Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He attended West Bromwich Grammar School , Leeds Teacher Training College and London and Birmingham Universities before entering a teaching career. In 1955 he was elected to Smethwick Borough Council as a Conservative.
He served as a councillor until 1963 when he resigned to fight the Smethwick parliamentary seat in the forthcoming general election against the sitting Labour MP Patrick Gordon Walker. Labour were expected to win the 1964 election and Gordon Walker was Foreign Secretary designate. It was, perhaps, this hisorical involvement in issues of Commonwealth immigration that allowed race and nationality to occupy a prominent role in what became an increasingly ill-tempered local campaign by both candidates. Smethwick had been a focus of immigration from the Commonwealth in the economic and industrial growth of the years following World War II and Griffiths ran a campaign critical of the opposition's, and government's, policy. There were rumours that his supporters had covertly circulated the slogan If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Liberal or Labour. There is no doubt that Gordon Walker's supporters also exploited residents' fears in blaming local racial tensions on Conservative Party policy. The defeat of Gordon Walker shocked the establishment, causing Harold Wilson to call Griffiths a parliamentary leper.
Griffiths was in turn defeated by Labour candidate Andrew Faulds in the UK general election, 1966 and returned to a career in education. He unsuccessfully fought the Portsmouth North constituency in 1974 before winning the seat in 1979 and holding it until the Labour landslide of 1997.
He is married to Jeannette and they have one son and one daughter.
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