Tam Dalyell was born on 9 August 1932, son of Gordon Loch (who later took the name of Gordon Dalyell of the Binns) and Eleanor Dalyell, who succeeded her father as the 10th Baronet. He was educated at Eton, and King's College, University of Cambridge, then studied at Moray House Teachers' Training College, Edinburgh. In 1963 he married Kathleen Dalyell, having one son and one daughter.
After his National Service (Dalyell was a trooper in the Royal Scots Greys, 1950-52), Dalyell worked as a teacher at Bo'ness High School, 1956-60, also standing unsuccessfully as the Labour candidate for Roxburgh, Selkirk, and Peebles in 1959. His next teaching position was as Deputy-Director of Studies on the British India ship-school, Dunera, 1961-62, then in 1962 he was elected as MP for West Lothian, a seat which he was to hold until 1983, when he became MP for Linlithgow.
Dalyell's political career included the following posts: Member of the Public Accounts Committee, House of Commons, 1962-66; Secretary, Labour Party Standing Conference on the Sciences, 1962-64; Parliamentary Private Secretary to Richard Crossman, Minister of Housing, Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for the Social Services, 1964-70; Opposition spokesman on science, 1980-82. Dalyell also worked as a political columnist for New Scientist magazine from 1967.
Dalyell served as Chairman for the following committees: Labour Education Committee, 1964-65; Labour Sports Group, 1964-74; Labour Foreign Affairs Group, 1974-75. He was Vice-Chairman of the following: Labour Defence and Foreign Affairs Groups, 1972-74; Scottish Labour Group of MPs, 1973-75; the Parliamentary Labour Party, November 1974; Sub-Committee on Public Accounts. He was a member of: the Labour Party National Executive Committee, 1986-87; the European Parliament, 1975-79; European Parliament Budget Committee, 1976-79; European Parliament Energy Committee, 1979; House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, 1967-69; Liaison Committee between Cabinet and the Labour Party, 1974-76; Council, National Trust for Scotland; Scottish Council for Development and Industry Trade Delegation to China, November 1971.
Dalyell continued to serve as MP for Linlithgow until he stood down in 2005, having become Father of the House (ie the MP with the longest unbroken service in the House of Commons) in 2001, after the retirement of Sir Edward Heath.
His publications include: The Case of Ship-Schools, 1960; Ship-School Dunera, 1963; Devolution: the end of Britain?, 1977; One Man's Falklands, 1982; A Science Policy for Britain, 1983; Thatcher's Torpedo, 1983; Misrule, 1987; Dick Crossman: a portrait, 1989.
The papers include files on the following: the ship-school Dunera; Dalyell's role as Labour spokesman on science; the Falklands War; the Westland affair; the first Gulf War; the first, second and third governments of Tony Blair and the end of John Major's government; the Iraq War; ministerial correspondence; visits by Dalyell; constituency files; notes for Dalyell's biography of Crossman and a book on British government; Dalyell's own journalism.
The papers were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Tam Dalyell in 2007 and 2010.
The two accessions have been box-listed, but have not yet been fully catalogued or sorted. They are mostly open to researchers. Certain items have been closed and these closures are marked in the draft lists available.
Most of Tam Dalyell's papers relating to Devolution are held by the National Library of Scotland.
Some of Tam Dalyell's papers relating to Richard Crossman are held by the Modern Records Centre, Warwick University (reference: DAL).
Some of Tam Dalyell's papers relating to his constituency are held by West Lothian Council Archives and Records Centre.
A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and on the Janus website, http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/, while copies of the box lists are available at Churchill Archives Centre.
This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in June 2009, using biographical information from Who's Who and also an existing boxlist to the papers.