Russell Kerr was born in 1921. Educated in Australia he obtained a degree in economics at Sydney University. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force.
After the war he joined the Labour Party and was a member of the National Executive of the Association of Scientific Technical and Managerial Staffs. In 1960 he married Anne Kerr.
Kerr was elected to represent Feltham in the 1966 General Election. In the House of Commons Kerr associated with a group of left-wing members that included Konni Zilliacus, Ian Mikardo, Barbara Castle, Sydney Silverman, Geoffrey Bing and Emrys Hughes.
In 1966 Kerr joined Michael Foot, Konni Zilliacus, William Warbey, Anne Kerr, Stan Newens, Norman Atkinson, John Mendelson and Sydney Silverman in protesting against American intervention in Vietnam. However, Kerr and his friends were unable to persuade the Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, to condemn US policy on Vietnam.
Kerr was chairman of the Tribune Group (1969-70) and the Select Committee on Nationalized Industries (1974-79).