Attlee ministry

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Clement Attlee

Clement Attlee formed the Attlee Ministry in the United Kingdom in 1945, succeeding Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Leaders[edit]

The Labour Party came to power in the United Kingdom after its unexpected victory in the July 1945 general elections. Party leader Clement Attlee became Prime Minister replacing Winston Churchill in late July. Ernest Bevin was Foreign Secretary until shortly before his death in April 1951. Hugh Dalton became Chancellor of the Exchequer, but had to resign in 1947, while James Chuter Ede was Home Secretary for the whole length of the party's stay in power.

Other notable figures in the government included: Herbert Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons, who replaced Bevin as Foreign Secretary in March 1951; Sir Stafford Cripps was initially President of the Board of Trade but replaced Dalton as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1947; Hugh Gaitskell held several minor posts before replacing Cripps as Chancellor in 1950; Nye Bevan was Minister for Health; Arthur Greenwood was Lord Privy Seal and Paymaster General while future Prime Minister Harold Wilson became the youngest member of the cabinet in the 20th century (at the age of 31) when he was made President of the Board of Trade in 1947. The most notable of the few female members of the government was Ellen Wilkinson, who was Minister for Education until her early death in 1947.

Policies[edit]

Main article: Postwar Britain

It was an “age of austerity,” as wartime rationing was continued and even expanded to cover bread. Living conditions were poor, instead of expansion it was a matter of replacing the national wealth destroyed or used up during the war. The Great Depression did not return, and full employment was the norm. Returning veterans were successfully reabsorbed into the economy and society.[1] The Attlee government nationalized about 20% of the economy, including coal, railroads, road transport, the Bank of England, civil aviation, cable and wireless, electricity and gas, and steel. However there was no money for investment to modernize these industries, and there was no effort made to turn control over to union members. The Attlee government greatly expanded the welfare state, with the Family Allowances Act (1945) and especially the National Health Service Act of 1946, which nationalized the hospitals and provided for free universal medical care. The National Insurance Act of 1946 provided sickness and unemployment benefits for adults, plus retirement pensions. The National Assistance Act of 1948 provided a safety net or anyone not otherwise covered. The Education Act of 1944 was expanded, more council housing was built, and plans were made through the New Towns Act of 1946 for the growth of suburbs. Since there was little money for detailed planning, the government adopted Keynesianism, which allowed for planning in the sense of overall control of the national deficit and surplus.[2][3]

In foreign affairs, the government was active in the United Nations and negotiated a $5 billion loan from the U.S. and Canada in 1946. It eagerly joined the Marshall Plan in 1948. It could no longer afford to support the Greek government and encouraged the U.S. to take its place through the Truman Doctrine in 1947. It took an active role in joining the United States in the Cold War and forming NATO. It gave independence to India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma and moved to strengthen the British Commonwealth.[4]

Fate[edit]

The Labour Party narrowly defeated the Conservative Party at the February 1950 general election. However, in the October 1951 general elections the Conservatives returned to power under Winston Churchill. Labour was to remain out of office for the next thirteen years, until 1964, when Harold Wilson became Prime Minister.

Cabinets[edit]

1945 − 1950[edit]

Changes[edit]

1950 − 1951[edit]

In February 1950, a substantial reshuffle took place following the General Election:

Changes[edit]

  • October 1950: Hugh Gaitskell succeeds Sir Stafford Cripps as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • January 1951: Aneurin Bevan succeeds George Isaacs as Minister of Labour and National Service. 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. 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 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.

