Clement Attlee
Overview
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, PC, FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 Labour politician
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 who served as the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 from 1935
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1935
The 1935 Labour Party leadership election took place on 26 November 1935 when Herbert Morrison and Arthur Greenwood challenged Clement Attlee, the incumbent party leader of only one month and one day. Attlee, previously the party's Deputy Leader, had been appointed as an interim leader the previous...

 to 1955
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1955
The British Labour Party leadership election of 1955 was held following the resignation of Clement Attlee. Attlee had been Prime Minister 1945—1951 and had stayed on as leader of the Labour Party until he lost the 1955 general election.-Candidates:...

. He was also the first person to hold the office of Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a senior member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. The office of the Deputy Prime Minister is not a permanent position, existing only at the discretion of the Prime Minister, who may appoint to other offices...

, under Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 in the wartime coalition government
Coalition Government 1940-1945
Members of the War Cabinet are in bold face.-Source:* D. Butler and G. Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000....

, before leading the Labour Party to a landslide election victory over Churchill's Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 in 1945
United Kingdom general election, 1945
The United Kingdom general election of 1945 was a general election held on 5 July 1945, with polls in some constituencies delayed until 12 July and in Nelson and Colne until 19 July, due to local wakes weeks. The results were counted and declared on 26 July, due in part to the time it took to...

. He was the first Labour Prime Minister to serve a full Parliamentary term, and the first to command a Labour majority in Parliament.

The government he led put in place the post-war settlement, based upon the assumption that full employment
Full employment
In macroeconomics, full employment is a condition of the national economy, where all or nearly all persons willing and able to work at the prevailing wages and working conditions are able to do so....

 would be maintained by Keynesian policies, and that a greatly enlarged system of social services would be created – aspirations that had been outlined in the wartime Beveridge Report
Beveridge Report
The Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, known commonly as the Beveridge Report was an influential document in the founding of the Welfare State in the United Kingdom...

.
Quotations

... the Treaty of Versailles|Peace Treaties must be scrapped ... I stand for no more war and no more secret diplomacy.

T.W. Walding (ed.), "Who's Who in the New Parliament:Members and their pledges" (Philip Gee, London, 1922), p. 35.

We have absolutely abandoned any idea of nationalist loyalty.

Speech to the Labour Party Conference in Southport, October 1934.

The Government has now resolved to enter upon an arms race, and the people will have to pay for their mistake in believing that it could be trusted to carry out a policy of peace. ... This is a War Budget. We can look in the future for no advance in Social Legislation. All available resources are to be devoted to armaments.

"Mr. Attlee on a war budget", The Times, 23 April 1936, p. 16.

Not Churchill. Sixty-five, old for a Churchill.

Harold Wilson, "Memoirs 1916-1964: The Making of a Prime Minister" (Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Michael Joseph, London, 1986), p. 54.

Encyclopedia
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, PC, FRS (3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967) was a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 Labour politician
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 who served as the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 from 1935
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1935
The 1935 Labour Party leadership election took place on 26 November 1935 when Herbert Morrison and Arthur Greenwood challenged Clement Attlee, the incumbent party leader of only one month and one day. Attlee, previously the party's Deputy Leader, had been appointed as an interim leader the previous...

 to 1955
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1955
The British Labour Party leadership election of 1955 was held following the resignation of Clement Attlee. Attlee had been Prime Minister 1945—1951 and had stayed on as leader of the Labour Party until he lost the 1955 general election.-Candidates:...

. He was also the first person to hold the office of Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a senior member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. The office of the Deputy Prime Minister is not a permanent position, existing only at the discretion of the Prime Minister, who may appoint to other offices...

, under Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 in the wartime coalition government
Coalition Government 1940-1945
Members of the War Cabinet are in bold face.-Source:* D. Butler and G. Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000....

, before leading the Labour Party to a landslide election victory over Churchill's Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 in 1945
United Kingdom general election, 1945
The United Kingdom general election of 1945 was a general election held on 5 July 1945, with polls in some constituencies delayed until 12 July and in Nelson and Colne until 19 July, due to local wakes weeks. The results were counted and declared on 26 July, due in part to the time it took to...

. He was the first Labour Prime Minister to serve a full Parliamentary term, and the first to command a Labour majority in Parliament.

The government he led put in place the post-war settlement, based upon the assumption that full employment
Full employment
In macroeconomics, full employment is a condition of the national economy, where all or nearly all persons willing and able to work at the prevailing wages and working conditions are able to do so....

 would be maintained by Keynesian policies, and that a greatly enlarged system of social services would be created – aspirations that had been outlined in the wartime Beveridge Report
Beveridge Report
The Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, known commonly as the Beveridge Report was an influential document in the founding of the Welfare State in the United Kingdom...

. Within this context, his government undertook the nationalisation of major industries and public utilities
Public utility
A public utility is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service . Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to state-wide government monopolies...

 as well as the creation of the National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

. After initial Conservative opposition to Keynesian fiscal policy, this settlement was broadly accepted by all parties
Post-war consensus
The post-war consensus is a name given by historians to an era in British political history which lasted from the end of World War II in 1945 to the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979....

 until Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 became Prime Minister in 1979.

His government also presided over the decolonisation of a large part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 when India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Burma, Ceylon and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 were granted independence. The British Mandate of Palestine also came to an end with the creation of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 on the day of British withdrawal.

In 2004, he was voted the greatest British prime minister of the 20th century in a poll of 139 academics organised by MORI
MORI
Ipsos MORI is the second largest market research organisation in the United Kingdom, formed by a merger of Ipsos UK and MORI, two of the Britain's leading survey companies in October 2005...

.

Early life and family

Attlee was born in Putney
Putney
Putney is a district in south-west London, England, located in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is situated south-west of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London....

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the seventh of eight children. His father was Henry Attlee (1841–1908), a solicitor, and his mother was Ellen Bravery Watson (1847–1920).

Education

Attlee was educated at Northaw School, a boys' preparatory school near Pluckley
Pluckley
Pluckley is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, United Kingdom. It is located close to the North Downs, and is approximately 5 miles west of Ashford...

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 (which in 1952 was relocated and named Norman Court School), Haileybury College, and University College, Oxford
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

, where he graduated with a Second Class Honours
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...

 BA in Modern History
Modern history
Modern history, or the modern era, describes the historical timeline after the Middle Ages. Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution...

 in 1904. Attlee then trained as a lawyer, and was called to the Bar in 1906.

Life and career

From 1906
1906 in the United Kingdom
Events from the year 1906 in the United Kingdom.-Incumbents:*Monarch - King Edward VII*Prime Minister - Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Liberal-Events:...

 to 1909
1909 in the United Kingdom
Events from the year 1909 in the United Kingdom.-Incumbents:*Monarch - King Edward VII*Prime Minister - H. H. Asquith, Liberal-Events:* 1 January - National old age pension scheme comes into force....

, Attlee worked as manager of Haileybury House, a charitable club for working-class boys in Limehouse
Limehouse
Limehouse is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is on the northern bank of the River Thames opposite Rotherhithe and between Ratcliff to the west and Millwall to the east....

 in the East End of London
East End of London
The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, is the area of London, England, United Kingdom, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Although not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries, the River Lea can be considered another boundary...

 run by his old school. Prior to this, his political views had been conservative. However, he was shocked by the poverty and deprivation he saw while working with slum
Slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

 children. He came to the view that private charity
Charitable organization
A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization . It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A...

 would never be sufficient to alleviate poverty, and only massive action and income redistribution by the state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 would have any serious effect. This caused him to convert to socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

. He joined the Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893. The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave...

 in 1908, and became active in London local politics.

In 1909 he worked briefly as secretary for Beatrice Webb
Beatrice Webb
Martha Beatrice Webb, Lady Passfield was an English sociologist, economist, socialist and social reformer. Although her husband became Baron Passfield in 1929, she refused to be known as Lady Passfield...

, and from 1909 to 1910 he worked as secretary for Toynbee Hall
Toynbee Hall
Toynbee Hall is a building in Tower Hamlets, East London which is the home of a charity working to bridge the gap between people of all social and financial backgrounds, with a focus on eradicating poverty and promoting social inclusion....

. In 1911 he took up a government job as an "official explainer", touring the country to explain David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

's National Insurance Act. He spent the summer of that year touring Essex
Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

 and Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

 on a bicycle, explaining the Act at public meetings.

Attlee became a lecturer at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 in 1912, but promptly applied for a Commission in August 1914 for World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Military service during World War I

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Attlee was given the rank of captain
Captain (British Army and Royal Marines)
Captain is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above Lieutenant and below Major and has a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force...

 and served with the South Lancashire Regiment in the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. After a period of fighting in the heat, sand and flies he became ill with dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

 and was sent to hospital in Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 to recover. This may have saved his life, as while he was in hospital he missed the Battle of Sari Bair
Battle of Sari Bair
The Battle of Sari Bair , also known as the August Offensive, was the final attempt made by the British in August 1915 to seize control of the Gallipoli peninsula from the Ottoman Empire during First World War.The Battle of Gallipoli had raged on two fronts, Anzac and Helles, for three months since...

 in which many of his comrades were killed.

Attlee had gained a reputation among his superiors as a competent leader. When he returned to the front, he was informed that his company had been chosen to hold the final lines when Gallipoli was evacuated. He was the last-but-one man to be evacuated from Suvla Bay (the last being General F.S. Maude
Frederick Stanley Maude
Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude KCB, CMG, DSO was a British commander, most famous for his efforts in Mesopotamia during World War I and for conquering Baghdad in 1917.-Family:...

).

The Gallipoli Campaign had been masterminded by Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

. Attlee believed that it was a bold strategy, which could have been successful if it had been better implemented. This gave him an admiration for Churchill as a military strategist, which improved their working relationship in later years.

He later served in the Mesopotamian Campaign
Mesopotamian Campaign
The Mesopotamian campaign was a campaign in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I fought between the Allies represented by the British Empire, mostly troops from the Indian Empire, and the Central Powers, mostly of the Ottoman Empire.- Background :...

 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, where he was badly wounded at El Hannah
Battle of Hanna
The First Battle of Hanna was a World War I battle fought on the Mesopotamian front on 21 January 1916 between Ottoman Army and Anglo-Indian forces.-Prelude:...

 after being hit in the leg by shrapnel from an exploding shell while taking enemy trenches. He was sent back to England to recover, and spent most of 1917 training soldiers. He was sent to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in June 1918 to serve on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 for the last months of the war.

In 1917 he had been promoted to the rank of Major, and continued to be known as "Major Attlee" for much of the inter-war period
Interwar period
Interwar period can refer to any period between two wars. The Interbellum is understood to be the period between the end of the Great War or First World War and the beginning of the Second World War in Europe....

.

