Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PROBERT, ARTHUR REGINALD (1909-1975), Labour politician.

He was born at Aberdare in 1909, the son of Albert John Probert, of Penylan Inn, Regents Street, Aberaman, Aberdare, a local publican. He received his education at Aberdare Boys' Grammar School. He began his career as a local government officer for the housing department of the Aberdare UDC in 1928 where he became responsible for inspecting the maintenance and repair work of the housing estates. During World War II he served in the RAFVR and saw active service in Scotland, Germany and Denmark. He was an active member of the TGWU and served as secretary to the Aberdare Trades and Labour Council, 1949-54. He was a member of the executive committee of the Glamorgan Federation of Trades Councils, 1951-54. He was also a member of local employment and old age pensioners' welfare committees.

Following the death of the sitting Labour MP D. Emlyn Thomas, Probert was elected MP for the Aberdare constituency in a by-election in October 1954 and held the seat until his retirement in February 1974. In the 1954 by-election he was opposed by Michael Roberts for the Conservatives and Gwynfor Evans, president of Plaid Cymru since 1945. He was secretary to the Welsh PLP, 1956-59, an opposition whip, November 1959-December 1960, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, 1964-66, and a PPS, 1965-66, to Rt. Hon. Frank Cousins, Minister of Technology. He was also a member of the Speaker's Panel of Chairmen, 1966-74, and was elected to the chair of the Welsh Grand Committee in 1970. He was generally opposed to Hugh Gaitskell's defence policy and he once resigned in protest against the nuclear policy of the Labour Party. He was generally commended for his work as a good constituency MP who held regular surgeries in the division. Conscious of the area's falling population and lack of opportunities for young people, he (together with S. O. Davies, MP for Merthyr Tydfil) pressed successive governments to bring new sources of employment into the constituency. He had married in 1938 Muriel, the daughter of William Taylor of Abercwmboi, Aberdare, and they had two daughters. They lived at Allt Fedw, Abernant, Aberdare. Probert died suddenly at his home on 14 February 1975 and cremated at Llwydcoed Crematorium. He was succeeded by Ioan Evans as the Labour MP for Aberdare.

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • Etholiadau'r Ganrif / Welsh Elections 1885-1997 , Y Lolfa, 1999;
  • Welsh Hustings - 1885-2004 , Dinefwr Publishers Ltd, 2005;
  • Western Mail , 15 February 1975;
  • The Biographical Index of W.W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library).

Author:

Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2008