Wayne David’s new book about one of his predecessors as the Member of Parliament for Caerphilly, Morgan Jones, has been published.
Morgan Jones was the Labour Member of Parliament for Caerphilly from 1921 until his premature death in 1939. As a pacifist, he opposed the First World War and went to prison for his beliefs. He became the first conscientious objector to be elected to Parliament when he won the Caerphilly by-election in 1921.
Morgan Jones was a strong advocate of devolution and was a fervent Welsh patriot. He served as an Education Minister in the Labour Governments of 1924 and 1929-31 and also spoke for the Labour Party on foreign affairs in the 1930s.
During the 1930s, the former MP for Caerphilly came to believe that fascist aggression in Europe could only be halted if free nations were prepared to take defensive military action.
At the launch event in Speaker’s House in the Houses of Parliament, Wayne David was joined by his Parliamentary colleagues from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as members of Morgan Jones’ family. Guests heard from Hilary Benn MP, who has written the foreword to the book, Meg Hillier MP, the current Chair of the Public Accounts Committee – a role that Morgan Jones fulfilled in the 1930s – Cllr Dave Poole, the Leader of Caerphilly Council, and Nick Sheaff, Morgan Jones’ grandson.
Following the event in Speaker’s House, launch events were also held in Cardiff Bay and in the Caerphilly Visitor’s Centre.
Speaking about his new book, Wayne David said, “In December 2014 the Speaker of the House of Commons. John Bercow, decided to hold a series of lectures to commemorate the First World War. In order to have balance, he asked me to give a lecture on the first conscientious objector to be elected to Parliament – Morgan Jones. In preparing for the lecture, I undertook some basic primary research and soon I realised what a fascinating man Morgan Jones had been. The lecture I gave turned into a paper, then the paper turned into a pamphlet, then the pamphlet turned into this book.
“Morgan Jones was a man who was totally dedicated to the wellbeing of his constituents and he was a man of principle. He was also a man who was prepared to be pragmatic, because he recognised that with democracy you sometimes have to make compromises to achieve anything.But at the same time he always reverted back to his principles to make sure that whatever policy he was involved in was going in the right direction.”
Morgan Jones: Man of Conscience is published by Welsh Academic Press and copies can be purchased through their website: www.ashleydrake.cymru