British Labour Party papers, 1968-1994

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Parliamentary Labour Party papers, 1968-1994

Parliamentary Labour Party papers, 1968-1994

The years 1968 to 1994 were the most turbulent in the PLP's history. The grass roots of the Party became very restless and challenged the MPs' over nuclear disarmament, South Africa, racial discrimination, Vietnam and homelessness
Stephen BirThe Labour History Archive and Study Centre, Manchester

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See Labour MPs' responses to nuclear disarmament, apartheid, and war in Vietnam.

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The Parliamentary Labour Party is the organisation of Labour members of Parliament (MPs) founded in 1906. Included in this collection are all the minutes of the Party Meetings, the Liaison Committee and the Parliamentary Committee (Shadow Cabinet) for the period 1968-1994. This period represents a turbulent one in British politics, during the early part of which Labour were twice in power. It begins with the latter half of a Labour government under Harold Wilson, followed by the Conservative government of Edward Heath, which brought Britain the three-day week and into the EEC. Less than a year after Labour returned to power in 1974 following a hung parliament, the Conservative Party elected a new leader. The Margaret Thatcher years appear in their entirety, including the Falklands War and the miners' strike. In the Labour Party, leadership moved from Jim Callaghan to Michael Foot to Neil Kinnock. Initially policy shifted to the left. However, after the Party's heavy defeat in the election of 1983, the concept of New Realism" started to emerge. In its wake came Tony Blair, whose progress to the top is charted by these papers, which culminate in Margaret Beckett's caretaker leadership after the death of John Smith. This span from the papers of the PLP is published with a short online guide by Stephen Bird, former archivist at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre, Manchester.

Contents

British Labour Party papers, 1968-1994...

Containing 10,808 pages belonging to 55 documents housed in 4 volumes...

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Volumes

Liaison Committee meetings

The Liaison Committee exists only when Labour in is power, and comprises party whips and selected ministers, who liaise between...

Party meetings

The Party Meetings are generally held weekly while Parliament is in session, and continue regardless of whether or not the...

Shadow Cabinet meetings

Comprises the minutes of meetings of the Shadow Cabinet, officially known as the Parliamentary Committee, for the periods when the...

Working Party on Standing Orders meetings

The Working Party on Standing Orders (WPSO), occasionally referred to as the 'Working Group', is an ad hoc body set...

Insights

  • These records include Liaison Committee meetings, Party meetings, Shadow Cabinet meetings and Working Party on Standing Orders meetings. This variety reflects the developed structures of the Party.
  • The Liaison Committee ensured that all Labour MPs knew what the Government was doing. These minutes cover the Governments of Harold Wilson in 1968-1970 and 1974-1976, then James Callaghan in 1976-1979.
  • The Shadow Cabinet meetings cover the years when Labour was in opposition, 1970-1974 and 1979-1994. These years include debates over entering the European Union and the Falklands War.
  • Parliamentary Party meetings between 1969 and 1994 cover apartheid in South Africa, the deportation of the American defectors from the CIA Philip Agee and Mark Hosenball and the resignation of Harold Wilson.
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