David Candler: Press officer for Harold Wilson

David Candler worked directly for Harold Wilson as a press officer during his days as Prime Minister at No 10, representing the Labour Party's interests as the government pushed policies which caused schisms among Party members.

There were times when Candler had to take a hard line with both sides as members of the government and the Party came to grips with the rapid changes taking place as new ideas were adopted and changes to legislation on wages and conditions were introduced, along with a new economic policy that was to cause deep divisions in some sections of the Party.

Along with others working for the Government and the Labour Party, Candler found his future shaped by the vagaries of local and national election results, something that was to continue throughout his working life. Candler, later a major player in local government, was to find that even that role would be affected by changes in administration.

A lifelong member of the Labour Party, he balanced his political beliefs with a cool, professional approach to press relations. A forthright, unassuming man of great charm, aided by a dry wit, Candler kept life in politics in proportion; hating pomposity, he was never scared of asking difficult questions which helped to remind politicians who they were serving. Many a young journalist or press officer faced by a new theory or rebuttal from Candler, his eyebrow raised as he looked directly at you, withered. Fortunately this was often accompanied by laughter, though he had little time for fools or poseurs.

Describing himself as a democratic socialist, Candler came from a family grounded in socialist and trade unions traditions. His father was a full-time official with the Taylor and Garment Workers Union and his aunt Dame Anne Loughlin, a leader of the union, was the first woman to preside over the TUC's Congress. Many of his family had worked in clothing factories.

Born in Horsforth, Leeds in 1940, he moved with his family to Harpenden aged one. He was educated at St Alban's Grammar School for Boys; realising at an early age that he wanted to be a journalist he left to train at the Luton News. He joined the Labour Party at 17, and when a job came up in the press office at Transport House he seized the opportunity. His boss Percy Clarke had a laid-back, cynical attitude to politics, something David often shared.

There was tension between No 10 and the Party, and in 1968 Candler was moved to Downing Street to work for Wilson. For people like Candler, who hated poverty and believed in social equality, it was a time of great excitement as changes to race relations, education and equal rights were introduced. That ended in 1970 when Labour lost the Election and Candler, like many other bright young Labour people, was thrown out of work. He joined the press office of the National and Local Government Officers Association, moving on to work for groups like the British Tourist Authority and its newly created London Tourist Board.

He was recruited to work for the newly won Labour GLC under Ken Livingstone, joining the Docklands Development Team in 1975, remaining until it was closed down. He returned to work for other GLC departments running press relations and writing speeches, until the GLC was closed down by the Conservative government. He joined Hertsmere Council as head of press until again he was made redundant, and then worked as an adviser to Labour Shadow spokesman Minister Robin Corbett on the Tory Broadcasting Bill.

Baroness Dianne Hayter, former head of the Fabian Society and chair of the Labour Party worked closely with Candler: "Whether at the Labour Party, on Worcester Council, or at No 10 or in running his local Fabian society, David brought together commitment, organisational skills and a deep understanding of people," she said.

After the 1997 Labour win Candler moved to Worcester, where he was elected to the local council. A staunch pro-European, he was involved with the Local Government Group for Europe. He stood down from the council in 2011 to make way for younger people "to replace old stagers like me". He died on his way to a Worcester Community Trust Meeting, retired but active, having lived, as his daughter Jean described, "a way of life consistent with his deeply held view of social equality for all".

David Candler, journalist and press officer: born Leeds 23 August 1940; married Sarah Salaman 1968 (three children); died 13 December 2011.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam