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Module Reading List

The Labour Party Since 1945, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr Timothy Heppell
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue


The following books provide excellent general overviews of key issues in post war Labour Party politics and will be relevant to all or most of the topics on the module (except topics 9 and 10). 

Callaghan, J. Fielding, S. and Ludlam, S. (2003) Interpreting the Labour Party : approaches to Labour politics and history (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Cronin J (2004) New Labour's pasts : the Labour Party and its discontents (London: Longman)

Fielding, S (1997) The Labour Party : "socialism" and society since 1951 (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

Heppell, T. (2010) Choosing the Labour leader : Labour Party leadership elections from Wilson to Brown (London: I. B. Tauris)

Heppell, T. and Theakston, K. (eds.), (2013) How Labour governments fall [electronic resource] : from Ramsay Macdonald to Gordon Brown (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Jefferys, K. (1993) The Labour Party since 1945 (Basingstoke: Macmillan)

Jefferys, K. (1999) Leading Labour : from Keir Hardie to Tony Blair (London: I. B. Tauris)

Jones, T (1996) Remaking the Labour Party : from Gaitskell to Blair (London: Routledge)

Laybourn, K. (2001) A century of Labour : a history of the Labour Party 1900-2000 (Stroud)

Pugh, M. (2011) Speak for Britain! : a new history of the Labour Party (London,)

Shaw, E. (1996) The Labour Party since 1945 : old Labour : new Labour (London: Blackwell).

Smith, M. and Spear, J. (eds) The changing Labour Party (London: Routledge)

Thorpe, A. (2007) A history of the British Labour Party (Basingstoke: Palgrave)

Other useful sources are available at:

Labour Party manifestos:

Record of Hansard:

Key speeches:

The High Point of Labour: The Attlee Governments 1945 to 1951  

Suggested Reading:

Addison, P. (2010) 'Clement Attlee', in Bogdanor, V. (ed): From New Jerusalem to New Labour : British prime ministers from Attlee to Blair (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Alderman, K. (1965) 'Discipline in the Parliamentary Labour Party 1945-1951', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 18, No. 3, 1964-5

Barnett, C. (1995) The lost victory: British dreams, British realities, 1945-1950 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995)

Crowcroft, R. and Theakston, K. (2013) 'The fall of the Attlee government, 1951', in T. Heppell and K. Theakston (eds.) How Labour governments fall [electronic resource] : from Ramsay Macdonald to Gordon Brown (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Eatwell R. (1979), The 1945-1951 Labour governments (London).

Francis, M. (1997) Ideas and policies under Labour, 1945-1951 : building a new Britain (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Hennessy, P. (1992) Never again : Britain 1945-51 (London, Jonathan Cape)

Hennessy, P. (1987) 'The Attlee Governments 1945-1951', in Hennessy, P. and Seldon, A. (eds) Ruling performance : British governments from Attlee to Thatcher (Oxford: Blackwell)

Jefferys, K. (1992) The Attlee governments, 1945-1951 (London: Longman)

Morgan, K. (1984) Labour in power 1945-1951 (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Pelling, H. (1984) The Labour governments, 1945-51 (London: Macmillan).

Tiratsoo, N. (ed), (1991) The Attlee years (London: Pinter)

The Labour Party in Crisis: The Era of Opposition 1951 to 1964

Suggested Reading:

Abrams, M. Rose, R. and Hinden, R. (1960) Must Labour lose? (Harmonsworth: Penguin).

Alderman, K. (1968) 'Parliamentary Party Discipline in Opposition: The PLP 1951-1964', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 21

Black, L. (2002) The political culture of the Left in affluent Britain, 1951-64 : old Labour, New Britain? (Basingstoke, Palgrave)

Crowcroft, R. (2008) 'The high politics of Labour party factionalism, 1950-5', Historical research. pp. 679-709.

Ellis, C. (2012) 'Letting it Slip: the Labour Party and the Mythical Halo of Nationalization, 1951-1964', Contemporary British history., vol. 26, no. 1 (2012), pp. 47-71

Favretto, I. (2002) 'Wilsonism Reconsidered: Labour Party Revisionism 1952-1964', Contemporary British history., Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 54-80.

Fielding, S. (2007) ' Rethinking Labour's 1964 Campaign', Contemporary British history., Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 309-324

Haseler, S. (1969) The Gaitskellites : revisionism in the British Labour Party 1951-64 (London: Macmillan). 

