In the general elections of 1964 and 1966, Fred Evans acted as political agent to Ness Edwards, the sitting Labour MP for Caerphilly and he was also organising agent to the Caerphilly CLP, 1962—66. Upon Edwards's death in 1968, Evans was elected to parliament as the Labour MP for the division in a by—election in which the Labour majority of more than 21,000 votes was dramatically slashed to less than 2,000 by a powerful challenge from Dr Phil Williams (Plaid Cymru). He was re—elected in 1970 and 1974 (twice). In the last election which he fought, Evans had built up the Labour majority to more than 13,000 votes. He proved to be a dedicated, solid backbencher and totally loyal to the Wilson governments. It was said that he had turned down the offer of a ministerial position from Harold Wilson in order to stay in regular contact with his constituents. Always uppermost in his mind was the welfare of others, including his fellow MPs. He thus urged that their salaries, which in his view were totally inadequate, should be tied to a specific career grade of the Civil Service. He also served as a member of a number of parliamentary committees, among them estimates, statutory instruments, and also served as the treasurer of the British—DDR Parliamentary Group and secretary of the Anglo—Libyan Parliamentary Group. He was elected chairman of the Parliamentary Bills Committee in 1975 and chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 1977. He was a virulent anti—devolutionist. He retired from parliament at the general election of 1979. He married on 13 September 1939 Mary Katharine, the daughter of Joseph and Cecilia O'Marah. She had already predeceased him in 1981, and they had a son and two daughters. They made their home at Dilwyn Avenue, Hengoed. Fred Evans died at his home on 13 April 1987. His successor as Labour MP for Caerphilly was Ednyfed Hudson Davies.
Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2008