Denis Healey


Biography of Denis Healey

Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (born 30 August 1917) is a retired British Labour politician, who served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970 and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 to 1979.

Healey was born in Mottingham, London, but moved with his family to Keighley in the West Riding of Yorkshire when he was five. His middle name is in honour of Winston Churchill.

Healey was one of three siblings. His father was an engineer who worked his way up from humble origins studying at night school. His paternal grandfather was a tailor from Enniskillen in Ireland. Healey was educated at Bradford Grammar School. In 1936 he won an exhibition to Balliol College, Oxford, to read Greats where he was involved in Labour politics, although he was not active in the Oxford Union Society. At Oxford Healey joined the Communist Party in 1937 during the Great Terror but left in 1940 after the fall of France. Also at Oxford, Healey met future Conservative Prime Minister Teddy Heath (as he was then known), whom he succeeded as president of Balliol College Junior Common Room and who was to be a lifelong friend and political rival. Healey achieved a double first for his degree, awarded in 1940.

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