Padley, Walter

First name/s: Walter
Last name: Padley
Known names / nicknames:
Date of birth: 24/07/1916
Year of birth: 1916

Life before Ruskin

Date and place of birth 24 July 1916, Chipping Norton

Clerk, The Cooperative Wholesale Society
Politics/Trade union activity

ILP member

Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin)

Life at Ruskin

Dates at Ruskin 1930s
Source of funding TUC Scholarship
Campaigns/political activity
A Red Shirt (name of the Ruskin anti-fascist group) , anti-fascist, revolutionary, Trotskyist
Subjects studied at Ruskin

Life after Ruskin

Politics/trade union activity

Registered as a conscientious objector at the outbreak of the Second World War, served in the non-combatant corps.

President, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, 1948-64

Labour MP, 1950-1979

Foreign Minister 1964-1967
Place & date of death 1984

Date of death:
Year of death: 1984

Achievements / Publications

The Economic Problem of the Peace (1944)

Am I my Brother’s Keeper? (1945)

Britain: Pawn or Power? (1947)

USSR: Empire or Free Union? (1949)

Material in archives or already published articles

Dave Renton, Red Shirts and Black: Fascists and Anti-Fascists in Oxford in the 1930s, 1996


On record of parliamentary speeches:


Padley, Walter Ernest’, Welsh Biography Online,



Notes on Image/s

Comment of contributor/s and sources

Despite the paucity of references I have compiled for Walter Padley, he is an important and interesting figure, inexplicably ignored. Walter Padley represents a twentieth century development of labour and the Labour Party: from ILP pacificism and Trotskyist revolution to a moment of reflections and interventions in the post Second World War settlement. Padley was elected a Labour MP in 1950 then appointed as Foreign Minister in 1964; he held office during a crucial period of de-colonisation. More can be found about him, I would suspect, in biographies of the named and famed leaders of the Labour Party, (Harold Wilson, for example), so perhaps it may be possible to piece together his political journey.

The Welsh Biography on line by Dr John Graham is a good starting point for Padley’s biography (, it focuses on his achievement rather than politics, however. Just a look at the Hansard speeches indicates  Walter Padley’s importance as a historical figure or at least how he negotiated political beliefs, political office and a changing political world


Louise Purbrick

created 10/10/2013 at 2:46 pm, updated 29/09/2014 at 3:18 pm

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