Queen Mary historian appointed to Lords

08:00 10 October 2010

Professor Peter Hennessy of Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Peter Hennessy of Queen Mary, University of London


A LEADING authority on contemporary British history who has taught generations of students at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus has been elevated to the House of Lords.

Professor Peter Hennessy, has been appointed as a non-political peer, and will sit as a cross-bencher.

He said: “I’m terribly pleased and honoured.I hope I can help the House of Lords a bit on constitutional matters. I’ll certainly give it my best shot.”

Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary where he helped set up the influential Mile End Group which hosts public lectures on contemporary British history, focusing on Whitehall and politics.He is also a Fellow of the British Academy. He has written a number of books including Never Again: Britain 1945-51, The Secret State, The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution, Cabinet and Whitehall and won the Orwell Prize for political writing in 2007 for Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties.

Before joining the School of History in 1992, he was a journalist for 20 years with spells on The Times as a leader writer and Whitehall correspondent, for the Financial Times as its lobby correspondent at Westminster, and as a columnist on The Independent. He was also a regular presenter of the BBC Radio 4 ‘Analysis programme’. Professor Hennessy co-founded the Institute of Contemporary British History in 1986 and won the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

His appointment was announced by the Appointments Commission, which is a non-statutory advisory body set up by the Prime Minister to make recommendations on merit for non-party-political peerages.

Queen Mary’s Principal, Professor Simon Gaskell said: “Peter Hennessy’s elevation to the peerage will be enthusiastically celebrated within Queen Mary and much more widely.

“His establishment and inspiration of the Mile End Group has provided the College with an activity that combines rigorous academic thinking with attention to the most critical issues of the day. His many friends within the College will join with me in offering our warmest congratulations.”

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