Lord Anthony Jacobs
BORN NOVEMBER 13, 1931. DIED FLORIDA, USA, JUNE 21, 2014, AGED 82
FOR OVER 20 years as president of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, David Anthony Jacobs combined a highly successful business career spanning 33 years, with his top level involvement with the Liberal Democrats. During this period he was chairman of three major companies; Nig Securities Group (19571972); the Tricoville Group (1961-1990) and The British School of Motoring (1973-1990).
Baron Jacobs joined the Liberal Party in 1972, serving on both the Housing and Economic Committees ,and was co-author of Help for the First Time Buyer. He became Economics and Taxation Adviser to the Liberal Party from 1973 to 1978, working closely with John Pardoe MP. In 1974, he contested the parliamentary constituency of Watford in the February and October General Elections, and increased the Liberal share of the vote from 6% to 24%.
In 1984, he was elected Joint Treasurer of the Party and was returned unopposed each year until he stepped down in 1987. He was a keen supporter of the merger of the Liberal Party and SDP and served as Chairman of the Party in England and Vice-President of the Federal Party. In 1988, he received a Knighthood. On October 18, 1997 he was created a life peer as Baron Jacobs of Belgravia in the City of Westminster. He took the Lib Dem whip until January 2011, when he resigned on the grounds of opposition to the party’s policies on taxation. He sat in the House of Lords as a non-affiliated member until his death and from 1999 to 2002 was a member of the House of Lords Works of Art Committee.
The son of Ridley and Ella Jacobs, he was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and the University of London. He joined the family business, Nig Securities Group in the mid 1950s and became chairman from 1957 to 1972, later selling it to Ozalid, a public company, in the late 60s. In 1954 he married Evelyn Felicity Patchett.
He left the board of Ozalid in 1971, based on his desire to retire at the age of 40, but his business drive led him to continue to pursue other interests in the field. Fashion and food were among the businesses in which he invested. They included the fast-food potato firm Spudulike.He bought BSM in 1973, attracted by the fact that it was a brand name, and founded the fashion firm Tricoville in 1961.
He bought Jeeves of Belfravia, an upmarket dry-cleaning company, which he expanded, but sold to Sketchley, dry-cleaners in 1987.
It was these business interests in driving schools and fast foods that led to his wealth being estimated at £128 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List of 2008. It ranked him 614th.
Lord Jacobs used his extensive business experience in the House to challenge the Government on a range of issues. Anthony was both a passionate advocate for Israel and a passionate Liberal and it was therefore no surprise that his steadfast support of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel was a key part of his political and personal advocacy. Under Monroe (now Lord) Palmer’s chairmanship, Anthony Jacobs acted for over 20 years as LDFI’s President. He was also Chairman of the Board of Governors of Haifa University in Israel from 1992 to 2001.
Anthony is survived by his wife Evelyn, son Simon and daughter Nicola and five grandchildren.