Bill Rodgers was first elected as Labour MP for Stockton-on-Tees at a by-election in 1962, He served in the governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, entering the cabinet in 1976 as Secretary of State for Transport. In 1981, along with Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams and David Owen, Rogers formed the “Gang of Four” who founded the Social Democratic Party. Out of parliament following the 1983 election, Rodgers led the successful “Yes to Unity” campaign in the SDP in favour of merger with the Liberals. Appointed to the House of Lords in 1992 as Baron Rodgers of Quarry Bank, Rodgers succeeded Roy Jenkins as Liberal Democrat leader in the Lords and lead the peers from 1997-2001. Rodgers published an autobiography Fourth Among Equals.