His decision to fight in the war caused a rift between him and his older brother Tom Attlee, who as a pacifist and a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 spent much of the war in prison. After the war, he returned to teaching at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 until 1923.

Marriage and children

Attlee met Violet Millar on a trip to Italy in 1921. Within a few weeks of their return they became engaged and were married at Christ Church, Hampstead
Christ Church, Hampstead
Christ Church Hampstead is a Church of England church in Hampstead, London. It is the original church of Hampstead and the Heath.-History:The present church was erected between 1850 and 1852 to designs by the architect Samuel Daukes in the Early English Gothic style. In 1860 a timber gallery was...

 on 10 January 1922. It would come to be a devoted marriage, until her death in 1964. They had four children: (Lady) Janet Helen (b. 1923), (Lady) Felicity Ann (1925–2007), Martin Richard
Martin Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee
Martin Richard Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee was a British politician, son of former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, the first Earl Attlee. Martin inherited the title on his father's death in 1967...

 (1927–91) and (Lady) Alison Elizabeth (b. 1930).

Local politics

Attlee returned to local politics
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 in the immediate post-war period, becoming mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney
Metropolitan Borough of Stepney
The Metropolitan Borough of Stepney was a Metropolitan borough in the County of London created in 1900. In 1965 it became part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.-Boundaries:...

 in 1919
1919 in the United Kingdom
Events from the year 1919 in the United Kingdom.-Incumbents:*Monarch - King George V*Prime Minister - David Lloyd George, coalition-Events:* 1 January - In Scotland, HMS Iolaire is wrecked on rocks: 205 die....

, one of London's poorest inner-city boroughs. During his time as mayor, the council undertook action to tackle slum
Slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

 landlord
Landlord
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant . When a juristic person is in this position, the term landlord is used. Other terms include lessor and owner...

s who charged high rents but refused to spend money on keeping their property in habitable condition. The council served and enforced legal orders on house-owners to repair their property. It also appointed health visitors and sanitary inspectors, and reduced the infant mortality rate.

In 1920, while mayor, he wrote his first book, The Social Worker, which set out many of the principles that informed his political philosophy and that were to underpin the actions of his government in later years. The book attacked the idea that looking after the poor could be left to voluntary action. He wrote:

"Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim."


He went on to write:
"In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways – they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community. The first way is intolerable, and as for the third: Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient’s character, and terminable at his caprice."


He strongly supported the Poplar Rates Rebellion
Poplar Rates Rebellion
The Poplar Rates Rebellion, or Poplar Rates Revolt was a tax protest that took place in Poplar, London, England, in 1921. It was led by George Lansbury, the previous year's Labour Mayor of Poplar, with the support of the Poplar Borough Council, most of whom were industrial workers. The protest...

 led by George Lansbury
George Lansbury
George Lansbury was a British politician, socialist, Christian pacifist and newspaper editor. He was a Member of Parliament from 1910 to 1912 and from 1922 to 1940, and leader of the Labour Party from 1932 to 1935....

 in 1921. This put him into conflict with many of the leaders of the London Labour Party, including Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

.

Member of Parliament

At the 1922 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1922
The United Kingdom general election of 1922 was held on 15 November 1922. It was the first election held after most of the Irish counties left the United Kingdom to form the Irish Free State, and was won by Andrew Bonar Law's Conservatives, who gained an overall majority over Labour, led by John...

, Attlee became the Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for the constituency of Limehouse
Limehouse (UK Parliament constituency)
Limehouse was a borough constituency centred on the Limehouse district of the East End of London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.- History :...

 in Stepney
Stepney
Stepney is a district of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in London's East End that grew out of a medieval village around St Dunstan's church and the 15th century ribbon development of Mile End Road...

. He helped Ramsay MacDonald
Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS was a British politician who was the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority government for two terms....

, whom at the time he admired, get elected as Labour Party leader at the 1922 Labour leadership election
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1922
The Labour Party leadership election of 1922 was the first leadership election for the posts of Chairman and Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Previously the position had been simply the "Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party"....

, a decision which he later regretted. He served as Ramsay MacDonald's parliamentary private secretary
Parliamentary Private Secretary
A Parliamentary Private Secretary is a role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as their contact for the House of Commons; this role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by...

 for the brief 1922 parliament.

His first taste of ministerial office came in 1924, when he served as Under-Secretary of State for War in the short-lived first Labour government, led by MacDonald.

Attlee opposed the 1926 General Strike, believing that strike action should not be used as a political weapon. However, when it happened he did not attempt to undermine it. At the time of the strike he was chairman of the Stepney Borough Electricity Committee. He negotiated a deal with the Electrical Trade Union that they would continue to supply power to hospitals, but would end supplies to factories. One firm, Scammell and Nephew Ltd, took a civil action against Attlee and the other Labour members of the committee (although not against the Conservative members who had also supported this). The court found against Attlee and his fellow councillors and they were ordered to pay £300 damages. The decision was later reversed on appeal, but the financial problems caused by the episode almost forced Attlee out of politics.

In 1927 he was appointed a member of the multi-party Simon Commission
Simon Commission
The Indian Statutory Commission was a group of seven British Members of Parliament that had been dispatched to India in 1927 to study constitutional reform in Britain's most important colonial dependency. It was commonly referred to as the Simon Commission after its chairman, Sir John Simon...

, a Royal Commission
Royal Commission
In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

 set up to examine the possibility of granting self-rule
Self-governance
Self-governance is an abstract concept that refers to several scales of organization.It may refer to personal conduct or family units but more commonly refers to larger scale activities, i.e., professions, industry bodies, religions and political units , up to and including autonomous regions and...

 to India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

. As a result of the time he needed to devote to the commission, and contrary to a promise made to Attlee by MacDonald to induce him to serve on the commission, he was not initially offered a ministerial post in the Second Labour Government. However, his unsought service on the Commission was to equip Attlee (who was later to have to decide the future of India as Prime Minister) with a thorough exposure to India and many of its political leaders.

In 1930, Labour MP Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, was an English politician, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists...

 left the party after its rejection of his proposals for solving the unemployment problem. Attlee was given Mosley's post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

. He was Postmaster-General at the time of the 1931 crisis, during which most of the party's leaders lost their seats. During the course of the second Labour government, Attlee had become increasingly disillusioned by Ramsay MacDonald, whom he came to regard as vain
Vanity
In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th century it did not have such narcissistic undertones, and merely meant futility. The related term vainglory is now often seen as an archaic synonym for vanity, but...

 and incompetent, and later wrote scathingly of him in his autobiography.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

After the downfall of the second Labour government, the 1931 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1931
The United Kingdom general election on Tuesday 27 October 1931 was the last in the United Kingdom not held on a Thursday. It was also the last election, and the only one under universal suffrage, where one party received an absolute majority of the votes cast.The 1931 general election was the...

 was held. The election was a disaster for the Labour Party, which lost over 200 seats; most of the party's senior figures lost their seats, including Arthur Henderson
Arthur Henderson
Arthur Henderson was a British iron moulder and Labour politician. He was the 1934 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and he served three short terms as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1908–1910, 1914–1917 and 1931-1932....

 the party leader. George Lansbury
George Lansbury
George Lansbury was a British politician, socialist, Christian pacifist and newspaper editor. He was a Member of Parliament from 1910 to 1912 and from 1922 to 1940, and leader of the Labour Party from 1932 to 1935....

 and Attlee were among the few surviving Labour MPs who had served in government. Accordingly, Lansbury became leader of the party and Attlee became deputy leader.

Attlee served as acting leader for nine months from December 1933, after Lansbury fractured his thigh in an accident. This raised his public profile. During this period, financial problems again almost forced Attlee to quit politics, as his wife was ill, and there was then no separate salary for the Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition (UK)
The Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition in the United Kingdom is the politician who leads the Official Opposition in the United Kingdom. There is also a Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords...

. He was persuaded to stay on, however, by Stafford Cripps
Stafford Cripps
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

, a wealthy socialist who agreed to pay him an additional salary.

Leader of the Opposition

George Lansbury, a convinced pacifist, resigned as leader at the 1935 Labour Party conference, after the party voted in favour of sanctions against Italy for its aggression against Abyssinia
Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

, a policy which Lansbury strongly opposed. With a general election looming, the Parliamentary Labour Party then appointed Attlee as interim leader
Interim leader
An interim leader, in Canadian politics, is a party leader appointed by the party's legislative caucus or the party's executive to temporarily act as leader when a gap occurs between the resignation or death of a party leader and the election of a formal successor...

, on the understanding that a leadership election would be held after the general election.

Attlee led Labour through the 1935 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1935
The United Kingdom general election held on 14 November 1935 resulted in a large, though reduced, majority for the National Government now led by Conservative Stanley Baldwin. The greatest number of MPs, as before, were Conservative, while the National Liberal vote held steady...

, which saw the party stage a partial recovery from its disastrous performance in 1931, gaining over one hundred seats. In the post-election leadership contest
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1935
The 1935 Labour Party leadership election took place on 26 November 1935 when Herbert Morrison and Arthur Greenwood challenged Clement Attlee, the incumbent party leader of only one month and one day. Attlee, previously the party's Deputy Leader, had been appointed as an interim leader the previous...

 held in November 1935, Attlee was opposed by Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

 and Arthur Greenwood
Arthur Greenwood
Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

. Morrison was seen as the favourite by many, but was distrusted by many sections of the party, especially the left. Arthur Greenwood's leadership bid was hampered by his alcohol problem
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

. Attlee came first in both the first and second ballots, and subsequently retained the leadership, a post which he would retain until 1955.

Throughout the 1920s
1920s
File:1920s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Third Tipperary Brigade Flying Column No. 2 under Sean Hogan during the Irish Civil War; Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol in accordance to the 18th amendment, which made alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the entire decade; In...

 and most of the 1930s
1930s
File:1930s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Dorothea Lange's photo of the homeless Florence Thompson show the effects of the Great Depression; Due to the economic collapse, the farms become dry and the Dust Bowl spreads through America; The Battle of Wuhan during the Second Sino-Japanese...

, the Labour Party's official policy, supported by Attlee, was to oppose rearmament, and support collective security
Collective security
Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, regional or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and agrees to join in a collective response to threats to, and breaches of, the peace...

 under the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. However, with the rising threat from Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, and the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations, this policy lost credibility. By 1937, Labour had jettisoned its pacifist position and came to support rearmament and oppose Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

's policy of appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

.

In 1937, Attlee visited Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and visited the British Battalion
British Battalion
The British Battalion was the 16th battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.- Early volunteers :A number of British volunteers, including Tom Wintringham and Nat Cohen, arrived in Spain during August-September 1936 and formed the Tom Mann Centuria - a rifle company in...

 of the International Brigades
International Brigades
The International Brigades were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to defend the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939....

 fighting in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. One of the companies was named the 'Major Attlee Company' in his honour.

