Ted Rowlands, Baron Rowlands

This article is about the Welsh politician. For the CNN newsman, see Ted Rowlands (newscaster).
"Edward Rowlands" redirects here. For the Australian cricketer, see Edward Rowlands (cricketer).
The Right Honourable
The Lord Rowlands
Member of Parliament
for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Merthyr Tydfil (1972–1983)
In office
13 April 1972  7 June 2001
Preceded by S. O. Davies
Succeeded by Dai Havard
Member of Parliament
for Cardiff North
In office
31 March 1966  18 June 1970
Preceded by Donald Box
Succeeded by Michael Roberts
Personal details
Born (1940-01-23) 23 January 1940
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater King's College London

Edward Rowlands, Baron Rowlands, CBE (born 23 January 1940) is a Welsh politician, who served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament for over thirty years and as a junior minister in the 1960s and 1970s.


He attended Rhondda Grammar School and Wirral Grammar School, and then King's College London where he obtained a BA in History in 1962.

Political career

Rowlands was first elected to the Commons at the 1966 general election as Member of Parliament for Cardiff North, but lost his seat at the 1970 election. He was elected to represent Merthyr Tydfil at the 1972 by-election called after the death of the long-standing MP S. O. Davies. Rowlands served as Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil until the constituency boundaries were redrawn and renamed for the 1983 general election, when he was returned for the new Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency. He was returned at three further elections before he stepped down at the 2001 general election.

He had served as a junior minister under in Harold Wilson's governments, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Welsh Office from 1969 to 1970, and again from 1974 to 1975, when he was appointed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From 1976, under James Callaghan's premiership, he was Minister of State at the Foreign Office until Labour was defeated at the 1979 general election.

In a debate on the Falklands War on 3 April 1982, Rowlands revealed that the British were reading Argentine diplomatic traffic. Rowlands was criticised (but not prosecuted as per parliamentary privilege) for revealing this intelligence source, as the likely result of his disclosure was that the Argentinians would secure their systems and the intelligence would dry up.

Argentine embassies used the same, top of the line, Swiss Crypto AG machine systems as their armed forces, so this was the precise equivalent of publicly announcing, during World War II, that the Allies had broken the Enigma system used by the Nazis. It is unlikely we shall ever know how much damage this betrayal of trust did to national security, but if anyone else than an MP had given the information to the Argentines they would have been prosecuted.[1]

He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2002 Birthday Honours,[2] and on 28 June 2004 was created a life peer, as Baron Rowlands, of Merthyr Tydfil and of Rhymney in the County of Mid-Glamorgan.[3] In the House of Lords, he is a member of the Constitution Committee.

Lord Rowlands sat on the Richard Commission which reported on 31 March 2004 on whether the National Assembly for Wales should have additional legislative powers.


  1. Bincheno, Hugh: Razor's Edge: The Unofficial History of the Falklands War, page 121. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006. ISBN 978-0-297-84633-8
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56595. p. 8. 15 June 2002.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 57342. p. 8203. 1 July 2004.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Donald Box
Member of Parliament for Cardiff North
Succeeded by
Michael Roberts
Preceded by
S. O. Davies
Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Succeeded by
Dai Havard
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