BORN MANCHESTER, DECEMBER 26, 1935. DIED CHALFONT ST PETER, NOVEMBER 3, 2015, AGED 79
WH E N H A R O L D WI L S O N c a me to power in 1964 as Labour’s first Prime Minister for 13 years, his party’s victorious MPs included a 29 year-old barrister from Manchester called Paul Bernard Rose.
Born into a Communist Jewish family (an uncle was killed in the Spanish Civil War) Rose was the youngest member of the House of Commons and served as MP for Manchester Blackley for 15 years. He served briefly on the Government frontbenchasanaidetoTransportSecretary Barbara Castle and after 1970 spoke for the Labour opposition on industrial relations. He was also a local Manchester historian. Paul Rose’s parents were Arthur and Nora Rose; his older brother is the architect Edgar Rose.
Paul Rose was Educated at Bury Grammar School and Manchester University. Called to the bar in 1958 he later lectured at the Royal College of Advanced Technology, Salford.
Politicsengagedhimfromayoungage. He became chairman of the Manchester Federation of Young Socialists, chairman of theCampaignforDemocracyinUlster, and of the Labour Party Home Office Group. As a pro-European he was vicechairof theLabourCampaignforEurope, and a member of the Council of Europe. He was also on the National Council of Labour Friends of Israel.
Although he regarded himself as Jewish only in secular terms, he was proud of his Jewish heritage, which helped to inspire his commitment to progressive causes. At school, he briefly joined the socialist-Zionist group,
Paul Rose celebrates his victory in the Manchester Blackley constituency in the February 1974 General Election Hashomer Hatzair. In 1957, he married Eve Lapu a Hungarian Holocaust survivor whom he met at the age of 15 in Paris. Their marriage lasted 58 years and they had three children.
As a politician, his independent character was evident in 1969, when he joined the 69 Labour Party rebels, led by Roy Jenkins, voting for Edward Heath’s terms for entry into the European Common Market.
As a successful barrister, and seasoned Manchester politician, he specialised in Home Office issues, but his dream of ministerial entry into that Department was never realised. After a failed bid in the 1980s to re-enter parliament as a Social Democrat, he went back to the law, as a barrister, deputy circuit judge and part time immigration and political asylum adjudicator before being appointed coroner for Croydon.
Before leaving parliament in 1979, Rose had made his mark as a powerful and independent-minded back-bencher, supporting and occasionally initiating left-wing and libertarian causes both in the UK and abroad.
On the domestic front, he fought against Colin Jordan’s National Front, and abroad he castigated the Greek Colonels and Ian Smith’s white Rhodesia government, as well as the American involvement in Vietnam.
After the 1967 Six-Day War, he joined the Labour Friends of Israel’s parliamentary group, alongside other leftists such as Eric Heffer and Raymond Fletcher, with whom he co-authored a pro-Israel pamphlet.
This was despite the fact that in 1956, when still at university, he had led the city-wide Manchester protests against the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt. It was in that year, too, following Russia’s invasion of Hungary, that he shed his admiration for the Soviet Union.
Northern Ireland is the issue for which he will be best remembered. Through his contacts with Manchester’s Irish community, he first learned of the depth of Ulster’s anti-Catholic discrimination and, five years before the province finally exploded in violence, was urgently imploring the Wilson government to intervene. Downing Street refused to confront Protestant and Unionist wrath and Rose remained a voice in the wilderness until the storm broke in 1969.
Whether Whitehall could have prevented the renewed Irish troubles at that time is open to debate. However, Rose’s knowledge about Irish grievances is beyond question as is evident in some of the six books which he wrote or co-edited, notably his History of the Fenians in England and The Manchester Martyrs.
His other big disappointment occurred as a result of his research into gullible people drawn into pseudoreligious cults. He was a member and patron of British Humanist Association and founder-chairman of anti-cult organisation Family Action Information and Rescue. He was successfully sued by the Moonies — the powerful Unification Church controlled by Dr Sun Myung Moon of South Korea — and complained ever after about his lack of practical support from his political friends.
Rose was a fanatical and lifelong Manchester United supporter and chaired the North West Sports Council He is survived by his wife Eve and their three children.