Austin Mitchell Biography – Austin Mitchell Wiki
Austin Mitchell (born Austin Vernon Mitchell) was a British academic and Labour Party politician and journalist. He worked as a journalist for Yorkshire Television before being elected a member of Parliament (MP) for Great Grimsby in the 1977 by-election. He held the seat until 30 March 2015.
Mitchell was born in Bradford and educated at Woodbottom council school and Bingley grammar school. He studied history at Manchester University and obtained a doctorate at Nuffield College, Oxford, where his specialism – which might have surprised his future colleagues – was Whig politicians of the early 19th century. He then spent eight years as a history and politics lecturer at the universities of Otago (1959-63) and Canterbury (1963-67), New Zealand, before returning to Nuffield (1967-69).
Mitchell worked as an on-screen reporter for Yorkshire Television (1969-71), then, briefly, with the BBC (1972-73) before returning as a presenter to Yorkshire TV (1973-77). He famously interviewed Brian Clough in 1974 on the day he had been sacked as Leeds United’s manager after just 44 days in charge, together with his predecessor Don Revie.
He sacrificed his full-time TV career to become the high-profile Labour candidate in Grimsby in the high-profile 1977 byelection that followed the sudden death of the Labour foreign secretary Anthony Crosland. He won by 520 votes.
He retired at the 2015 general election as his health began to fail – he had had heart surgery after collapsing in the Commons in 2013 – saying that, although he could still ask smart questions in the public accounts committee, he could no longer hear the answers. In 2001 he was appointed ONZM (New Zealand Order of Merit), and in 2018 he published a memoir, Confessions of a Political Maverick.
Austin Mitchell Age
Austin Vernon Mitchell was born on 19 September 1934, in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. He died on 18 August 2021, in Leeds, England. He was 86.
Austin Mitchell Wife
Austin Mitchell married Dorothea Patricia Jackson in 1959 and divorced in 1966. The couple had two daughters. He married New Zealand television producer and writer Linda McDougall in 1976. They had two children, a son and a daughter.
Austin Mitchell Children
Austin Mitchell had four children – two daughters, Susan Ngaio and Nicola Rewa, with his first wife Dorothea Patricia Jackson, and a son, Jonathan Vernon Mitchell, and a daughter, Hannah Kezia Mitchell, with his second wife Linda McDougall.
Austin Mitchell Family
Mitchell was the elder son of Richard Vernon Mitchell and Ethel Mary Butterworth. He is survived by his second wife, the journalist and author Linda McDougall, whom he married in 1976, their son and daughter; and by the two daughters of his first marriage, to Patricia Jackson in 1959, which ended in divorce.
Austin Mitchell Death
Austin Mitchell died at Leeds General Infirmary on 18 August 2021, at the age of 86, the Labour Party has confirmed. Keir Starmer paid tribute to the former Great Grimsby MP. The Labour leader said: “Austin served his constituency of Great Grimsby with remarkable commitment for 38 years. There are few MPs whose dedication to their constituents would translate into changing their surname to Haddock to promote local industry. His big sense of humour was matched by his deep Labour values. My thoughts are with his wife, Linda, and his children.”
The former Labour MP Melanie Onn, who succeeded Mitchell in the Great Grimsby seat in 2015, said in a statement: “Austin will be greatly missed by many in Grimsby’s Labour family and across the town where he was taken from the TV screen into the hearts of local people, always ready with a camera and amusing anecdote.
“He was a larger-than-life character, secured lost pensions compensation for the last generation of Grimsby’s fishermen and was a vociferous opponent of council housing stock transfers to arms-length management organisations.
“Not without controversy, he will most likely be remembered as the MP who changed his name to Austin Haddock but equally he was a tireless champion of the people and town of Grimsby, never forgetting who he was there to represent.
“On a personal level, Austin was unfailingly supportive to me as a new MP, still a bruising advocate of the Labour party and gave his time, advice and expertise generously. It was a pleasure to get to know him and I send my heartfelt condolences to Linda, his family and close friends for their loss.”
The former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell wrote on Twitter: “Sorry to hear of the death of Austin Mitchell. Great contact when I was a journo and great company when I was with Labour, even when we disagreed. Best known of course as an MP but a place in history as TV Interviewer who did the ‘real life’ Brian Clough-Don Revie interview immortalised in Damned United. RIP.”
Austin Mitchell Cause of Death
Austin Mitchell’s cause of death was not revealed. In July 2013, he underwent heart surgery at King’s College Hospital, London, to repair a leaking valve.