Heppell, T. (2010), 'The Labour Party Leadership Election of 1963: Explaining the Unexpected Election of Harold Wilson', Contemporary British history., Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 151-171

Heppell, T. (2012) 'Hugh Gaitskell' in Heppell, T. (ed). Leaders of the opposition : from Churchill to Cameron (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Jobson, R. (2013) 'Waving the Banners of a Bygone Age: Nostalgia and Labours Clause IV Controversy, 1959-60', Contemporary British history., vol. 27, no. 2 (2013), pp. 123-44

The Natural Party of Government? Labour in Government 1964 to 1970

Suggested Reading:

Bale, T. (1999) 'Dynamics of a Non-Decision: The Failure to Devalue the Pound 1964-1967', 20th century British history. , Vol. 10, 1999

Daddow, O. (2003) Harold Wilson and European integration : Britain's second application to join the EEC, (London: Frank Cass).

Dorey, P. (2006) The Labour Governments 1964-1970 (London: Routledge).

Dorey, P. (2013) 'The Fall of the Wilson Goverment, 1970', (chapter 5) in T. Heppell and K. Theakston (eds.) How Labour governments fall [electronic resource] : from Ramsay Macdonald to Gordon Brown, (Basingstoke: Palgrave)

Coopey, R., Fielding, S. and Tiratsoo, (1993) N. The Wilson governments, 1964-1970 (London: Pinter, 1993)

Fielding, S. (2003) The Labour Governments 1964-1970 (Manchester: Manchester: University Press).

Tomlinson, J. (2003) The Labour Governments 1964-1970 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003)

Ziegler, P. (2010) 'Harold Wilson', in V. Bogdanor (ed) From New Jerusalem to New Labour : British prime ministers from Attlee to Blair (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Walker, D. (1987) 'The First Wilson Governments, 1964-70', in P Hennessy and A Seldon (eds): Ruling performance : British governments from Attlee to Thatcher (Blackwell: London).

Electoral Decline and Governing Difficulties in the 1970s

Suggested Reading:

Artis, M. Cobham, D. And Wickham-Jones, M. (1992), 'Social Democracy in Hard Times: The Economic Record of the Labour Government 1974 to 1979', 20th century British history., Vol. 3, pp. 32-58.

Bell, P. (2004) The Labour Party in opposition 1970-1974 (Routledge, London: 2004)

Coates, D. (1980) Labour in power? : a study of the Labour Government, 1974-1979 (London: Longman, 1980)

Hay, C. (2010, 'Chronicles of a Death Foretold: The Winter of Discontent and the Construction of the Crisis of British Keynesianism', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 446-470

Hayter, D. (2005) Fightback! : Labour's traditional right in the 1970s and 1980s (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005)

Heppell, T., Crines, A., and Nicholls, R. (2010), 'Ideological Alignments with the PLP and the Leadership Election of 1976', British politics.., Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 65-91

Hickson, K. (2005) The IMF crisis of 1976 and British politics (London, I. B. Tauris, 2005)

Holmes, M. (1985) The Labour government, 1974-79 : political aims and economic reality (London: Macmillan)

Kirkup, J. (2016) The Lib-Lab pact : a Parliamentary agreement, 1977-1978 (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Meredith, S. (2007) Factionalism on the Parliamentary Right of the British Labour Party in the 1970s: A Reassessment', Contemporary British history., Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 55-85

Meredith, S. (2005) 'Labour Party Revisionism and Public Expenditure: Divisions of Social Democratic Political Economy in the 1970s', Labour history review.., Vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 253-73

Meredith, S. (2008) Labours old and new : the parliamentary right of the British Labour Party 1970-79 and the roots of New Labour (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

Morgan, K. (2010) 'James Callaghan 1976-79', in V. Bogdanor (ed) From New Jerusalem to New Labour : British prime ministers from Attlee to Blair (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2010)

Seldon, A. and Hickson, K. eds, (2004) New Labour, old Labour : the Wilson and Callaghan governments, 1974-79 (London: Routledge)

Shepherd, J. (2013) Crisis? What crisis? : the Callaghan government and the British 'winter of discontent', (Manchester: Manchester University Press).  

Wickham-Jones, M. Economic strategy and the Labour Party : politics and policy-making, 1970-83 (London: Macmillan, 1996)

Whitehead, P. (1987) 'The Labour Governments, 1974-79', in in P Hennessy and A Seldon (eds): Ruling performance : British governments from Attlee to Thatcher (London: Blackwell

Electoral Rejection and Ideological Division 1979 to 1994

Suggested Reading:

Alderman, K. And Carter, N. (1993), 'The Labour Party Leadership and Deputy Leadership Elections of 1992', Parliamentary affairs.., Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 49-65.

