Galpern was educated at Glasgow University and was a house furnisher. He was an Independent Labour Party councillor for the Shettleston and Tollcross ward on the Glasgow Corporation from 1932 to 1947. He joined the Labour Party in 1947, and was re-elected as councillor for Shettleston and Tollcross in 1949.
Galpern served as convener of the education committee (1954-1958), before being appointed in 1958 as leader of the Labour group on Glasgow Corporation and leader of the city's administration. He served as Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1958 to 1960 (the first Jewish provost in Scotland). He was a member of the Court of Glasgow University, a governor of the Royal College of Science and Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Glasgow from 1962.
Galpern was Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow Shettleston from 1959 to 1979. He was a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons during his final five-year term as an MP, from 1974 to 1979. Having been Knighted in 1960, he was given a life peerage as Baron Galpern, of Shettleston in the District of the City of Glasgow 10 July 1979.
- Times Guide to the House of Commons, October 1974
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Myer Galpern
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