Deputy Prime Minister

Attlee remained opposition leader when war broke out in September 1939. The disastrous Norwegian campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

 resulted in a motion of no confidence
Norway Debate
The Norway Debate, sometimes called the Narvik Debate, was a famous debate in the British House of Commons that took place in May 1940. It led to the formation of a widely-based National Government led by Winston Churchill which was to govern Britain until the end of World War II in Europe...

 in the government. Although Chamberlain survived this, the reputation of his administration was so badly damaged that it was clear that a coalition government
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 was necessary. The crisis coincided with the Labour Party Conference. Even if Attlee had been prepared to serve under Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 (in a "national emergency government"), he would not have been able to carry the party with him. Consequently, Chamberlain tendered his resignation, and Labour and the Conservatives entered a coalition government led by Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

.

In the World War II coalition government, three interconnected committees ran the war. Churchill chaired the War Cabinet
War Cabinet
A War Cabinet is a committee formed by a government in a time of war. It is usually a subset of the full executive cabinet of ministers. It is also quite common for a War Cabinet to have senior military officers and opposition politicians as members....

 and the Defence Committee. Attlee was his regular deputy in these committees, and answered for the government in parliament when Churchill was absent. Attlee chaired the third body, the Lord President's Committee
Lord President's Committee
The Lord President's Committee was a United Kingdom cabinet committee during the Second World War. This committee oversaw many aspects of home affairs, most notably the economy, and was vital to the smooth running of the British war economy and consequently the entire British war effort...

, which ran the civil side of the war. As Churchill was most concerned with executing the war, the arrangement suited both men.

Only he and Churchill remained in the war cabinet from the formation of the Government of National Unity to the 1945 election. Attlee was Lord Privy Seal
Lord Privy Seal
The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

 (1940–42), Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a senior member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. The office of the Deputy Prime Minister is not a permanent position, existing only at the discretion of the Prime Minister, who may appoint to other offices...

 (1942–45), Dominions Secretary
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet level position created in 1925 responsible for British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State, as well as the self-governing colony of...

 (1942–43), and Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

 (1943–45). Attlee supported Churchill in his continuation of Britain's resistance after the French capitulation in 1940, and proved a loyal ally to Churchill throughout the conflict; when the war cabinet had voted on whether to negotiate peace terms, Attlee (along with fellow Labour minister Arthur Greenwood
Arthur Greenwood
Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

) voted in favour of fighting, giving Churchill the majority he needed to continue the war.

1945 general election

Following the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, Attlee and Churchill wanted the coalition government to last until Japan had been defeated. However, Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

 argued that the party would not accept this, and the Labour National Executive Committee agreed with him. Churchill responded by resigning as coalition Prime Minister and decided to call an election at once.

The war set in motion profound social changes within Britain, and led to a popular desire for social reform
Reform movement
A reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society, rather than rapid or fundamental changes...

. This mood was epitomised in the Beveridge Report
Beveridge Report
The Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, known commonly as the Beveridge Report was an influential document in the founding of the Welfare State in the United Kingdom...

. The report assumed that the maintenance of full employment would be the aim of postwar governments, and that this would provide the basis for the welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

. Immediately on its release, it sold hundreds of thousands of copies. All major parties were committed to this aim, but perhaps Attlee and Labour were seen by the electorate as the best candidates to follow it through.

Labour campaigned on the theme of "Let Us Face the Future" and positioned themselves as the party best placed to rebuild Britain after the war, while the Conservatives campaign centred around Churchill. With the hero status of Churchill, few expected a Labour victory. However Churchill made some errors during the campaign: His suggestion during a radio broadcast, that a Labour government would require "some form of a gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

" to implement their socialist policies, was widely seen as being in bad taste, and backfired.

The results of the election when they were announced on 26 July, came as a surprise to almost everyone, including Attlee: Labour had been swept to power on a landslide, winning just under 50% of the vote, to the Conservatives' 36%. Labour won 393 seats, giving them a majority of 147.

The story goes that when Attlee visited King George VI at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

 to kiss hands, the notoriously laconic Attlee and the notoriously tongue-tied George VI stood for some minutes in silence, before Attlee finally volunteered the remark "I've won the election." The King replied "I know. I heard it on the Six O'Clock News."

Prime Minister

Now Prime Minister, Attlee appointed Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

 as Foreign Secretary; Hugh Dalton
Hugh Dalton
Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

 was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 (it had widely been expected to be the other way around). Stafford Cripps
Stafford Cripps
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

 became President of the Board of Trade, while Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

 was given the post of Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a senior member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. The office of the Deputy Prime Minister is not a permanent position, existing only at the discretion of the Prime Minister, who may appoint to other offices...

 and given overall control of Labour's nationalisation programme. Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

 became Minister of Health
Secretary of State for Health
Secretary of State for Health is a UK cabinet position responsible for the Department of Health.The first Boards of Health were created by Orders in Council dated 21 June, 14 November, and 21 November 1831. In 1848 a General Board of Health was created with the First Commissioner of Woods and...

, whilst Ellen Wilkinson
Ellen Wilkinson
Ellen Cicely Wilkinson was the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough and later for Jarrow on Tyneside. She was one of the first women in Britain to be elected as a Member of Parliament .- History :...

, the only woman to serve in Attlee's government, became Minister of Education
Secretary of State for Education and Skills
The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

.

Attlee's governemnt proved itself to be a radical reforming administration. In the 1945-46 session alone, pensions and other benefits were substantially increased, and from 1945 to 1948, over 200 public Acts of Parliament were passed, with eight major pieces of legislation placed on the statute book in 1946 alone. As noted by the historian Kevin Jeffreys,

“Within eighteen months, Attlee’s cabinet had done more than any previous twentieth-century government to improve the lot of ordinary people.”

Health and Welfare reforms

A more extensive system of social welfare benefits was established by the Attlee Government, which did much to reduce acute social deprivation. The cumulative impact of the Attlee’s Government’s health and welfare policies was such that all the indices of health (such as statistics of school medical or dental officers, or of medical officers of health) showed signs of improvement, with continual improvements in survival rates for infants and increased life expectancy for the elderly.

In domestic policy
Domestic policy
Domestic policy, also known as public policy, presents decisions, laws, and programs made by the government which are directly related to all issues and activity within the country....

, the party had clear aims. Attlee's first Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

, fought against the general disapproval of the medical establishment
British Medical Association
The British Medical Association is the professional association and registered trade union for doctors in the United Kingdom. The association does not regulate or certify doctors, a responsibility which lies with the General Medical Council. The association’s headquarters are located in BMA House,...

 in creating the British National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

; the publicly funded healthcare system, which offers treatment free at the point of use. Reflecting pent-up demand that had long existed for medical services, the NHS treated some 8.5 million dental patients and dispensed more than 5 million pairs of spectacles during its first year of operation. Although there are often disputes about its organisation and funding, British parties to this day must still voice their general support for the NHS in order to remain electable.

A Married Women (Restraint Upon Anticipation) Act was passed in 1949 “to equalise, to render inoperative any restrictions upon anticipation or alienation attached to the enjoyment of property by a woman,” while the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 1950 amended an Act of 1885 to bring prostitutes within the law and safeguard them from abduction and abuse. In addition, BCG vaccinations were introduced for the protection of medical students, midwives, nurses, and contacts of patients with TB.

A large house-building programme was carried out with the intention of providing millions of people with high-quality homes. A housing bill passed in 1946 increased Treasury subsidies for the construction of local authority housing in England and Wales, while four out of five houses constructed under Labour were council properties, built to more generous specifications than before the Second World War, while subsidies kept down council rents. Altogether, these policies provided public-sector housing with its biggest ever boost up until that point, while low-wage earners particularly benefited from these developments. Although the Attlee Government failed to meet its targets owing to economic constraints, over a million new homes were built between 1945 and 1951 (a significant achievement under the circumstances) which ensured that decent, affordable housing was available to many low-income families for the first time ever.

The government set about implementing William Beveridge
William Beveridge
William Henry Beveridge, 1st Baron Beveridge KCB was a British economist and social reformer. He is best known for his 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services which served as the basis for the post-World War II welfare state put in place by the Labour government elected in 1945.Lord...

's plans for the creation of a 'cradle to grave' welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

, and set in place an entirely new system of social security
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

. Among the most important pieces of legislation was the National Insurance Act 1946
National Insurance Act 1946
The National Insurance Act 1946 was a British Act of Parliament which established a comprehensive system of social security throughout the United Kingdom...

, in which people in work paid a flat rate of national insurance
National Insurance
National Insurance in the United Kingdom was initially a contributory system of insurance against illness and unemployment, and later also provided retirement pensions and other benefits...

. In return, they (and the wives of male contributors) were eligible for flat-rate pensions, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and funeral benefit. Various other pieces of legislation provided for child benefit
Child benefit
Child benefit is a social security payment disbursed to the parents or guardians of children. Child benefit is means-tested in some countries.-Australia:...

 and support for people with no other source of income. In addition, the Criminal Justice Act of 1948 restricted imprisonment for juveniles and brought improvements to the probation and remand centres systems, while the passage of the Justices of the Peace Act of 1949 led to extensive reforms of magistrates courts. The New Towns Act of 1946 set up development corporations to construct new towns, while the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 instructed county councils to prepare development plans and also provided compulsory purchase powers.

A block grant introduced in 1948 helped the social services provided by local authorities. Personal Social Services or welfare services were developed in 1948 for individual and families in general, particularly special groups such as the mentally disordered, deprived children, the elderly, and the handicapped. The Attlee Government also significantly increased pensions and other benefits, with pensions raised to the point that they became more of a living income than they had been before. The success of the Attlee Government's welfare legislation in reducing poverty was such that, in the general election of 1950,

“Labour propaganda could make much of the claim that social security had eradicated the most abject destitution of the 1930’s”.

Workers

Entitlement to sick leave was greatly extended, with sick pay schemes introduced for local authority administrative, professional and technical workers in 1946 and for various categories of manual workers in 1948., while worker’s compensation was significantly improved. Other changes on behalf of workers included the repeal of the Trades Disputes Act 1927, the introduction of a Dock Labour Scheme in 1947 (which sought to put an end to the casual system of hiring labour in the docks) and the introduction of a Miner’s Charter in 1946, which instituted a five-day workweek for miners and a standardised day wage structure.

Nationalisation

Attlee's government also carried out their manifesto commitment for nationalisation of basic industries and public utilities. The Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

 and civil aviation were nationalised in 1946. Coal mining
National Coal Board
The National Coal Board was the statutory corporation created to run the nationalised coal mining industry in the United Kingdom. Set up under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946, it took over the mines on "vesting day", 1 January 1947...

