Born in Northampton, Chater attended Northampton Town and County Grammar School, and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) whilst in the sixth form. Chater then studied at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London, completing a BSc and a PhD in chemistry. After a two years post-doctoral research fellowship at the Dominion Experimental Farm, Canada, and a year in Brussels studying biochemistry, he returned to Britain to teach, eventually working at the Luton College of Technology. He stood in the Luton by-election, 1963 as a CPGB candidate, but took last place with only 593 votes. Despite this, he stood in Luton again in 1964, 1966 and 1970, without success.
In 1969, Chater began working full-time for the CPGB, and in 1974 he became editor of The Morning Star, a daily paper associated with the party. He attempted to get the party executive to prioritise increasing sales, with limited success. By 1982, the paper and party were coming into open conflict, disagreeing on approaches to the shop stewards' movement. The following year, the party leadership attempted to remove Chater's supporters from the executive of the co-operative which published the paper but, instead, Chater's supporters defeated the party leadership's candidates. An opposition coalesced around Chater and Mick Costello, but they were defeated at the 1987 Party Congress and subsequently founded the Communist Party of Britain.
Chater stood down as editor of the Morning Star in 1995.
- Graham Stevenson, "Chater Tony", Compendium of Communist Biographies
- 1963 By Elections, British Election Ephemera Archive
- "1976-1985: The Party and the paper attacked", Communist Party of Britain
- Keith Laybourn, Marxism in Britain: dissent, decline and re-emergence 1945-c.2000, pp.116-118
- Peter Barberis et al, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, pp.144-145
|Editor of The Morning Star