Alf Morris

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The Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Morris of Manchester.jpg
Morris in 2010.
Minister of State for Social Security
(Minister for the Disabled)
In office
10 October 1974 – 4 May 1979
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byFirst Minister for the Disabled in the world
Succeeded byReg Prentice
Member of Parliament
for Manchester Wythenshawe
In office
15 October 1964 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byEveline Hill
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born(1928-03-23)23 March 1928
Manchester, England
Died12 August 2012(2012-08-12) (aged 84)
Political partyLabour Co-operative
Irene Jones (m. 1950)
Children2 daughters and 2 sons[1]

Alfred Morris, Baron Morris of Manchester, AO QSO PC (23 March 1928 –12 August 2012) was a British Labour Co-operative politician and disability campaigner.

Political career[edit]

Morris served as Member of Parliament for Manchester Wythenshawe from 1964 until 1997, having previously unsuccessfully fought the, then, safe Conservative seat of Liverpool Garston in 1951 and the Wythenshawe seat in 1959.[2] He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Fred Peart, the Agriculture Minister. Morris campaigned against British entry to the Common Market and in May 1967 Prime Minister Harold Wilson sacked him, and six others, for abstaining in a Commons vote on the issue. Fred Peart did not appoint a replacement and Morris continued to work for him, albeit unofficially. In 1968, Peart became Leader of the Commons and reappointed Morris as his Parliamentary Private Secretary.[1]

In 1970 Morris successfully introduced the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, which was the first in the world to recognise and give rights to people with disabilities.[3][4] In 1974 he became the first Minister for the Disabled anywhere in the world.[5][6] In 1991 he introduced a Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill and he led campaigns on Gulf War Syndrome.[2]

He was created a life peer as Lord Morris of Manchester, of Manchester in the County of Greater Manchester, in 1997.[7] He was a life member of the GMB Union.[clarification needed] He served as President of the 1995 Co-operative Congress.[8]


Morris (one of the eight children of George Henry Morris and his wife Jessie Murphy) was raised in poor circumstances in Grace Street, Ancoats, Manchester.[5]

In 1935, the family left Ancoats and moved to a new housing estate in Newton Heath.[7] He was educated at Brookdale Park School Newton Heath along with Harold Evans, who, as editor of The Sunday Times,[7] wrote a leader saying that: "As time ticked away to the 1970 general election, Alf Morris's Bill was the only piece of legislation worth saving." He received evening school tuition. He worked from the age of 14 as a clerk in the local Wilson's Brewery.

Morris, whose father lost an eye and a leg and was gassed while serving in the First World War, and then suffered a long decline in health and eventual death arising from his injuries, became a campaigner on behalf of those with disabilities.[7] After his father's death, Morris's mother was not entitled to a war widow's pension.[5] Forty years later, Morris himself put the matter right by changing the law affecting armed forces pensions when he became the UK and the World's first Minister for the Disabled.

Morris did his national service in the army, mainly in the Middle East, from 1946–48.[7] He then studied at Ruskin College, Oxford (1949–1950), St Catherine's College, Oxford[7] (BA modern history 1953) and the Department of Education, Manchester University.

Morris worked as a Manchester schoolteacher[7] and university extension lecturer in social history (1954–1956) and as an Industrial relations officer to the Electrical Supply Industry (1956–1964).


He married Irene Jones in 1950.[9] They had two sons and two daughters.

His brother Charles Morris and his niece Estelle Morris have also served as Labour MPs.[7]

Lord Morris died in hospital on Sunday 12 August 2012 after a short illness, aged 84.[10] He was survived by his wife and children.

Awards and Honours[edit]


  • The Growth of Parliamentary Scrutiny by Committee (Oxford, Pergamon P., 1970).[11]
  • Needs before Means: an exposition of the underlying purposes of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970 (Manchester, Co-operative Union, 1971).[11]
  • No Feet to Drag: report on the disabled (London, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1972).[11]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lord Morris of Manchester". The Telegraph. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  2. ^ a b Cleminson, Peter "Alf Morris: the people's parliamentarian", The Legion, retrieved 23 January 2010
  3. ^ "Forty years of Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act". BBC. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  4. ^ Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (UK)
  5. ^ a b c Frame, Don (2008) "Lord Morris tells his tale", Manchester Evening News, 21 January 2008, retrieved 23 January 2010
  6. ^ "Alf Morris: The law that changed the world, one step at a time", Yorkshire Post, 3 December 2009, retrieved 23 January 2010
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Inspirational MP owes it all to his childhood", The Advertiser, 11 October 2007, retrieved 23 January 2010
  8. ^ "Congress Presidents 1869–2002" (PDF). National Co-operative Archive. February 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  9. ^ Dalyell, Tim (2006) "Sir Robert Calderwood", The Independent, 2 June 2006, retrieved 23 January 2010
  10. ^ "BBC News - Disabled rights pioneer Lord Morris of Manchester dies". 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Morris, Alfred". The Archives hub. 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  12. ^ Lynne Williams (1997-08-13). "Honorary degrees". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  13. ^ Lynne Williams (1998-05-29). "Honorary degrees". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  14. ^ a b Anthony Murray (14 August 2012). "Co-operator & champion of the disabled, Lord Morris, dies aged 84". Co-operative News. Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Eveline Hill
Member of Parliament for Manchester Wythenshawe
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
First Minister for the Disabled in the world
Minister of State for Social Security (Minister for the Disabled) Succeeded by
Reg Prentice