Greville Janner

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Greville Janner, Lord Janner of Braunstone, (11 July 1928 – 19 December 2015) was a Labour peer and a leading British Zionist. He was on a leave of absence from the House of Lords since 13 October 2014.[1]

From 1970 to 1997 Janner was the Labour MP for Leicester North West and then Leicester West.

Janner's website notes that: He joined the army at 18, serving as the youngest War Crimes Investigator in the British Army of the Rhine and worked at weekends with survivors in the Bergen Belsen Displaced Persons camp.[2]

Janner has campaigned against the AUT boycott on Israel.[3]

Early life

Janner was born in Cardiff, Wales, to Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) parents, the son of Barnett Janner and Elsie Sybil, née Cohen.[4] Janner and Ruth, his sister (later Lady Morris of Kenwood), were evacuated to Canada at the age of 11, because their parents anticipated a Nazi invasion of Britain.[5][6] While in Canada, living with family friends, he attended Bishop's College School, Lennoxville, Quebec. Janner returned to Britain in 1942 and attended St Paul's School, London.[6]

At the age of 18, he served in occupied Germany working for the War Crimes Investigation Unit of the British Army of the Rhine for 18 months. Janner investigated cases of British airmen who were shot at Stalag Luft III, the prisoner of war camp.[7] At weekends, he worked with Holocaust survivors at Bergen-Belsen.[8] The army unit was closed in 1948 to Janner's dismay.[9]

Later, Janner read Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge Union Society, in 1952, and chairman of the university Labour Club. He became the international secretary of the National Association of Labour Students and president of Trinity Hall Athletic Club.[10] Janner was able to attend Harvard Law School through both the Fulbright and Smith-Mundt Act awards.[11]

After training, via a Harmsworth Scholarship at Middle Temple,[6] he became a barrister in 1954 and was appointed a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1971.[11]

House of Commons

Having unsuccessfully fought Wimbledon in the 1955 General Election, Janner represented Leicester North West from the 1970 general election until February 1974, succeeding his father, Sir Barnett Janner, a former Chairman of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain. His father announced his retirement from the Commons two days before candidate nominations closed in 1970, and his son was quickly chosen in his place. Posters imploring electors to "Vote Janner" had already been printed, and thus did not need to be scrapped.[6]

The younger Janner retained the reformed |Leicester West from 1974 until his retirement at the 1997 general election.[11][12] Janner chaired the Select Committee on Employment from 1994 to 1996.[13] He lost this position because Conservative members of the committee acted against him. A potential conflict of interest existed as he was an advisor to firms the committee might investigate.[14] He was succeeded in Leicester West by Patricia Hewitt.

House of Lords

Janner was created a life peer as Baron Janner of Braunstone, of Leicester in the County of Leicestershire in 1997.[15] He was President and an Officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism.[16][17] Janner was associated with the Labour Friends of Israel and in 2002 backed Stephen Byers to be chairman.[18]

In 2006, Janner was struck by Lord Bramall, a former head of the Armed Forces, during a heated row over the Middle East.[19] In the incident, which occurred during the 2006 Lebanon War, the two men had disagreed in the House of Lords chamber after Bramall had made comments Janner considered too critical of Israel.[5] Janner was hit in one of the rooms close to the chamber. Janner later sought the advice of fellow peers about how and whether to make a formal complaint against Lord Bramall, before deciding to accept an apology.[20]

Janner continued to attend the House of Lords until December 2013. He was on leave of absence from the House of Lords from 13 October 2014.[21][22]

JC Power 100

In 2008, The Jewish Chronicle declared 'the top spots' on their second annual list of those who 'wield the greatest influence on British Jewry'. Janner is listed at number 20.[23] The criteria for being listed is described as 'those with a vision for Jewish life in this country and who did their utmost to bring it about using either money; persuasion; religion; culture; political or social leadership; or simply inspiring through word and deed'. In order for someone to be listed in the top 20, it was generally necessary to demonstrate influence in more than one of the spheres[24].

The article describes how...

