Papers of J. Kevin McNamara MP

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection comprises three distinct types of material, files of constituency correspondence/case files, subject files on constituency and wider issues (including defence and animal welfare), and files specifically relating to Northern Ireland, which was McNamara's main area of interest as a politician.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Kevin McNamara was born in September 1934 and educated at St. Mary's College, Crosby, and University College Hull, where he obtained a law degree. He was Secretary of the National Association of Labour Student Organisations, 1956-57. He worked as Head of History at St. Mary's Grammar School in Hull, 1958-64, and then as lecturer in law at Hull College of Commerce, 1964-66. He contested Bridlington for the Labour Party in 1964 before winning Kingston-upon-Hull North in 1966. He sat for this seat until 1974, then for the Central Division of Hull, 1974-83, and finally for Hull North again until his retirement from parliament at the 2005 general election. He was Personal Private Secretary to Peter Shore (Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, 1967-69 and Minister without Portfolio, 1969-70). He was chairman of the Select Committee on Overseas Development, 1978-79, a member of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs (to 1982), sometime member of the NATO parliamentary assembly (and vice-chairman of its Economic Committee), secretary of the Parliamentary Group of the Transport and General Workers Union, and member of the UK delegation to the Council of Europe and of the Parliamentary Labour Party's Northern Ireland Group. He has held various posts within the Labour Party, including Opposition Spokesman on Defence, 1982-83, Opposition Spokesman on Defence and Disarmament, 1983-85, Deputy Spokesman on Defence, 1985-87, and, most significantly, Opposition Spokesman on Northern Ireland from 1987 until his replacement by Mo Mowlam in 1995. He did not hold a government post in the Labour governments of 1997-2001 or 2001-2005. He left Parliament on 11th April 2005 after deciding not to stand for re-election.

Conditions Governing Access

Data Protection Act applies (sensitive personal data); 30 year closure period; uncatalogued papers closed

Other Finding Aids

Entry in Modern political papers subject guide

Custodial History

Donated by Kevin McNamara in successive instalments between 1969 and 2005

Related Material

Papers of other Hull MPs, Harry Pursey [U DPU] and John Prescott [U DMR]

Papers of Chris Mullin MP relating to miscarriages of justice [U DMU]

Papers of Lord Soley (Clive Soley MP) about Northern Ireland [uncatalogued]

Archives of Liberty (National Council of Civil Liberties) [U DCL]


Personal Names