, the railways, road haulage, canals and cable and wireless were nationalised in 1947, electricity and gas followed in 1948. The steel industry
Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain
The Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain was a nationalised industry, set up in 1949 by Clement Attlee's Labour government.The Iron & Steel Act 1949 took effect on 15 February 1951, the Corporation becoming the sole shareholder of 80 of the principal iron and steel companies...

 was finally nationalised in 1951. By 1951 about 20% of the British economy had been taken into public ownership.

Although nationalisation failed to provide workers with a greater say in the running of the industries that they worked in (as many on the Left had hoped), it did bring about significant material gains for workers in the form of higher wages and reduced working hours. As noted by the historian Eric Shaw
Eric Shaw
Eric Shaw is a television animation writer and a former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants, a popular television show on Nickelodeon. Originally from Jericho, NY, he attended Jericho High School...

, in the years following nationalisation, the electricity and gas supply companies became “impressive models of public enterprise” in terms of efficiency, while in relation the coal industry, the National Coal Board
National Coal Board
The National Coal Board was the statutory corporation created to run the nationalised coal mining industry in the United Kingdom. Set up under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946, it took over the mines on "vesting day", 1 January 1947...

 was not only profitable, but working conditions for miners had significantly improved as well.

Agriculture

The Attlee Government placed strong emphasis on improving the quality of life in rural areas, benefiting both farmers and other consumers. Security of tenure for farmers was introduced, while consumers were protected by food subsidies and the redistributive effects of deficiency payments. Between 1945 and 1951, the quality of rural life was improved by improvements in gas, electricity, water services, as well as in leisure and public amenities. In addition, the 1947 Transport Act improved provision of rural bus services, while the Agriculture Act 1947
Agriculture Act 1947
The Agriculture Act 1947 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom passed by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government.The government wanted a positive balance of payments, to lower the amount of food imported into Britain from dollar countries and to promote the maximum agricultural...

 established a more generous subsidy system for farmers. Legislation was also passed in 1947 and 1948 which established a permanent Agricultural Wages Board to fix minimum wages for agricultural workers.

Education

The Attlee Government ensured provisions of the Education Act 1944
Education Act 1944
The Education Act 1944 changed the education system for secondary schools in England and Wales. This Act, commonly named after the Conservative politician R.A...

 were fully implemented, with free secondary education becoming a right for the first time. In addition, the school leaving age was raised to 15 in 1947, while increased Treasury funds were made available for education, particularly for upgrading school buildings suffering from years of neglect and war damage. “Prefab” classrooms were also built and 928 new primary schools were constructed between 1945 and 1950. The provision of free school meals was expanded, while opportunities for universal entrants were widened. State scholarships to universities were increased, while free milk was made available to all schoolchildren for the first time.

An Emergency Training Scheme was also introduced which turned out an extra 25,000 teachers in 1945-51. Despite these achievements, Attlee's government failed to introduce comprehensive education as many socialists had hoped as a means of making the educational system less meritoric, although this reform was eventually carried out by Harold Wilson's government.

The economy

Nevertheless, the most significant problem remained the economy; the war effort
War effort
In politics and military planning, a war effort refers to a coordinated mobilization of society's resources—both industrial and human—towards the support of a military force...

 had left Britain nearly bankrupt. The war had cost Britain about a quarter of its national wealth. Overseas investments had been wound up to pay for the war. The transition to a peacetime economy, and the maintaining of strategic military commitments abroad led to continuous and severe problems with the balance of trade
Balance of trade
The balance of trade is the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports of output in an economy over a certain period. It is the relationship between a nation's imports and exports...

. This meant that strict rationing
Rationing
Rationing is the controlled distribution of scarce resources, goods, or services. Rationing controls the size of the ration, one's allotted portion of the resources being distributed on a particular day or at a particular time.- In economics :...

 of food and other essential goods were continued in the post war period, to force a reduction in consumption in an effort to limit imports, boost export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

s and stabilise the Pound Sterling so that Britain could trade its way out of its crisis.

The abrupt ending of the American Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 program in August 1945 almost caused a crisis. This was mitigated by the Anglo-American loan
Anglo-American loan
The Anglo-American Loan Agreement was a post World War II loan made to the United Kingdom by the United States on 15 July 1946, and paid off 29 December 2006...

 negotiated in December 1945 by John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

, which provided some respite. The conditions attached to the loan included making the pound
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 fully convertible
Convertibility
Convertibility is the quality that allows money or other financial instruments to be converted into other liquid stores of value. Convertibility is an important factor in international trade, where instruments valued in different currencies must be exchanged....

 to the dollar. When this was introduced in July 1947, it led to a currency crisis
Currency crisis
A currency crisis, which is also called a balance-of-payments crisis, is a sudden devaluation of a currency caused by chronic balance-of-payments deficits which usually ends in a speculative attack in the foreign exchange market. It occurs when the value of a currency changes quickly, undermining...

 and convertibility had to be suspended after just five weeks. Britain benefited from the American Marshall Aid program from 1948, and the economic situation improved significantly. However another balance of payments crisis in 1949 forced Chancellor of the Exchequer Stafford Cripps
Stafford Cripps
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

 into devaluation of the pound.

Despite these problems, one of the main achievements of Attlee's government was the maintenance of near full employment
Full employment
In macroeconomics, full employment is a condition of the national economy, where all or nearly all persons willing and able to work at the prevailing wages and working conditions are able to do so....

. The government maintained most of the wartime controls over the economy, including control over the allocation of materials and manpower, and unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 rarely rose above 500,000, or 3% of the total workforce. In fact labour shortages proved to be more of a problem. In addition, the inflation rate was also kept low.

One area where the government was not quite as successful was in housing, which was also the responsibility of Aneurin Bevan. The government had a target to build 400,000 new houses a year to replace those which had been destroyed in the war, but shortages of materials and manpower meant that less than half this number were built. Neverheless, millions of people were rehoused as a result of the Attlee government's housing policies, and between August 1945 and December 1951, 1,016,349 new homes were completed in England, Scotland, and Wales.

In addition, when the Attlee Government was voted out of office in 1951, it had left the economy in better shape than they had found it in 1945, while the period from 1946 to 1951 saw continuous full employment and steadily rising living standards, which increased by about 10% per annum. During that same period, the economy grew by 3% a year, and by 1951 the United Kingdom had “the best economic performance in Europe, while output per person was increasing faster than in the United States.” Careful planning after 1945 also ensured that demobilisation was carried out without having a negative impact upon economic recovery, and that unemployment would be kept at very low levels.

1947 crisis

1947 proved to be a particularly difficult year for the government; an exceptionally cold winter
Winter of 1946-1947
The winter of 1946–1947 was a harsh European winter noted for its effects in the United Kingdom. The UK experienced several cold spells, beginning on 21 January 1947, bringing large drifts of snow to the country, which caused roads and railways to be blocked...

 that year caused coal mines to freeze and cease production, creating widespread power cuts and food shortages. The crisis led to an unsuccessful plot by Hugh Dalton
Hugh Dalton
Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

 to replace Attlee as Prime Minister with Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

. Later that year Stafford Cripps
Stafford Cripps
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

 tried to persuade Attlee to stand aside for Bevin. However these plots petered out after Bevin refused to co-operate. Later that year, Hugh Dalton
Hugh Dalton
Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

 resigned as Chancellor after inadvertently leaking details of the budget to a journalist. He was replaced by Cripps.

Relations with the press and Royal family

Attlee's government faced constant hostility from Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 supporting sections of society, including the Conservative supporting press. The Sunday Times journalist James Margach, wrote of the Attlee years; "I have never known the Press so consistently and irresponsibly political, slanted and prejudiced". As early as 1946 the Attorney-General Sir Hartley Shawcross attacked "the campaign of calumny and misrepresentation which the Tory Party and the Tory stooge press has directed at the Labour government. Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to tell lies". In 1946 the government set up a Royal Commission
Royal Commission
In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

 on the press which eventually led to the setting up of the Press Council
Press Complaints Commission
The Press Complaints Commission is a voluntary regulatory body for British printed newspapers and magazines, consisting of representatives of the major publishers. The PCC is funded by the annual levy it charges newspapers and magazines...

 in 1953.

Relations with the Royal Family
The Royal Family
The Royal Family is a play written by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. Its premiere on Broadway was at the Selwyn Theatre on 28 December 1927, where it ran for 345 performances to close in October 1928.-Plot summary:Characters...

 were also strained. A letter from Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was the queen consort of King George VI from 1936 until her husband's death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II...

 (later the Queen Mother
Queen mother
Queen Mother is a title or position reserved for a widowed queen consort whose son or daughter from that marriage is the reigning monarch. The term has been used in English since at least 1577...

), dated 17 May 1947, showed "her decided lack of enthusiasm for the socialist government" and describes the British electorate as "poor people, so many half-educated and bemused" for electing Attlee over Winston Churchill, whom she saw as a war hero. That said, according to Lord Wyatt, this was to be expected as the Queen Mother was "the most right-wing member of the Royal Family."

Foreign policy

Postwar Europe and the Cold War

In foreign affairs, Attlee's cabinet was concerned with four issues: postwar Europe, the onset of the cold war
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the establishment of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, and decolonisation. The first two were closely related, and Attlee was assisted in these matters by Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

. Attlee attended the later stages of the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 in the company of Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Government faced the challenge of managing relations with Britain's former war-time ally, Stalin and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Attlee's Foreign Secretary, the former trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 leader Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

, was passionately anti-communist
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

, based largely on his experience of fighting communist influence in the trades union movement. Bevin's initial approach to the USSR as Foreign Secretary has been described by historian Kenneth O. Morgan as "wary and suspicious, but not automatically hostile".

In an early "good-will" gesture that was later heavily criticised, the Attlee government allowed the Soviets access, under the terms of a 1946 UK-USSR Trade Agreement
Trade pact
A trade pact is a wide ranging tax, tariff and trade pact that often includes investment guarantees. The most common trade pacts are of the preferential and free trade types are concluded in order to reduce tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on items traded between the signatories.-By...

, to several Rolls-Royce Nene
Rolls-Royce Nene
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Bridgman, L, Jane's fighting aircraft of World War II. Crescent. ISBN 0-517-67964-7-External links:* *...

 jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

s. The Soviets, who at the time were well behind the West in jet technology, reverse-engineered
Reverse engineering
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation...

 the Nene, and installed their own version in the MiG-15
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the USSR by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in...

 interceptor, used to good effect against US-UK forces in the subsequent Korean War, as well as in several later MiG models.

After Stalin took political control of most of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and began to subvert other governments in the Balkans, Attlee's and Bevin's worst fears of Soviet intentions were borne out. The Attlee government then became instrumental in the creation of the successful NATO defence alliance to protect Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 against any Soviet aggression. In a crucial contribution to the economic stability of post-War Europe, Attlee's cabinet was instrumental in promoting the American Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

 for the economic recovery of Europe.

A group of left wing Labour MPs organised under the banner of "Keep Left
Keep Left (pamphlet)
Keep Left was a pamphlet published in the United Kingdom in 1947 by the New Statesman, written by Michael Foot, Richard Crossman and Ian Mikardo that advocated a democratic socialist "third force" foreign policy – a socialist Europe acting independently from either the United States or the Soviet...

", urged the government to steer a middle way between the two emerging superpowers, and advocated the creation of 'third force' of European powers to stand between the USA and USSR. However, deteriorating relations between Britain and the USSR, and Britain's economic reliance on America, steered policy towards supporting America.

Fear of Soviet and American intentions led, in January 1947, to a secret meeting of senior cabinet ministers, where it was decided to press ahead with the development of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent, an issue which later caused a split in the Labour Party, although the first successful test did not occur until 1952, after Attlee had left office.

In 1950 American president Harry S. Truman said that atomic weapons may be used in the Korean War. Attlee became concerned with the power America possessed and therefore called a meeting of some foreign affairs ministers in order to discuss the issue that had evolved.

Decolonisation

Attlee's government was responsible for the first significant decolonisation of part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 – India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

. Attlee appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten Viceroy of India, and agreed to Mountbatten's request for plenipotentiary powers for negotiating Indian independence. In view of implacable demands by the political leadership of both Hindu and Islamic communities in British India for a separate Hindu and a separate Muslim homeland, Mountbatten conceded the notion of two nations consisting of a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (which at the time incorporated East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

, now Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

).

The drawing of borders was accomplished at the cost of large-scale population movements and heavy communal bloodshed on both sides. The independence of Burma and Ceylon was also negotiated around this time. Some of the new countries became British Dominions
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

, the genesis of the modern Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

.

One of the most urgent problems concerned the future of the Palestine Mandate. British policies there were perceived by the Zionist movement and the Truman administration as pro-Arab and anti-Jewish, and in the face of armed revolt of Jewish militant groups and increasing violence of the local Arab population Britain had found itself unable to control events. This was a very unpopular commitment and the evacuation of British troops
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and subsequent handing over of the issue to the UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 was widely supported by the public.

The government's policies with regard to the other colonies, however, particularly those in Africa, were very different. A major military base
Military base
A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. In general, a military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a...

 was built in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, and the African colonies came under an unprecedented degree of direct control from London, as development schemes were implemented with a view to helping solve Britain's desperate post-war balance of payments
Balance of payments
Balance of payments accounts are an accounting record of all monetary transactions between a country and the rest of the world.These transactions include payments for the country's exports and imports of goods, services, financial capital, and financial transfers...

 crisis, and raising African living standards
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

. This 'new colonialism' was, however, generally a failure: in some cases, such as a then-infamous Tanganyika groundnut scheme
Tanganyika groundnut scheme
The Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme was a plan to cultivate tracts of what is now Tanzania with peanuts. It was a project of the British Labour government of Clement Attlee. It was abandoned in 1951 at considerable cost to the taxpayers when it did not become profitable...

, spectacularly so.

Demise of Attlee's government

The Labour Party was returned to power in the general election of 1950
United Kingdom general election, 1950
The 1950 United Kingdom general election was the first general election ever after a full term of a Labour government. Despite polling over one and a half million votes more than the Conservatives, the election, held on 23 February 1950 resulted in Labour receiving a slim majority of just five...

 with a much reduced parliamentary majority under the first-past-the-post
First-past-the-post
First-past-the-post voting refers to an election won by the candidate with the most votes. The winning potato candidate does not necessarily receive an absolute majority of all votes cast.-Overview:...

 voting system
Voting system
A voting system or electoral system is a method by which voters make a choice between options, often in an election or on a policy referendum....

, despite an increase in the popular vote. It was at this time that a degree of Conservative opposition recovered at the expense of the declining Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

. Although Attlee's second government was less radical than the first, it oversaw the passage of a number of reforms, relating to issues such as industry in development areas, the restoration of land which had been devastated by ironstone pollution, and river pollution.

By 1951, the Attlee government was looking increasingly exhausted, with several of its most important ministers having died or ailing. Attlee himself was hospitalised with duodenal ulcers. The party split in 1951 over the austerity budget brought in by Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

 to pay for the cost of Britain's participation in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

: Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

, architect of the National Health Service (NHS), resigned to protest against the new charges for "teeth and spectacles" introduced by the budget, and was joined in this action by the later prime minister, Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

.

Labour lost the general election of 1951
United Kingdom general election, 1951
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held eighteen months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats...

 to Churchill's renewed Conservatives, despite polling more votes than in the 1945 election and more votes nationwide than the Conservative party, and, indeed, the most votes Labour had ever won.

His short list of Resignation Honours
1951 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours
The 1951 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were officially announced in a supplement to the London Gazette of 27 November 1951, published on 30 November 1951, to mark the resignation of Prime Minister Clement Attlee.-Baron:*David Kirkwood, MP...

 announced in November 1951 included an Earldom for William Jowitt, Lord Chancellor.

Return to opposition and retirement

Following the defeat in 1951, Attlee continued to lead the party in opposition. His last four years as leader are widely seen as one of the Labour Party's weaker periods. The party became split between its right wing led by Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

 and its left led by Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

. Many Labour MPs felt Attlee should have retired after the 1951 election and allowed a younger man to lead the party. Bevan openly called for him to stand down in the summer of 1954. One of his main reasons for staying on as leader was to frustrate the leadership ambitions of Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

, whom Attlee disliked for political and personal reasons. (Ernest Bevin had died shortly before Labour lost office.) Attlee had reportedly at one time favoured Aneurin Bevan to succeed him as leader, but this became problematic after the latter split the party.

Attlee, now aged 72, contested the 1955 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1955
The 1955 United Kingdom general election was held on 26 May 1955, four years after the previous general election. It resulted in a substantially increased majority of 60 for the Conservative government under new leader and prime minister Sir Anthony Eden against Labour Party, now in their 20th year...

 against Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

, which saw the Conservative majority increase considerably. He retired as leader of the party on 14 December 1955, having led Labour for twenty years, and was succeeded by Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

.

He retired from the Commons and was elevated to the peerage to take his seat in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 as Earl Attlee
Earl Attlee
Earl Attlee is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 16 December 1955 for Clement Attlee, the former Labour Prime Minister. He was made Viscount Prestwood, of Walthamstow in the County of Essex, at the same time, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. As of 2010 the...

 and Viscount Prestwood on 16 December 1955. In 1958 he was, along with Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, one of a group of notables to establish the Homosexual Law Reform Society
Homosexual Law Reform Society
The Homosexual Law Reform Society was an organisation that campaigned in the United Kingdom for changes in the laws that criminalised homosexual relations between men.- History :...

, which campaigned for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in private by consenting adults, a reform which was voted through parliament nine years later.

He attended Churchill's funeral in January 1965 – elderly and frail by then, he had to remain seated in the freezing cold as the coffin was carried, having tired himself out by standing at the rehearsal the previous day. After the service Attlee had to be helped down the steps of St Paul's Cathedral by Sir Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 and a Guards officer. A heavy pipe and cigarette smoker from an early age, Attlee had breathing problems in his later years.

He lived to see Labour return to power under Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 in 1964, but also to see his old constituency of Walthamstow West
Walthamstow West (UK Parliament constituency)
Walthamstow West was a borough constituency in what is now the London Borough of Waltham Forest, but was until 1965 the Walthamstow Urban District of Essex...

 fall to the Conservatives in a by-election in September 1967. Clement Attlee died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 at the age of 84 at Westminster Hospital
Westminster Hospital
Westminster Hospital was a hospital in London, England, founded in 1719. In 1834 a medical school attached to the hospital was formally founded....

 on 8 October 1967.

On his death, the title passed to his son Martin Richard Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee (1927–91). It is now held by Clement Attlee's grandson John Richard Attlee, 3rd Earl Attlee. The third earl (a member of the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

) retained his seat in the Lords as one of the hereditary peer
Hereditary peer
Hereditary peers form part of the Peerage in the United Kingdom. There are over seven hundred peers who hold titles that may be inherited. Formerly, most of them were entitled to sit in the House of Lords, but since the House of Lords Act 1999 only ninety-two are permitted to do so...

s to remain under an amendment to Labour's 1999 House of Lords Act.

When Attlee died, his estate was sworn for probate purposes at a value of £7,295, a relatively modest sum for so prominent a figure.

Attlee was cremated and his ashes buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

, close to those of Lord Passfield
Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield
Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield PC OM was a British socialist, economist, reformer and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. He was one of the early members of the Fabian Society in 1884, along with George Bernard Shaw...

 and Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

.

Legacy

"A modest man, but then he has so much to be modest about", is a quote about Attlee that is very commonly ascribed to Churchill (although Churchill in fact denied saying it, and respected Attlee's service in the War Cabinet). Attlee's modesty and quiet manner hid a great deal that has only come to light with historical reappraisal. In terms of the machinery of government
Machinery of government
The Machinery of Government means the interconnected structures and processes of government, such as the functions and accountability of departments in the executive branch of government...

, he was one of the most businesslike and effective of all the British prime ministers. Indeed he is widely praised by his successors, both Labour and Conservative.

His leadership style of consensual government, acting as a chairman rather than a president, won him much praise from historians and politicians alike. Christopher Soames, Britain's Ambassador to France during the government of Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 - and later a cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher - remarked that "Mrs. Thatcher was not really running a team. Every time you have a Prime Minister who wants to make all the decisions, it mainly leads to bad results. Attlee didn't. That's why he was so damn good." Even Thatcher herself wrote in her 1995 memoirs, which charted her beginnings in Grantham
Grantham
Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the East Coast Main Line railway , the historic A1 main north-south road, and the River Witham. Grantham is located approximately south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately east of Nottingham...

 to her victory in the 1979 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

, that she admired Attlee: "Of Clement Attlee, however, I was an admirer. He was a serious man and a patriot. Quite contrary to the general tendency of politicians in the 1990s, he was all substance and no show".

Attlee's administration presided over the successful transition from a wartime economy
War economy
War economy is the term used to describe the contingencies undertaken by the modern state to mobilise its economy for war production. Philippe Le Billon describes a war economy as a "system of producing, mobilising and allocating resources to sustain the violence".Many states increase the degree of...

 to peacetime, tackling problems of demobilisation, shortages of foreign currency
Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

, and adverse deficits in trade balances and government expenditure
Government spending
Government spending includes all government consumption, investment but excludes transfer payments made by a state. Government acquisition of goods and services for current use to directly satisfy individual or collective needs of the members of the community is classed as government final...

