SANDELSON; Neville Devonshire (1923-2002): politician

Scope and Content

The collection of the politician Neville Sandelson, 1923-1996, includes a series of scrapbooks of press cuttings covering Sandelson's period as an MP, files relating to the Hayes and Harlington constituency, and papers on the Labour Party and the SDP. Sandelson took a keen interest in foreign affairs, and there are files on the Middle East, Afghanistan, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. There is also an extensive collection of photographs documenting his political life.

Administrative / Biographical History

Neville Devonshire Sandelson was Member of Parliament for the Hayes and Harlington constituency 1971-1983 (Labour MP 1971-1981, Social Democratic Party MP 1981-1983).

Sandelson was born in 1923 and joined the Labour Party in 1939. He was a member of the London County Council for Stoke Newington and Hackney North, 1952-1958. He unsuccessfully contested eight General Elections and by-elections as a Labour Party candidate in six different constituencies: Ashford (Kent) (1950, 1951 and 1955), Beckenham (by-election, 1957), Rushcliffe (1959), Heston and Isleworth (1966), South West Leicester (by-election, 1967) and Chichester (1970).

He was elected as MP for Hayes and Harlington in a by-election in 1971. He was a moderate Labour MP and opposed the activities of extreme left-wing organisations inside and outside the Labour Party. His relationship with left-wing members of the Hayes and Harlington Constituency Labour Party was a stormy one, and various attempts were made to de-select him as MP. He was a founder member and Treasurer of the Labour Party Manifesto Group (1975-1980). In 1981 he was one of the founding members of the SDP, and continued to represent Hayes and Harlington as MP until losing his seat in the General Election of 1983. Sandelson never held government office but he did hold office in various parliamentary groups, including being Secretary of the British Gibraltar Parliamentary Group and Vice-Chairman of the Afghanistan Parliamentary Support Committee.

After 1983, Sandelson continued to be active in politics outside parliament. He remained a member of the SDP until 1987, when he allowed his membership to lapse. He campaigned in support of the return of a Conservative government in the 1987 General Election. In 1988 he and Stephen Haseler co-founded the Radical Society, a cross-party forum for debate on political and other issues. In 1996 he re-joined the Labour Party.

As well his career in politics, Sandelson worked in a wide variety of areas, including as a barrister, a deputy circuit judge and assistant recorder, a political and business consultant and a producer of television programmes.


The papers are arranged in 12 series:
1. Early career to 1971;
2. MP, 1971-1983: scrapbooks;
3. MP, 1971-1983: Hayes and Harlington;
4. MP, 1971-1983: Labour Party;
5. MP, 1971-1983: SDP;
6. MP, 1971-1983: Manifesto Group and CLV;
7. MP, 1971-1983: Foreign Affairs;
8. MP, 1971-1983: Other;
10. Later Career: Radical Society;
11. Later Career, Other;
12. Photographs.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited by the family

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

Most items can be photocopied, subject to handling and copyright restrictions. 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.