Lord Morris of Handsworth OJ, DL was born in Bombay, Jamaica and grew up in Cheapside, attending school in Mizpah. He arrived in Birmingham, England in 1954 and worked his way through the ranks of the Transport and General Workers Union to be elected as Britain's first black General Secretary in 1991 and re-elected in 1995. He retired from that post in October 2003 after 12 years.

Bill Morris has continued his public role in a variety of ways, and his appointments include:

  • Chair, The Morris Public Inquiry (into the professional standards and workplace issues of the Metropolitan Police; reported December 2004)
  • Non-Executive Director, Bank of England (1998-2005)
  • Member, Employment Appeals Tribunal (1988-2008)
  • Chancellor, University of Technology, Jamaica (2000-2010)
  • Chancellor, Staffordshire University (2004-2011)
  • Member, Cricket Board for England and Wales (since 2004)
  • Member, Panel of Mergers and Takeovers (since 2005)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Performance Birmingham Limited (charitable trust that runs Birmingham Symphony Hall and Town Hall. Since 2008)
  • Chair, Midland Heart housing association (since 2007)

Bill Morris is an established professional speaker, registered with Celebrity Speakers. His themes include transport, management of change, diversity, conflict resolution, globalisation and the economy. He is also a regular broadcaster on current social, economic and political issues. In 2005 he presented a Radio Four series, "Workaday World" and in 2010, a programme on William Cuffay, a key organiser of the Chartist uprising in 1848.

In October 2002 Bill Morris was awarded the Order of Jamaica by the Jamaican Government for services to international trade unionism.

In 2005, the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery in London commissioned a portrait of Bill Morris by John Keane.

In November 2003 he received a Knighthood from the Queen.

In April 2006 Bill Morris was awarded a life peerage. He took his seat in the House of Lords on 13 June 2006 and took the title: Lord Morris of Handsworth. He now plays an active role in the work of the House.

In 2008 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Staffordshire.


Bill Morris
On his last day as General
Secretary of the T&G.