Hugh Parr Scanlon was born on 26th October 1913 in Melbourne, Australia, to parents who had emigrated from
He joined his union, the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU), there and went on to work at the Metropolitan-Vickers engineering plant at
He was elected AEU divisional organiser in 1947 but left the Party in 1954, seemingly with few differences at stake. He continued to operate within the Communist-led leadership of
With TGWU leader, Jack Jones, he was widely known as being major obstacles to right-wing ideas to restrict the power of the unions. Labour prime minister Harold Wilson, once famously told him to "get your tanks off my lawn".
When Labour returned to office in 1974, Scanlon and Jones acted as go-betweens for Labour, communicating between Labour's leadership and the unions. They were the prime movers within the union movement of the Social Contract which introduced strict wage controls and limits on strike action. This role led to Scanlon (and Jones also) being targeted by the British security forces from 1966 to 1977, when Scanlon retired.
In 1975, he was refused security clearance to join the then state-owned British Gas Board, although this was later relented upon. Two years later, he was prevented from becoming chairman of British Shipbuilders because MI5 advised that he should not see documents marked "confidential" or above. Even so, to great surprise, he accepted appointment to the House of Lords in 1979, taking the title Baron Scanlon, of Davyhulme in the
Sources include: Guardian 28th January 2004