. Further domestic policies that he brought about included the establishment of the National Health Service
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

 and post-war Welfare State
Welfare State
The Welfare State is a commitment to health, education, employment and social security in the United Kingdom.-Background:The United Kingdom, as a welfare state, was prefigured in the William Beveridge Report in 1942, which identified five "Giant Evils" in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness...

, which became key to the reconstruction of post-war Britain. Attlee and his ministers did much to transform Britain into a more prosperous and egalitarian society during their time in office, with reductions in poverty and a rise in the general economic security of the population.

In foreign affairs, he did much to assist with the post-war economic recovery of Europe, though this did not lead to a realisation that this was where Britain's future might lie. He proved a loyal ally of America at the onset of the cold war. Because of his style of leadership it was not he but Ernest Bevin who masterminded foreign policy.

It was Attlee's government that decided Britain should have an independent atomic weapons programme, and work began on it in 1947. Bevin, Attlee's Foreign Secretary, famously stated that "We've got to have it and it's got to have a bloody Union Jack
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 on it." However, the first operational British A Bomb
Operation Hurricane
Operation Hurricane was the test of the first British atomic device on 3 October 1952. A plutonium implosion device was detonated in the lagoon between the Montebello Islands, Western Australia....

 was not detonated until October 1952, about one year after Attlee had left office.

Though a socialist, Attlee still believed in the British Empire of his youth, an institution that, on the whole, he thought was a power for good in the world. Nevertheless, he saw that a large part of it needed to be self-governing. Using the Dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as a model, he began the transformation of the Empire into the Commonwealth.

His greatest achievement, surpassing many of these, was, perhaps, the establishment of a political and economic consensus about the governance of Britain that all parties, whether Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

, Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 or Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 subscribed to for three decades, fixing the arena of political discourse until the later 1970s.

Several years after his death, a street on a new housing development in Tividale
Tividale
- History :The village was in the parish of St Michael named after the church built there. It was created in 1878 as an extension of the town of Tipton in the county of Staffordshire, England...

, West Midlands
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

, was named Attlee Close in his memory.

On 30 November 1988, a bronze statue of Clement Attlee was unveiled by Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 (the next Labour prime minister after Attlee) outside Limehouse Library in his former constituency. By then Wilson was the last surviving member of Attlee's cabinet and the unveiling of the statue would be the last public appearance by Wilson, who was by then in the first stages of Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 and who died in May 1995 after a decade of ill health. In April 2011, Limehouse Library having closed in 2003, the Attlee statue was unveiled in its new home at Queen Mary University of London.

Image

Although possessed of a genial personality, Clement Attlee was notably taciturn in his relations with the Press, sometimes offering only monosyllabic answers to reporters' questions. He was seldom referred to by his forenames; usually he was referred to as "C. R. Attlee" or "Mr. Attlee."

Religious views

Although one of his brothers became a clergyman and one of his sisters a missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

, Attlee himself is usually regarded as an agnostic. In an interview he described himself as "incapable of religious feeling", saying that he believed in "the ethics of Christianity" but not "the mumbo-jumbo". When asked whether he was an agnostic, Attlee replied "I don't know".

Literature

  • Attlee composed this limerick about himself to demonstrate how he was often underestimated:-
Few thought he was even a starter.
There were many who thought themselves smarter.
But he finished PM,
CH and OM,
An earl and a Knight of the Garter.
Source: Jones, B., Barry Jones' Dictionary of World Biography, 1998

  • An alternative version also exists, which may reflect Attlee's use of English more closely:-
There were few who thought him a starter,
Many who thought themselves smarter.
But he ended PM,
CH and OM,
an Earl and a Knight of the Garter.
Source: Kenneth Harris, "Attlee" (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1982)

Music

  • Lord Beginner
    Lord Beginner
    Lord Beginner from Port-of-Spain in Trinidad was a popular exponent of the Caribbean musical form Calypso.-Person:...

    's song "General Election" was inspired by Attlee's victory in the 1950 British general election.

Sport

  • In 1981, Attlee again entered British popular culture
    Popular culture
    Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

     as one of the famous English people taunted by name in Bjørge Lillelien's
    Bjørge Lillelien
    Bjørge Lillelien was a Norwegian sports journalist and commentator.A commentator for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation from 1957 until just before his death from cancer in 1987, he commentated on many sports, but concentrated on winter sports and football.Lillelien was a popular and engaged...

     legendary commentary immediately after Norway
    Norway national football team
    The Norway national football team represents Norway in association football and is controlled by the Football Association of Norway, the governing body for football in Norway. Norway's home ground is Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo and their head coach is Egil Olsen...

     defeated England
    England national football team
    The England national football team represents England in association football and is controlled by the Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England is the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside Scotland, whom they played in the world's first...

     in a FIFA World Cup
    1982 FIFA World Cup
    The 1982 FIFA World Cup, the 12th FIFA World Cup, was held in Spain from 13 June to 11 July. The tournament was won by Italy, after defeating West Germany 3–1 in the final.-Host selection:...

     qualifier
    1982 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA)
    Listed below are the dates and results for the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds for the European zone . For an overview of the qualification rounds, see the article 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification....

    .

Drama

  • Played by Patrick Troughton
    Patrick Troughton
    Patrick George Troughton was an English actor most widely known for his roles in fantasy, science fiction and horror films, particularly in his role as the second incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running British science-fiction television series Doctor Who, which he played from 1966 to 1969,...

     in Edward & Mrs. Simpson.
  • Appeared as a character in the play Tom and Clem, by Stephen Churchett
    Stephen Churchett
    Stephen Churchett is a British actor and writer.One of his most notable roles was as solicitor Marcus Christie in EastEnders, on and off from 1990 to 2004....

    . In the original production in 1997, Alec McCowen
    Alec McCowen
    Alexander Duncan "Alec" McCowen CBE is an English actor. He is known for his work in numerous film and stage productions. He was awarded the CBE in the 1985 New Year's Honours List.-Personal:...

     played Attlee, and Michael Gambon
    Michael Gambon
    Sir Michael John Gambon, CBE is an Irish actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. A highly respected theatre actor, Gambon is recognised for his roles as Philip Marlowe in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, as Jules Maigret in the 1990s ITV serial Maigret, and as...

     played Tom Driberg.
  • Played by Alan David
    Alan David
    Alan David is a Welsh television actor. Living in London, he is married with two sons.David was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan. He has had many television credits ranging from Coronation Street in 1973 to Virtual Murder , Honey for Tea and "The Unquiet Dead", an episode of Doctor Who in 2005...

     in the final episode of the BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart
    Goodnight Sweetheart
    Goodnight Sweetheart is a sitcom that ran for six series on BBC1 from 1993 to 1999. It stars Nicholas Lyndhurst as Gary Sparrow, an accidental time traveller who leads a double life after discovering a time portal allowing him to travel between the London of the 1990s and the same area during the...

    ,
  • The main character in the BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play That Man Attlee. Broadcast on 15 September 2007, it was written by Robin Glendinning, with Bill Wallis
    Bill Wallis
    Bill Wallis is a British character actor and comedian who has appeared in numerous radio and television roles, as well as in the theatre....

     playing Attlee.
  • Played by Richard Attlee, his grandson, in Jerome Vincent’s 'Stuffing Their Mouths with Gold'; the story of how the National Health Service came to be. Broadcast on Radio 4 on 4 July 2008, the day before the 60th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.
  • Played by Bill Paterson in Into the Storm (2009).

Major social legislation enacted by the Attlee Government

  • Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945
    Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945
    The Law Reform Act 1945 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, which allows a judge to apportion liability for compensatory damages as he feels to be "just and equitable" between a tortfeasor and an injured person who was partly to blame.-Historical background:Until the Act was passed,...

  • Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946
    Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946
    The Housing Act 1946 was a British Act of Parliament that provided large subsidies for the construction of council housing. This resulted in the completion of over 800,000 local authority houses by 1951.-See also:*...

  • Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946
    Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946
    The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act of 1946 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It received Royal Assent on 12 July 1946, and provided for the nationalization of the entire British coal industry. It established the National Coal Board which acted as the managing authority for coal...

  • Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act 1946
    Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act 1946
    The Furnished Houses Act 1946 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that and set up rent tribunals to control rents in the private sector. and regulated renting prices. Following the Second World War, the practice of limiting rent prices had been introduced due to the scarcity of...

  • National Health Service Act 1946
    National Health Service Act 1946
    The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948 and created the National Health Service in England and Wales. Though the title 'National Health Service' implies one health service for the United Kingdom, in reality a separate NHS was created for England and Wales accountable to...

  • National Insurance Act 1946
    National Insurance Act 1946
    The National Insurance Act 1946 was a British Act of Parliament which established a comprehensive system of social security throughout the United Kingdom...

  • National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946
    National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946
    The National Insurance Act 1946 was a British Act of Parliament which provided compensation paid by the Ministry of National Insurance to workers who were left injured or disabled as a result of work-related accidents....

  • New Towns Act 1946
    New Towns Act 1946
    The New Towns Act 1946 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which allowed the government to designate areas as new towns, and passing development control functions to a Development Corporation. Several new towns were created in the years following its passing...

  • Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1946
    Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1946
    The Trade Disputes And Trade Unions Act 1946 was a British Act of Parliament passed by post-war Labour government to repeal the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act 1927.-Repeal:...

  • Hill Farming Act 1946
    Hill Farming Act 1946
    The Hill Farming Act 1946 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed during the Labour government of Clement Attlee. This Act aimed to encourage the expansion of pastoral farming and made grants available for improving upland farms....

  • Agriculture Act 1947
    Agriculture Act 1947
    The Agriculture Act 1947 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom passed by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government.The government wanted a positive balance of payments, to lower the amount of food imported into Britain from dollar countries and to promote the maximum agricultural...

  • Pensions (Increase) Act 1947
    Pensions (Increase) Act 1947
    The Pensions Act 1947 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed during the Labour government of Clement Attlee. It substantially raised the benefit rates for pensioners....

  • Electricity Act 1947
  • Town and Country Planning Act 1947
    Town and Country Planning Act 1947
    The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom passed by the post-war Labour government...

  • Transport Act 1947
    Transport Act 1947
    The Transport Act 1947 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Under it the railways, long-distance road haulage and various other types of transport were acquired by the state and handed over to a new British Transport Commission for operation...

  • Fire Services Act 1947
    Fire Services Act 1947
    -General Arrangement of the Act:-Scotland:The FRSA 2004 extended only to England and Wales, thus leaving the FSA 1947 in force in Scotland. Most of the 1947 Act was later repealed by the FSA 2005, which left ss...

  • National Assistance Act 1948
    National Assistance Act 1948
    The National Assistance Act 1948 was an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom by the Labour government of Clement Attlee.-Overview:It formally abolished the Poor Law system which had existed since the reign of Elizabeth I, and established a social safety-net for those who didn’t pay...

