He was elected to the Folketing in 1973. 1978-1979 he was Minister of Public Works in the Anker Jørgensen cabinet. In 1998 he became speaker of the Folketing defeating his Social Democrat rival, Birte Weiss, after a drawing of lots. He died in office on March 11, 2003.
He was chairman of the JydskeVestkysten newspaper 1991-1998.