Ted Rowlands was a Welsh Labour Party MP for some 30 years, for Cardiff North and then Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 2004.

Rowlands served as a junior minister in the Harold Wilson administration (Wilson’s wife Mary was also a Booker Prize judge, in 1976) and later under Jim Callaghan. He was a supporter of J. G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun and there was some controversy when the book failed to win. There was, however, greater controversy when, during the Falklands War, Rowlands announced to the Commons that Britain was reading Argentine diplomatic traffic. Since he did so under parliamentary privilege, no action was taken against him.