The Papers of Eric Heffer MP (1922-1991)

Scope and Content

The papers cover Heffer's political career from 1942 until his retirement from the commons in 1990.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eric Heffer, writer and politician, carpenter by trade, began political life asa communist in Welwyn Garden City. On expulsion from the Communist Party he moved to Liverpool where he became the Labour MP for Liverpool Walton between 1964-1991. He served as Industry Minister in Harold Wilson's Government, 1974-5. In 1975 he was elected to Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) becoming party chairman in 1983. During the 1985 party conference in Bournemouth Eric Heffer stormed off the platform in protest at Kinnock's speech attacking the Militant led city council in Liverpool.

Eric Heffer wrote a number of books and pamphlets and was an outspoken champion of socialism in the Labour Party. During his early years he was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, even after he had left the Communist Party he maintain strong Marxist opinions and was a supporter of working class militancy.


The papers are arranged into ten series; the Communist Party, 1942-57; the Labour Party, 1949-64; The Industrial Relations Bill, 1959-1971; Devolution and Trotskyism, 1975-78; John Wheatley, 1970s-80s; NEC chairmanship, 1980-88; Leader/deputy campaigns, 1983-88; Heysel and Hillsborough, 1985-86 and articles and correspondence, 1930s-1980s.

Access Information

Access by appointment.

Acquisition Information

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


Collection level description created by Janette Martin.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has been file listed. A finding aid is available for consultation at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC).

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

There has been no appraisal, destruction or scheduling.

Custodial History

The Eric Heffer papers were deposited in the People's History Museum (formerly National Museum of Labour History) by his wife in 1996.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

The LHASC holds the archives of the Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain. The Labour Party National Agents Department files include investigations into the Militant grouping within the Labour Party. The Archive also holds press cuttings on Eric Heffer.


Never a Yes Man:The Life and Politics of an Adopted Liverpudlian, by Eric Heffer, (London: Verso, 1991).

Geographical Names