  • Children Act 1948
    Children Act 1948
    The Children Act 1948 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom that established a comprehensive childcare service. It reformed the services available to deprived children, consolidating existing childcare legislation and establishing departments “in which professional social work practice...

  • Agricultural Holdings Act 1948
    Agricultural Holdings Act 1948
    The Agricultural Holdings Act 1948 was an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom by the Labour government of Clement Attlee. It provided tenant farmers with security of tenure for life....

  • Employment and Training Act 1948
    Employment and Training Act 1948
    The Employment and Training Act 1948 was an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom by the Labour government of Clement Attlee. This legislation became the legal foundation for the post-war employment service under the Ministry of Labour. Every worker was encouraged to register if he or she...

  • Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act 1948
    Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act 1948
    The Nurseries and Child-Minders Regulation Act 1948 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It formally recognised the existence of childminding, and introduced provisions for the registration of child-minders and the inspection of premises...

  • Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948
    Law Reform (Personal Injuries) Act 1948
    The Law Reform Act 1948 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed during the Labour government of Clement Attlee. It improved the legal position of employees suffering from work-related accidents. In particular, it abolished the doctrine of common employment....

  • Local Government Act 1948
    Local Government Act 1948
    The Local Government Act 1948 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed during the Labour government of Clement Attlee....

  • Representation of the People Act 1948
    Representation of the People Act 1948
    The Representation of the People Act 1948 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the law relating to parliamentary and local elections...

  • Housing Act 1949
    Housing Act 1949
    The Housing Act 1949 was a British Act of Parliament which enabled local authorities to acquire homes for improvement or conversion with 75% Exchequer grants....

  • House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949
    House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949
    The House of Commons Act 1949 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that provided for the periodic review of the number and boundaries of parliamentary constituencies....

  • Landlord and Tenant (Rent Control) Act 1949
    Landlord and Tenant (Rent Control) Act 1949
    The Landlord and Tenant Act 1949 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, intended to control excessive rents being charged by landlords...

  • Lands Tribunal Act 1949
  • Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949
    Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949
    The Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949 was a British Act of Parliament which provided people unable to pay for a solicitor with free legal aid....

  • Adoption of Children Act 1949
    Adoption of Children Act 1949
    The Adoption of Children Act 1949 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. This legislation liberalised various rules concerning adoption. Placement of children for adoption came under the supervision of local authorities, while adopted children were given inheritance rights...

  • Marriage Act 1949
    Marriage Act 1949
    The Marriage Act 1949 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom regulating marriages in England and Wales. The act abolished marriages for those under 16 years of age in England and Wales....

  • National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
    National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
    The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which created the National Parks Commission which later became the Countryside Commission and then the Countryside Agency, which became Natural England when it merged with English Nature in...

  • Parliament Act 1949
    Parliament Act 1949
    The Parliament Act 1949 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.This Act must be construed as one with the Parliament Act 1911...

  • Representation of the People Act 1949
    Representation of the People Act 1949
    The Representation of the People Act 1949 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act consolidated previous electoral law, but also made some changes to administration....

  • Distribution of Industry Act 1950
    Distribution of Industry Act 1950
    The Distribution of Industry Act 1950 was an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom by the Labour government of Clement Attlee. It strengthened the powers of the Board of Trade in the Development Areas, making “further provision for the acquisition of land, creation of easements and...

  • Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation) Act 1951
    Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation) Act 1951
    The Workmen's Compensation Act 1951 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed during the Labour government of Clement Attlee...


Attlee's cabinet 1945–50

  • Clement Attlee: Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

     and Minister of Defence
  • Lord Jowitt: Lord Chancellor
    Lord Chancellor
    The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

  • Herbert Morrison
    Herbert Morrison
    Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

    : Deputy Prime Minister
    Deputy Prime Minister
    A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

    , Lord President of the Council
    Lord President of the Council
    The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

     and Leader of the House of Commons
    Leader of the House of Commons
    The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

  • Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

    : Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

  • Hugh Dalton
    Hugh Dalton
    Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

    : Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

  • Ernest Bevin
    Ernest Bevin
    Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

    : Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
  • James Chuter Ede
    James Chuter Ede
    James Chuter Ede, Baron Chuter-Ede CH, PC, DL was a British teacher, trade unionist and Labour politician. He notably served as Home Secretary under Clement Attlee from 1945 to 1951.-Early life:...

    : Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • George Henry Hall
    George Henry Hall
    George Henry Hall, 1st Viscount Hall PC was a British Labour politician. He served Secretary of State for the Colonies between 1945 and 1946 and as First Lord of the Admiralty between 1946 and 1951.-Background:...

    : Secretary of State for the Colonies
    Secretary of State for the Colonies
    The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

  • Lord Addison: Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
    Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
    The position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was a British cabinet level position created in 1925 responsible for British relations with the Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State, as well as the self-governing colony of...

     and Leader of the House of Lords
    Leader of the House of Lords
    The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...

  • Lord Pethick-Lawrence
    Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence
    Frederick William Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence PC was a British Labour politician.-Background and education:...

    : Secretary of State for India and Burma
    Secretary of State for India
    The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister responsible for the government of India and the political head of the India Office...

  • A. V. Alexander: First Lord of the Admiralty
  • Jack Lawson
    Jack Lawson
    John James "Jack" Lawson, 1st Baron Lawson PC , was a British trade unionist and a Labour politician. A miner and later Member of Parliament in County Durham, he served in the governments of Ramsay MacDonald and Clement Attlee.-Background:Lawson was born in the port town of Whitehaven, Cumberland,...

    : Secretary of State for War
    Secretary of State for War
    The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas . In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position was re-instated in 1854...

  • William Wedgwood Benn, Lord Stansgate: Secretary of State for Air
    Secretary of State for Air
    The Secretary of State for Air was a cabinet level British position. The person holding this position was in charge of the Air Ministry. It was created on 10 January 1919 to manage the Royal Air Force...

  • Ellen Wilkinson
    Ellen Wilkinson
    Ellen Cicely Wilkinson was the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough and later for Jarrow on Tyneside. She was one of the first women in Britain to be elected as a Member of Parliament .- History :...

    : Minister of Education
    Secretary of State for Education and Skills
    The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

  • Joseph Westwood
    Joseph Westwood
    Joseph Westwood was a Scottish Labour politician.Educated at Buckhaven Higher Grade School, he worked as a draper's apprentice, messenger boy and miner...

    : Secretary of State for Scotland
    Secretary of State for Scotland
    The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

  • Tom Williams
    Tom Williams, Baron Williams of Barnburgh
    "Tom" Williams, Baron Williams of Barnburgh, PC was a British coal miner who became a Labour Party politician.-Career:...

    : Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • George Isaacs
    George Isaacs
    George Alfred Isaacs JP DL was a British politician and trades unionist who served in the government of Clement Attlee....

    : Minister of Labour and National Service
    Secretary of State for Employment
    The Secretary of State for Employment was a position in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. In 1995 it was merged with Secretary of State for Education to make the Secretary of State for Education and Employment...

  • Aneurin Bevan
    Aneurin Bevan
    Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

    : Minister of Health
    Secretary of State for Health
    Secretary of State for Health is a UK cabinet position responsible for the Department of Health.The first Boards of Health were created by Orders in Council dated 21 June, 14 November, and 21 November 1831. In 1848 a General Board of Health was created with the First Commissioner of Woods and...

  • Sir Stafford Cripps
    Stafford Cripps
    Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

    : President of the Board of Trade
  • Emanuel Shinwell: Minister of Fuel and Power

Changes

  • July 1946 – Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

     becomes Paymaster-General
    Paymaster-General
    HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom. The Paymaster General is in charge of the Office of HM Paymaster General , which held accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies...

     as well as Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

    .
  • October 1946 – The three service ministers (Secretary of State for War
    Secretary of State for War
    The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas . In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position was re-instated in 1854...

    , Secretary of State for Air
    Secretary of State for Air
    The Secretary of State for Air was a cabinet level British position. The person holding this position was in charge of the Air Ministry. It was created on 10 January 1919 to manage the Royal Air Force...

    , and First Lord of the Admiralty) cease to be cabinet positions. A. V. Alexander remains in the cabinet as Minister without Portfolio
    Minister without Portfolio
    A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

    . George Hall replaces A. V. Alexander as First Lord of the Admiralty, outside the cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

    . Arthur Creech Jones
    Arthur Creech Jones
    Arthur Creech Jones was a British trade union official and politician. Originally a civil servant, his imprisonment as a conscientious objector during the First World War forced him to change careers. A protégé of Ernest Bevin, he was elected to Parliament in 1935 and served in the Colonial Office...

     succeeds Hall
    Hall
    In architecture, a hall is fundamentally a relatively large space enclosed by a roof and walls. In the Iron Age, a mead hall was such a simple building and was the residence of a lord and his retainers...

     as Secretary of State for the Colonies
    Secretary of State for the Colonies
    The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

    .
  • December 1946 – A. V. Alexander succeeds Attlee as Minister of Defence.
  • February 1947 – George Tomlinson
    George Tomlinson
    George Tomlinson was a British Labour Party politician.Born in Rishton, Lancashire, he was a conscientious objector in the First World War, and worked on the land....

     succeeds Ellen Wilkinson
    Ellen Wilkinson
    Ellen Cicely Wilkinson was the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough and later for Jarrow on Tyneside. She was one of the first women in Britain to be elected as a Member of Parliament .- History :...

     as Minister of Education
    Secretary of State for Education and Skills
    The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

     upon her death.
  • March 1947 – Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

     ceases to be Paymaster-General
    Paymaster-General
    HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom. The Paymaster General is in charge of the Office of HM Paymaster General , which held accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies...

    , remaining Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

    . His successor as Paymaster-General
    Paymaster-General
    HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom. The Paymaster General is in charge of the Office of HM Paymaster General , which held accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies...

     is not in the cabinet.
  • April 1947 – Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

     becomes Minister without Portfolio
    Minister without Portfolio
    A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

    . Lord Inman
    Philip Inman, 1st Baron Inman
    Philip Inman, 1st Baron Inman PC was a British Labour politician.-Background and education:Inman was the son of Philip Inman , of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, by his wife Hannah Bickerdyke, of Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire. He was educated at Headingley College, Leeds, and Leeds University...

     succeeds Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

     as Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

    . William Francis Hare, Lord Listowel
    William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel
    William Francis Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel GCMG, PC , styled Viscount Ennismore between 1924 and 1931, was a British peer and Labour politician...

     succeeds Lord Pethick-Lawrence
    Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence
    Frederick William Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence PC was a British Labour politician.-Background and education:...

     as Secretary of State for India and Burma.
  • July 1947 – The Dominion Affairs Office becomes the Office of Commonwealth Relations. Addison
    Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
    Sir Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison KG, PC was a British medical doctor and politician. By turns a liberal and a socialist, he served as Minister of Munitions during the first World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under...

     remains at the head.
  • August 1947 – The India and Burma Office becomes the Burma office with India's independence. Lord Listowel
    William Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel
    William Francis Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel GCMG, PC , styled Viscount Ennismore between 1924 and 1931, was a British peer and Labour politician...

     remains in office.
  • September 1947 – Sir
    Sir
    Sir is an honorific used as a title , or as a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures...

