The Papers of the Labour Party Manifesto Group

Scope and Content

The collection documents the activities of the three groups and the related work of their members.

It includes agendas, minutes of group meetings, correspondence, newspapers and news cuttings, statements and pamphlets along with their drafts, briefing papers, copies of speeches, leaflets, notes, lists of members of the group, advertisements, balance sheets, questionnaires, drawings, compliment slips, mailing lists, invoices, bank statements, timetables, reports, nomination forms, postcards, fax, envelopes. Together, they provide an illustration of the activities of moderate groups and opinion within the Labour party in the late between 1974 and 1984.

Manifesto Group produced a series of statements and pamphlets including:

What We Must Do: A Democratic Socialist Approach To Britain's Crisis(1977); The Wrong Approach: A Critique Of Tory Policy (1978); The Future Of Counter-Inflationary Policy(1979); Priorities Of Labour (1979).

Administrative / Biographical History

The papers in this collection comprise records of three separate bodies: the Manifesto Group, the Campaign for Labour Victory and the Labour Defence and Disarmament Group.

The Manifesto Group of the Labour party was formed in December 1974 in an effort to support the government, uphold its manifesto against attacks from the Left and balance the Tribune Group after the latter's success in the elections to the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) Liaison Committee and in view of its domination of other PLP subject groups. While not a descendant of, the Campaign for Democratic Socialism, it occupied the moderate centre ground of the party through the second half of the Seventies and the beginning of the Eighties. The Manifesto Group ended in 1984.

The Campaign for Labour Victory (CLV) was established in 1977. The CLV shared similar views, supporting the Labour government of the time while upholding a social democratic perspective. The two worked together on a number of occasions, notably at the issue of a joint statement, Reform and Democracy (see LP/MANIF/5), although they had no formal connections. The CLV, however, worked at the level of the Constituency Labour Parties and held as part of its aims the regeneration of the party membership and organisation.

The collection also contains papers of the Labour Defence and Disarmament Group, which was officially launched on the 26th May 1982. Its aims were study issues in defence and disarmament by providing research papers to encourage a realistic discussion of the question and to campaign in the Labour Movement for multilateralism with the aim of preserving peace and promoting disarmament. It put forward loyalty to NATO as the basis of defence policy and accepted the need of both nuclear and conventional weapons. Membership was open to all Labour Party Members, including ordinary party members, and by 1984 included former ministers, members of parliament, local councillors, Trades Union Officers and local party officers.


The papers have been arranged into files based on subject matter. These have been described according to ISAD(G) 2000.

Access Information

Access by appointment.

Acquisition Information

The collection is now held at the Labour History Archives and Study Centre, which is based at the head office of the People's History Museum (formerly the National Museum of Labour History) and managed by the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.


File level description of the fonds created by Liza Giffen, January 2001. Collection level description created by Janette Martin October 2002.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed finding aid is available at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC). This finding aid can also be consulted electronically at

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. Prior written permission must be obtained from the Archive for publication or reproduction of any material within the Archive. Please contact the Labour History Archive and Study Centre, 103 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD Tel.: +44 (0)161 228 7212.

Appraisal Information

No appraisal, destruction or scheduling has taken place.

Custodial History

George Robertson MP donated the papers of the Manifesto Group to the National Museum of Labour History in 1993.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

The Labour Party Archive is also held at LHASC.