Crewe, I. and King, A. (1995) SDP : the birth, life and death of the Social Democratic Party (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Drucker, H. (1984), 'Intra-Party Democracy in Action: The Election of the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1983', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 283-300.

Hayter, D. (2005) Fightback! : Labour's traditional right in the 1970s and 1980s (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005)

Heffernan, R. (1992) Defeat from the jaws of victory : inside Kinnock's Labour Party (London, Verso)

Heppell, T. and Crines, A. (2011), 'How Michael Foot won the Labour Leadership', The political quarterly., Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 81-94.

Hodgson, G. (1981) Labour at the crossroads : the political and economic challenge to the Labour Party in the 1980s (London: Robertson)

Hughes, C. and Winter, P (1990) Labour rebuilt : the new model party (London: Fourth Estate)

Jacques, M. and Mulhern, F (1981) The Forward march of labour halted? (London, Verso)

Kogan, D. and Kogan, M. (1983) The Battle for the Labour Party (London: Fontana, 1983)

Mitchell, A. (1983) Four years in the death of the Labour Party (London: Methuen)

Quinn, T. (2004) Modernising the Labour Party : organisational change since 1983 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

Shaw, E. (1994) The Labour Party since 1979 : crisis and transformation (London: Routledge)

Seyd, P. (1987) The rise and fall of the Labour left (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1987)

Whiteley, P. (1983) The Labour Party in crisis (London, Methuen)

Smith, M. (1994 'Understanding the politics of catch-up: the modernization of the Labour pary', Political studies., Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 708-15

The Making of New Labour 1994-1997

Suggested Reading:

Alderman, K. And Carter, N. (1995), 'The Labour Party Leadership and Deputy Leadership Elections of 1994', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 48, No. 3, pp. 438-455.

Anderson, P. and Mann, N. Safety first : the making of new Labour (London, Granta, 1997)

Bale, T. (1996)˜The Death of the Past: Symbolic Politics and the Changing of Clause IV', British elections and parties yearbookVol. 6, No. 1, pp. 158-77

Gould, P. (1998) Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party (London: Little Brown).

Mandelson, P. and Liddle, R. The Blair revolution : can new Labour deliver? (London: Faber and Faber, 1996)

McAnulla, S. (2012) ˜Tony Blair' in Heppell, T. (ed.) Leaders of the opposition : from Churchill to Cameron (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Perryman, M. (ed) (1996) The Blair agenda (London: Lawrence and Wishart).

Taylor, G. (1997) Labour's renewal? : the policy review and beyond (Basingstoke: Macmillan).

New Labour in Power 1997-2007

Suggested Reading:

Atkins, J. (2011) Justifying New Labour policy (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

Beech, M. and Lee, S. (2008) Ten years of New Labour (Basingstoke: Palgrave)

Bevir, M. (2005) New Labour : a critique (Abington: Routledge)

Buller, J., and James, T. (2012) 'Statecraft and the assessment of national political leaders: The case of New Labour and Tony Blair' British journal of politics & international relations., Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 534-55.

Casey, T. (ed) (2009) The Blair legacy : politics, policy, governance, and foreign affairs (Basingstoke: Palgrave)

Coates, D and Hay, C. (2001) 'The Internal and External Face of New Labour's Political Economy' Government and opposition., Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 447-471.

Coates, D. and Lawler, P. (eds), (2000) New labour in power (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Cowley, P. (2002) Revolts and rebellions : parliamentary voting under Blair (London, Politicos)

Cowley, P. (2005) The rebels : how Blair mislaid his majority (London, Politicos)

Driver, S. and Martell, L. (2006) New Labour (Cambridge: Polity Press)

Finlayson, A. (2002) 'Elements of the Blairite Image of Leadership', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 55, No. 3. 

Hay, C (1999) The political economy of new Labour : labouring under false pretences? (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Heffernan, R. (2001) New Labour and Thatcherism: political change in Britain (Basingstoke: Macmillan)

Hindmoor, A. (2004) New Labour at the centre [electronic resource] : constructing political space (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Ludlam, S. and Smith, M. J. (eds) (2004) Governing as New Labour : policy and politics under Blair (Basingstoke, Palgrave

McAnulla S. (2011) 'Post-political poisons? Evaluating the toxic dimensions of Tony Blair's leadership', Representation, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 251-63.

Minkin, L. (2014) The Blair supremacy : a study in the politics of Labour's party management. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Shaw, E. (2007) Losing Labour's soul? : new Labour and the Blair government 1997-2007 (London: Routledge)

Seldon, A (ed) (2001) The Blair effect (London: Little Brown).

Seldon, A. and Kavanagh, D. (ed) (2005) The Blair effect, 2001-5 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).  