'The Labour peer’s high standing in the inaugural Power 100 partly signified his role as an “incubator” of communal talent by giving starting jobs to leaders of the future. That influence may be waning as the indefatigable Cardiff-born political operator approaches 80. He represented Leicester constituencies in the Commons from 1970-97 before moving to the Lords. A modernising Board of Deputies president in the 1980s, he remains an impassioned voice on restitution and other Shoah issues as chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust. He speaks nine languages and is a member of the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians'.[23]

Others included in the list were Lord Levy (number 9), Ron Prosor (number 10), Daniel Finkelstein (number 11), John Mann (number 17), Jonathan Freedland (number 18), Julia Neuberger (number 19), Trevor Chinn (number 14), Prime Minister Gordon Brown (number 29) & Poju Zabludowicz (number 30).[23]

Sexual offences

In April 2015 it was decided by the CPS that Janner would not be charged with child sexual abuse offences because his dementia meant he was not fit to take part in court proceedings. The charges were from events in the 1970s and 80s and in 1991 Janner told Parliament he was innocent.[25] During the investigation more than twenty alleged victims were interviewed and police files on the case were studied for nine months. The verdict was reached as director of public prosecution Alison Saunders felt Janner's condition meant there is no current or future risk of offending.[26][27]




  1. Parliament.UK ineligible Lords, accessed 16 April 2015.
  4. Freedland, Michael "Obituary: Elsie Janner", The Independent, 21 July 1994. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lord Janner of Braunstone. 20 December 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Lord Janner of Braunstone: Politician who fought for good causes but whose career was overshadowed by allegations of child abuse. 21 December 2015. 
  7. Greville Janner "A message to war criminals", The Guardian, 9 November 2005.
  8. Podcasts – Greville Janner.  Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. (mp3)
  9. Greville Janner "John Demjanjuk trial: we mustn't draw a line under crimes of the Holocaust", The Daily Telegraph (London), 1 December 2009
  10. 10.0 10.1 Lord Janner of Braunstone – obituary. 20 December 2015. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Lord Janner of Braunstone QC; Honorary Vice-Presidents, World Jewish Congress, World Jewish Congress. Retrieved 26 July 2009
  12. Lord Greville Janner: Profile. 16 April 2015. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Lord Janner QC.  Jewish Leadership Council.
  14. Greville Janner obituary. 19 December 2015. 
  15. London Gazette issue 54933 29 October 1997 page 1
  16. Never Again | PCAA Foundation.
  17. The Report of the All Party Parliamentary Committee into Anti-Semitism.
  18. Woolf, Marie (15 January 2014) Byers tipped for Jewish lobby job.  
  19. Lord Greville Janner's home searched as part of child sex investigations, say police. 20 December 2013. 
  20. War hero, 82, hits fellow peer in Lords. 27 August 2006. 
  21. Lord Janner of Braunstone.  UK Parliament.
  22. Janner was pillar of the Jewish community, say family. 17 April 2015. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge, 9 May 2008, accessed 16 August 2008.
  24. The Jewish Chronicle How we made our selection, 9 May 2008, accessed 16 August 2008,
  25. BBC Lord Janner will not face child sex abuse charges, CPS says BBC, 16 April 2015, accessed 16 April 2015.
  26. Sandra Laville Decision not to prosecute Lord Janner will anger campaigners Guardian, 16 April 2015, accessed 16 April 2015.
  27. The decision not to prosecute Lord Janner - statement from the DPP, Crown Prosecution Service, 16 April 2015.
  28. Doreen Wachman "Profile: Reform greeting for the new Chief Rabbi", Jewish Telegraph, 2012
  29. Jessica Elgot "How Britain's Only Female Head Of Faith Took On The Religious Establishment, And Won", The Huffington Post, 17 November 2014
  30. Rocker, Simon (28 July 2011) Laura Janner-Klausner: Why I'm not the Reform rival to the Chief Rabbi.  
  31. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner in the Times.  Movement for Reform Judaism.
  33. Andrew Gilligan, MPs walk out in battle over Islamist group, The Telegraph, 30 Jan 2011
  34. Vice Presidents.  Jewish Leadership Council.
  35. Jennifer Lipman "Britain is full of people fighting hatred. We are lucky to live here", The Jewish Chronicle, 7 September 2012
  36. Holocaust Educational Trust honours champions of Holocaust Education.  Holocaust Educational Trust.