SHELDON; Robert Edward (1923-): politician

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Robert Sheldon's chairmanship of the Committee of Public Accounts, 1964-1997, including Chairmen's files, Committee of Public Accounts and National Audit Office reports, Treasury minutes and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Sheldon has been the Labour MP for Ashton under Lyne since 1964. He was born in 1923 and joined the Labour Party in 1944. By the late 1950s, he had become very involved with the Manchester City Labour Group and unsuccessfully contested the seat of Withington in October 1959. He was elected as Member for Ashton under Lyne in 1964 and during the last years of Harold Wilson's Government served on the Fulton Committee on the Civil Service (1966-1968) and the Labour Economic Group (1967-1968). In the Labour Party's years of Opposition, he became the Party's spokesman on Civil Service and Treasury Matters (1970-1974), a field of politics in which he specialised for the duration of his political career. Between 1974 and 1975, Sheldon served as Minister of State for, first, the Civil Service and then the Treasury in the Labour Government. After supporting an unsuccessful Denis Healey in the Labour Party leadership contest of March 1976, he was appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury, a position he held until the election of 1979. In 1983, Sheldon was elected Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, after serving on the Committee on two previous occasions(1965-1970) and 1974-1979). During his time as Chairman, he was involved in all areas of audit investigation, especially concerning privatisation and public funding. In 1986, Sheldon was involved with the Zircon Spy Satellite Scandal, where it was alleged Parliament was not fully informed regarding the spending of public funds on major defence projects. He was re-elected as Chairman after both the 1987 and 1992 elections and as head of the Committee of Public Accounts presided over 300 reports, each one supported unanimously. He stood down as Chairman in 1997 and was soon standing as chairman on the important (post-Nolan) Select Committee on Standards and Privileges.

As well as his career in politics, Robert Sheldon is a part owner of a textile company and has been the Director of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce since 1979. He has also co-authored a book, Administrative Reform; The Next Step , published in 1974.


The original order of the collection has kept where possible, and the papers are sorted as follows:
1. Chairman's files;
2. Committee of Public Accounts reports;
3. National Audit Office reports;
4. Treasury minutes;
5. Miscellaneous reports and minutes;
6. Correspondence;
7. General;
8. Photographs.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited by Robert Sheldon

Other Finding Aids

Detailed catalogue available from Archives staff.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Copied from LSE Archives CALM database by Anna Towlson.

Conditions Governing Use

No documents may be photocopied. No material may be published without the prior permission of both the copyright holder and the Library. All applications for publication must be made to the Archivist in the first instance, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user.