, academic, businessman and author.[1][2] His autobiography was published in 2003 (revised edition, 2004).

Early life and education

According to his autobiography, Donoughue was born into poverty. He is the son of Thomas Joseph Donoughue.[3] He was educated at Campbell Secondary Modern School and Northampton Grammar School.[4] He then studied at Lincoln College, Oxford,[4] where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1957. He then attended Nuffield College, Oxford, where he graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy[4] in 1963. He was also Heary Fellow at Harvard.[5]


Donoughue was a member of the editorial staff of The Economist in 1959 and 1960. He was senior research officer of the Political and Economic Planning Institute (which became the Policy Studies Institute in 1976[6]) between 1960 and 1963, and senior lecturer, at the London School of Economics (LSE) between 1963 and 1974.[1]

He became head of the Number 10 Policy Unit in 1974, under Prime Minister Harold Wilson.[7] He continued as head under Wilson's successor, James Callaghan, and he held the office until the defeat of the Labour Party in 1979.[8]

From 1979 to 1981, Donoughue was Development Director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, and in 1981 and 1982 assistant editor of The Times until his dismissal by Rupert Murdoch.[9]

He was head of research and investment policy of Grieveson Grant and Co from 1982 to 1986 and head of international research and Director of Kleinwort Grieveson Securities Ltd from 1986 to 1988.[10] Following, Donoughue was executive Vice-Chair of LBI from 1988 to 1991, Director of Towcester Racecourse Ltd from 1992 to 1997 and is an Honorary Fellow of LSE.[11] He was a Visiting Professor of Government at LSE from 2000 to 2011/2012.[12]

Donoughue helped found the British Horse Industry Confederation in 1999[13][14] and was a Consultant Member until 2003.[2] He became Chairman of the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC) when it was founded in 2004 and as of 2013 was still in that role.[15] The SPRC is a non profit organisation operating on a cost recovery basis that "is responsible for the integrity of the starting price (SP). The majority of bets on British horseracing struck with bookmakers in betting shops and other off-course outlets are paid out according to the SP. The job of the Commission is to ensure that the returned price accurately reflects the price available on-course at the off."[15]

Donoughue was also Chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1991, Patron from 1989 to 1995, and has been an Associate since 2000.

House of Lords

On 27 May 1985, he was created a Life Peer as Baron Donoughue of Ashton in the County of Northamptonshire.[2]

He was an Opposition Labour spokesman for Energy, Heritage and Treasury matters from 1991-92.[2] In 1997, Tony Blair appointed him a Junior Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in which role he served until 1999.[2]

Personal life

Donoughue was married to Carol Ruth Goodman from 1959 until their divorce in 1989; they have two sons and two daughters.[16] He married Lady Sarah Berry, widow of Sir Anthony Berry, in 2009.[17]


  • Bernard Donoughue and Janet Alker. Trade Unions in a Changing Society. London: PEP, 1963.
  • Bernard Donoughue. British Politics and the American Revolution: the path to war, 1773-75. London: Macmillan, 1964.
  • W T Rodgers; Bernard Donoughue. The People into Parliament: an illustrated history of the Labour Party. London: Thames and Hudson, 1966.
  • Bernard Donoughue and GW Jones. Herbert Morrison: Portrait of a Politician. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973. ISBN 9780297766056
  • Bernard Donoughue. Prime Minister: Conduct of Policy Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, 1974-79. London: Jonathan Cape, 1987. ISBN 9780224024501
  • Bernard Donoughue. The Heat of the Kitchen: an autobiography. London: Politicos, 2004.
  • Bernard Donoughue. Downing Street Diary: Volume 1 - With Harold Wilson in No. 10. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004. ISBN 0224040227
  • Bernard Donoughue. Downing Street Diary: Volume 2 - With James Callaghan in No. 10. London: Pimlico, 2009. ISBN 1845950941


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