Seldon, A. (ed.) (2007) Blair's Britain, 1997-2007(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Decline and Fall: The End of New Labour 2007-2010

Suggested Reading:

Cowley, P. and Stuart, M. (2014) 'In the Brown Stuff?: Labour backbench dissent under Gordon Brown, 2007-2010', Contemporary British history. Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 1-23.

Diamond, P. and Kenny, M. (eds.) (2011) Reassessing New Labour : market, state and society under Blair and Brown, London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Beech, M. and Lee, S. (eds), (2009) 'The Brown Government', special edition of Policy studies., Vol. 30, No. 1.

Fielding, S. (2010), 'Labour's Campaign: Things Can Only Get....Worse', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 63, No. 4, pp. 653-66.

Foley, M. (2009) 'Gordon Brown and the Role of Compounded Crisis in the Pathology of Leadershp', British politics., Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 498-513.

Heffernan, R. (2011), Labour's New Labour Legacy: Politics after Blair and Brown', Political studies review., Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 163-77.

Heppell, T. (2008) 'The Degenerative Tendencies of Long Serving Governments...1963...1996... 2008', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 61, No. 4,

Heppell, T. (2013) ˜The Fall of the Brown Government', in Heppell, T. and Theakston, K. (eds.), How Labour governments fall [electronic resource] : from Ramsay Macdonald to Gordon Brown (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Rush, M. and Giddings, P. (eds) (2008) When Gordon took the helm : the Palgrave review of British politics 2007-08 (Basingstoke, Palgrave)

Theakston, K. (2011), 'Gordon Brown as Prime Minister: Political Skills and Leadership Style', British politics., Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 78-100.

Transcending New Labour: Opposition 2010-2015

Suggested Reading:

Bale, T. (2014) 'Putting it Right? The Labour Party's Big Shift on Immigration since 2010', The political quarterly., Vol. 85, No. 3, pp. 296-303.

Bale, T. (2015) Five year mission : the Labour Party under Ed Miliband, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dorey, P. and Denham, A. (2011) 'O, brother, where art though': The Labour Party leadership election of 2010', British politics., Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 286-316.

Fielding, S. (2015) 'Hell No! Labour's 2015 Campaign', Parliamentary affairs., 68(1): 54-69.

Gaber, I (2014) ˜The Othering of Red Ed or How the Daily Mail Framed the British Labour Leader', The political quarterly., Vol. 85, No. 4, pp. 471-9.

Gaffney, J. and Lahel, A. (2013) 'Political Performance and Leadership Persona: The UK Labour Party Conference of 2012', Government and opposition., Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 481-505.

Goes, E. (2015) The Labour Party under Ed Miliband : trying but failing to renew social democracy (Manchester University Press)

Pemberton, H. and Wickham-Jones, M. (2013) 'Brothers All? The Operation of the Electoral College in the 2010 Labour Leadership Contest', Parliamentary affairs., Vol. 66, No.4, pp. 708-731

Repudiating New Labour: The Rise of the Left 2015-

Bale, T. (2016) 'The Corbyn Problem and the Future of Labour', Political Insight, Vol. 7, No. 3

Crines, A. (2015) ˜Reforming Labour: The Leadership of Jeremy Corbyn', Political Insight, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 4-7.

Diamond, P. (2016a) Learning the Lessons from Defeat: The Labour Party's Beckett Report and the Alternative', The political quarterly., Vol. 87, No. 3, pp. 431-6.

Diamond, P. (2016) 'Assessing the Performance of UK Opposition Leaders: Jeremy Corbyn's Straight Talking, Honest Politics', Politics and Governance, Vol.4, No. 2, pp. 15-24. available online

Dorey, P. and Denham, A. (2016) ˜The Longest Suicide Vote in History: The Labour Party Leadership Election of 2015', British politics., Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 259-82. 

Dorey, P. (2017) 'Jeremy Corbyn confounds his critics: explaining the Labour Party's remarkable resurgence in the 2017 election', British politics., Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 308-24.

Jeffery, D., Crines, A. and Heppell, T. (2018). The British Labour Party and Leadership Election Mandate(s) of Jeremy Corbyn: Patterns of Opinion and Opposition within the Parliamentary Labour Party. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties.

Quinn, T. (2016)˜The British Labour Leadership Election of 2015', British journal of politics & international relations., Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 759-78.

Richards, S. (2016) 'Leadership, loyalty and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn', The political quarterly., Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 12-17.

Russell, M. (2016) 'Corbyn as an Organisational Phenomenon: A Response to Steve Richards', The political quarterly., Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 20-2.

This list was last updated on 04/01/2022