MEADOWCROFT, Michael James, b 1942, Liberal politician

Scope and Content

Papers of Michael James Meadowcroft, 1960-2000, mainly relating to his career in the Liberal Party, notably working papers for Liberal publications written by Meadowcroft, 1976-1992, including Liberal values for a new decade (1980), Bluffers guide to politics (1976), Liberalism and the left (1982) and The case for the Liberal Party (1992); documents collected for an article on Liberal strategy, including the Lib-Lab Pact, 1973-1978; material relating to elections for Leeds West, 1974-1987, including candidates handbooks, campaign manuals, General Election papers, press cuttings and reports to electors; material relating to Liberal Assemblies, 1971-1994, notably official papers, press cuttings and scrapbooks; material relating to the central Liberal Party, [1981-1990], including papers of the Liberal Party Council (1980-1983), minutes of the Parliamentary Liberal Party (1983-1987), and working papers of the Standing Committee (1980-1983); papers concerning the SDP and the Liberal/SDP Alliance, 1981-1988, including notes, press cuttings, manifestos, programme material , and SDP conference material; material concerning the SDP and Liberal Party merger, 1987-1989, notably papers relating to negotiations, and press cuttings; papers relating to the inception of the Liberal Movement, 1988-1989, mainly comprising working papers of the Steering Committee; material concerning European elections, 1977-1984; Leeds City Council papers, 1986-1987; material relating to Hammersmith Liberal Association, 1987, and West Leeds Liberal Association; general Liberal Party literature, 1984-1987, including strategy papers and booklets; material concerning the enquiry into Systime [computer company], 1985-1987, including case papers, parliamentary questions and correspondence with Paddy Ashdown; correspondence and papers relating to Cyril Smith, 1975-1984; later political papers, 1990-2000, mainly relating to Meadowcroft's role in the relaunched Liberal Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1942; educated King George V School in Southport and Bradford University; Chairman, Merseyside Regional Young Liberal Organisation, 1961; Liberal Party Local Government Officer, 1962-1967; Secretary, Yorkshire Liberal Federation, 1967-1970; Assistant Secretary, Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust, 1970-1978; General Secretary, Bradford Metropolitan Council for Voluntary Service, 1978-1983; Senior Visiting Fellow, PSI, 1989; Director, Electoral Reform Consultancy Services, 1992-1994; Member, Leeds City Council, 1968-1983; West Yorkshire MCC, 1973-1976, 1981-1983; Director, Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, 1971-1983; Chairman, Liberal Party Assembly Committee, 1977-1981; President Elect, 1987-1988, and President, 1993-, Liberal Party; Liberal candidate for Leeds West, February and October 1974, 1987, and 1992; Liberal MP for Leeds West, 1983-1987; Chairman, Electoral Reform Society, 1989-1993; has undertaken 33 missions to new and emerging democracies; Co-ordinator, UN Electoral Assistance Secretariat, Malawi, 1994, OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) International Observer Mission, Russian Presidential election, 1996, Bulgaria, 1996, and the Bosnia Refugee Vote, 1996; Advisor on Jerusalem, EU Electoral Unit, Palestinian Assembly elections, 1995-1996; Consultant, Committee for Free and Fair Elections, Cambodia, 1997; European Co-Director, EC Support to Democratic Electoral Process in Cambodia, 1998. Publications: Liberalism and social democracy (Liberal Publication Department, London, [1981]); Liberal values for a new decade (Liberal Publication Department, London, [1980]); The bluffer's guide to politics: research and reference for councillors and community activists (North West Community Newspapers Ltd, Manchester, 1976).


The collection remains in the files arranged by Meadowcroft.

Access Information

Open, though some confidential files remain closed. Apply to Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Given by Michael Meadowcroft in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Papers relating to the Liberal/SDP Alliance were transferred from the Electoral Reform Society in 1997.

Other Finding Aids

On-line box-list available.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the Library. Some documents may be photocopied.

Related Material

The British Library of Political and Economic Science holds further material relating to Michael Meadowcroft in the papers of the Liberal Party (Ref: Liberal Party/5), the Liberal Movement (Ref: Liberal Movement 1/1, 4/1-2, 5/2), Neville Devonshire Sandelson (Ref: Sandelson 9/8), Sir David Martin Scott Steel (Ref: Steel 1/2) and Jean Henderson (Ref: Henderson 9/1). There is also some relevant election ephemera (Ref: Coll Misc 0738/1/37 and 0867/34). The Library also holds the papers of the SDP and the Liberal/SDP Alliance. The West Yorkshire Archives Service holds material relating to Meadowcroft's local political interests (Ref: LCO 4171).