     Stafford Cripps
    Stafford Cripps
    Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

     becomes Minister of Economic Affairs
    Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
    The Secretary of State for Economic Affairs was briefly an office of Her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom. It was established by Harold Wilson in October 1964...

    . Harold Wilson
    Harold Wilson
    James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

     succeeds Cripps as President of the Board of Trade. Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood
    Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

     retires from the Front Bench.
  • October 1947 – Lord Addison
    Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
    Sir Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison KG, PC was a British medical doctor and politician. By turns a liberal and a socialist, he served as Minister of Munitions during the first World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under...

     succeeds Lord Inman
    Philip Inman, 1st Baron Inman
    Philip Inman, 1st Baron Inman PC was a British Labour politician.-Background and education:Inman was the son of Philip Inman , of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, by his wife Hannah Bickerdyke, of Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire. He was educated at Headingley College, Leeds, and Leeds University...

     as Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

    , remaining also Leader of the House of Lords
    Leader of the House of Lords
    The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...

    . Philip Noel-Baker succeeds Lord Addison
    Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
    Sir Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison KG, PC was a British medical doctor and politician. By turns a liberal and a socialist, he served as Minister of Munitions during the first World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under...

     as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
    Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
    The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a British Cabinet office existing between 1947 and 1966, responsible for dealing with British relationship with members of the Commonwealth of Nations . The position was created out of the old position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs...

    . Arthur Woodburn
    Arthur Woodburn
    Arthur Woodburn was a Scottish Labour politician.Born in Edinburgh, he was educated at Heriot Watt College. Imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War I, Woodburn worked in engineering and ironfounding administration, and was a lecturer and national secretary of the Scottish Labour...

     succeeds Joseph Westwood
    Joseph Westwood
    Joseph Westwood was a Scottish Labour politician.Educated at Buckhaven Higher Grade School, he worked as a draper's apprentice, messenger boy and miner...

     as Secretary of State for Scotland
    Secretary of State for Scotland
    The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

    . The Minister of Fuel and Power, Emanuel Shinwell, leaves the Cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

    .
  • November 1947 – Sir
    Sir
    Sir is an honorific used as a title , or as a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures...

     Stafford Cripps
    Stafford Cripps
    Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

     succeeds Hugh Dalton
    Hugh Dalton
    Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

     as Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

    .
  • January 1948 – The Burma Office is abolished with Burma's independence.
  • May 1948: Hugh Dalton
    Hugh Dalton
    Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

     re-enters the Cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

     as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

    . Lord Pakenham
    Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford
    Francis Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford KG, PC , known as the Lord Pakenham from 1945 to 1961, was a British politician, author, and social reformer...

     enters the Cabinet as Minister of Civil Aviation.
  • July 1948: Lord Addison
    Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
    Sir Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison KG, PC was a British medical doctor and politician. By turns a liberal and a socialist, he served as Minister of Munitions during the first World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under...

     becomes Paymaster-General
    Paymaster-General
    HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom. The Paymaster General is in charge of the Office of HM Paymaster General , which held accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies...

    .
  • April 1949: Lord Addison
    Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
    Sir Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison KG, PC was a British medical doctor and politician. By turns a liberal and a socialist, he served as Minister of Munitions during the first World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under...

     ceases to be Paymaster-General
    Paymaster-General
    HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom. The Paymaster General is in charge of the Office of HM Paymaster General , which held accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies...

    , remaining Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

     and Leader of the House of Lords
    Leader of the House of Lords
    The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...

    . His successor as Paymaster-General
    Paymaster-General
    HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom. The Paymaster General is in charge of the Office of HM Paymaster General , which held accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies...

     is not in the Cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

    .

Attlee's cabinet 1950–51

In February 1950, a substantial reshuffle took place following the General Election:
  • Clement Attlee: Prime Minister
  • Lord Jowitt: Lord Chancellor
    Lord Chancellor
    The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

  • Herbert Morrison: Deputy Prime Minister
    Deputy Prime Minister
    A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

    , Lord President of the Council
    Lord President of the Council
    The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

     and Leader of the House of Commons
    Leader of the House of Commons
    The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

  • Lord Addison
    Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
    Sir Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison KG, PC was a British medical doctor and politician. By turns a liberal and a socialist, he served as Minister of Munitions during the first World War, and was later Minister of Health under David Lloyd George and Leader of the House of Lords under...

    : Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

     and Leader of the House of Lords
    Leader of the House of Lords
    The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...

  • Sir Stafford Cripps
    Stafford Cripps
    Sir Richard Stafford Cripps was a British Labour politician of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II he served in a number of positions in the wartime coalition, including Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Minister of Aircraft Production...

    : Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

  • Ernest Bevin
    Ernest Bevin
    Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

    : Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
  • James Chuter Ede
    James Chuter Ede
    James Chuter Ede, Baron Chuter-Ede CH, PC, DL was a British teacher, trade unionist and Labour politician. He notably served as Home Secretary under Clement Attlee from 1945 to 1951.-Early life:...

    : Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • Jim Griffiths
    Jim Griffiths
    James "Jim" Griffiths CH , was a Welsh Labour politician, trade union leader and the first ever Secretary of State for Wales.-Background and education:...

    : Secretary of State for the Colonies
    Secretary of State for the Colonies
    The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

  • Patrick Gordon Walker
    Patrick Gordon Walker
    Patrick Chrestien Gordon Walker, Baron Gordon-Walker CH, PC was a British Labour Party politician. He was a Member of Parliament for nearly thirty years, and served twice as a Cabinet minister...

    : Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
    Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations
    The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations was a British Cabinet office existing between 1947 and 1966, responsible for dealing with British relationship with members of the Commonwealth of Nations . The position was created out of the old position of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs...

  • Harold Wilson
    Harold Wilson
    James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

    : President of the Board of Trade
  • Lord Alexander of Hillsborough: Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

  • George Tomlinson
    George Tomlinson
    George Tomlinson was a British Labour Party politician.Born in Rishton, Lancashire, he was a conscientious objector in the First World War, and worked on the land....

    : Minister of Education
    Secretary of State for Education and Skills
    The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

  • Hector McNeil
    Hector McNeil
    Hector McNeil PC was a Scottish Labour politician.McNeil was educated at Woodside School and the University of Glasgow, trained as an engineer and worked as a journalist on a Scottish national newspaper. He was a member of Glasgow Town Council 1932-8...

    : Secretary of State for Scotland
    Secretary of State for Scotland
    The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

  • Tom Williams
    Tom Williams, Baron Williams of Barnburgh
    "Tom" Williams, Baron Williams of Barnburgh, PC was a British coal miner who became a Labour Party politician.-Career:...

    : Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • George Isaacs
    George Isaacs
    George Alfred Isaacs JP DL was a British politician and trades unionist who served in the government of Clement Attlee....

    : Minister of Labour
    Secretary of State for Employment
    The Secretary of State for Employment was a position in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. In 1995 it was merged with Secretary of State for Education to make the Secretary of State for Education and Employment...

     and National Service
  • Aneurin Bevan
    Aneurin Bevan
    Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

    : Minister of Health
    Secretary of State for Health
    Secretary of State for Health is a UK cabinet position responsible for the Department of Health.The first Boards of Health were created by Orders in Council dated 21 June, 14 November, and 21 November 1831. In 1848 a General Board of Health was created with the First Commissioner of Woods and...

  • Emanuel Shinwell: Minister of Defence
  • Hugh Dalton
    Hugh Dalton
    Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC was a British Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947, when he was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks....

    : Minister of Town and Country Planning

Changes

  • October 1950: Hugh Gaitskell
    Hugh Gaitskell
    Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

     succeeds Sir Stafford Cripps as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • January 1951: Aneurin Bevan succeeds George Isaacs as Minister of Labour and National Service
    National service
    National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

    . Bevan's successor as Minister of Health is not in the cabinet. Hugh Dalton's post is renamed Minister of Local Government and Planning.
  • March 1951: Herbert Morrison succeeds Ernest Bevin as Foreign Secretary. Lord Addison succeeds Morrison as Lord President
    Lord President of the Council
    The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

    . Bevin succeeds Addison as Lord Privy Seal. James Chuter Ede succeeds Morrison as Leader of the House of Commons whilst remaining Home Secretary.
  • April 1951: Richard Stokes
    Richard Stokes
    Major Sir Richard Rapier Stokes MC was a British Labour politician who served briefly as Lord Privy Seal in 1951....

     succeeds Ernest Bevin as Lord Privy Seal. Alf Robens succeeds Aneurin Bevan (resigned) as Minister of Labour and National Service. Sir Hartley Shawcross succeeds Harold Wilson (resigned) as President of the Board of Trade.

Further reading

Clement Attlee published his memoirs, As it Happened, in 1954.

Francis Williams' A Prime Minister Remembers, based on interviews with Attlee, was published in 1961.

Attlee's other publications include:

The Social Worker (1920);
The Town Councillor (1925);
The Will and the Way to Socialism (1935);
The Labour Party in Perspective (1937);
Collective Security Under the United Nations (1958);
Empire into Commonwealth (1961).

Biographies include:
  • Roy Jenkins
    Roy Jenkins
    Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead OM, PC was a British politician.The son of a Welsh coal miner who later became a union official and Labour MP, Roy Jenkins served with distinction in World War II. Elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1948, he served in several major posts in...

    , Mr Attlee (1948)
  • Kenneth Harris, Attlee (1982)
  • Trevor Burridge, Clement Attlee: A Political Biography, (1985)
  • Francis Beckett, Clem Attlee (1997)
  • David Howell, Attlee (2006)
  • Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds, Attlee: A Life in Politics (2010)


Biographies of Attlee and of his Cabinet can be found in:
  • Greg Rosen (ed) Dictionary of Labour Biography. Politicos Publishing. ISBN 1-902301-18-8


The entry on Attlee in the Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published from 1885...

 (DNB) was prepared by Maurice Shock
Maurice Shock
Sir Maurice Shock was a British university administrator and educationalist.Maurice Shock was educated at King Edward VI Aston in Birmingham.During his early career, Maurice Shock worked for British intelligence...

, who as a Fellow of University College, Oxford
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

 (Attlee's alma mater), came to know Attlee personally in his later years.

Accounts of the period include:

Kenneth O. Morgan, Labour in Power 1945–51, Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

, 1984;

Greg Rosen, Old Labour to New, Politicos Publishing, 2005.

External links



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