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The life and times of Cyril Lakin

Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021
The story of Cyril Lakin, a former literary editor of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times during the 1930s, BBC broadcaster during the Blitz, and wartime Member of Parliament, sheds light on wider themes in the story of modern Wales.

Cyril Lakin on the campaign trail.

In this OpenTalk event, Open University Senior Lecturer in Politics Dr Geoff Andrews spoke to Dr Daryl Leeworthy of Swansea University about the life and times of Cyril Lakin – newspaper editor, broadcaster and Welsh MP. 

The event was hosted by The Open University in Wales to celebrate the launch of a new book: Smooth Operator, the Life and Times of Cyril Lakin, Editor, Broadcaster and Politician written by Senior Lecturer in Politics, Dr Geoff Andrews. The book has been published by Parthian as part of their Modern Wales series. 

Brought up in humble origins in Barry at the time of its transformation into a port town built on the docks, Lakin’s rise was made possible by the patronage of the Welsh press barons, Lords Camrose and Kemsley. These figures exercised as much power as Beaverbrook and Rothermere in the interwar period while they were also at the heart of the crucial appeasement debate, involving Lakin in an ill-advised meeting with Hitler. Returning to Barry as its MP in 1942, Lakin renewed his connections to his hometown while continuing as a broadcaster. His life was lived across different worlds, from Wales to Westminster and across journalism, the BBC, and politics.

This event took place on Thursday, 21 October 2021. Watch the discussion below:




Dr Geoff Andrews is a historian and senior lecturer in The Open University’s politics department. Dr Andrews specialises in the history of political ideas and movements. His previous books include biographies of James Klugmann and John Cairncross.

Dr Daryl Leeworthy is the Rhys Davies Trust Research Fellow at Swansea University. His biography of novelist and broadcaster Gwyn Thomas is out next year in Parthian's Modern Wales Series.

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