List of Ministers[edit]

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

Office Name Dates Notes
Prime Minister
and First Lord of the Treasury
Clement Attlee 26 July 1945 – 26 October 1951  
Lord Chancellor The Lord Jowitt 27 July 1945  
Lord President of the Council Herbert Morrison 27 July 1945 also Leader of the House of Commons
The Viscount Addison 9 March 1951 also Leader of the House of Lords
Lord Privy Seal Arthur Greenwood 27 July 1945  
The Lord Inman 17 April 1947  
The Viscount Addison 7 October 1947 also Leader of the House of Lords
Ernest Bevin 9 March 1951  
Richard Stokes 26 April 1951 Also Minister of Materials from 6 July 1951
Chancellor of the Exchequer Hugh Dalton 27 July 1945  
Sir Stafford Cripps 13 November 1947  
Hugh Gaitskell 19 October 1950  
Minister of Economic Affairs Sir Stafford Cripps 29 September 1947 New office. Combined with Chancellor of the Exchequer November 1947
Hugh Gaitskell 28 February 1950 – 19 October 1950  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury William Whiteley 3 August 1945  
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Glenvil Hall 4 August 1945  
Douglas Jay 2 March 1950  
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Douglas Jay 5 December 1947 Office vacant 2 March 1950
John Edwards 19 October 1950  
Lords of the Treasury Robert John Taylor 4 August 1945 – 26 October 1951  
Joseph Henderson 4 August 1945 – 1 January 1950  
Michael Stewart 10 August 1945 – 30 March 1946  
Arthur Blenkinsop 10 August 1945 – 10 May 1946  
Frank Collindridge 10 August 1945 – 9 December 1946  
Charles Simmons 30 March 1946 – 1 February 1949  
William Hannan 10 May 1946 – 26 October 1951  
Julian Snow 9 December 1946 – 3 March 1950  
Richard Adams 1 February 1949 – 23 April 1950  
William Wilkins 1 January 1950 – 26 October 1951  
Herbert Bowden 3 March 1950 – 26 October 1951  
Charles Royle 23 April 1950 – 26 October 1951  
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ernest Bevin 27 July 1945  
Herbert Morrison 9 March 1951  
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Philip Noel-Baker 3 August 1945
Hector McNeil 4 October 1946  
Kenneth Younger 28 February 1950  
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Hector McNeil 4 August 1945 – 4 October 1946  
Christopher Mayhew 4 October 1946 – 2 March 1950  
The Lord Henderson 7 June 1948 – 26 October 1951  
Ernest Davies 2 March 1950 – 26 October 1951  
Secretary of State for the Home Department James Chuter Ede 3 August 1945 also Leader of the House of Commons 1951
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department George Oliver 4 August 1945  
Kenneth Younger 7 October 1947  
Geoffrey de Freitas 2 March 1950  
First Lord of the Admiralty A. V. Alexander 3 August 1945  
George Henry Hall 4 October 1946 Not in cabinet
The Lord Pakenham 24 May 1951  
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty John Dugdale 4 August 1945  
James Callaghan 2 March 1950  
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Walter James Edwards 4 August 1945  
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Tom Williams 3 August 1945  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries The Earl of Huntingdon 4 August 1945 – 22 November 1950  
Percy Collick 5 September 1945 – 7 October 1947  
George Brown 7 October 1947 – 26 April 1951  
The Earl of Listowel 22 November 1950 – 26 October 1951  
Arthur Champion 26 April 1951 – 26 October 1951  
Secretary of State for Air The Viscount Stansgate 3 August 1945  
Philip Noel-Baker 4 October 1946 Not in Cabinet
Arthur Henderson 7 October 1947  
Under-Secretary of State for Air John Strachey 4 August 1945  
Geoffrey de Freitas 27 May 1946  
Aidan Crawley 2 March 1950  
Minister of Aircraft Production John Wilmot 4 August 1945 Office abolished 1 April 1946
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aircraft Production Arthur Woodburn 4 August 1945  
Minister of Civil Aviation The Lord Winster 4 August 1945  
The Lord Nathan 4 October 1946  
The Lord Pakenham 31 May 1948 Office in Cabinet until 28 February 1950
The Lord Ogmore 1 June 1951  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Civil Aviation I. Thomas 10 August 1945  
George Lindgren 4 October 1946  
Frank Beswick 2 March 1950  
Secretary of State for the Colonies George Hall 3 August 1945  
Arthur Creech Jones 4 October 1946  
James Griffiths 28 February 1950  
Minister of State for the Colonies The Earl of Listowel 4 January 1948  
John Dugdale 28 February 1950  
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies Arthur Creech Jones 4 August 1945  
I. Thomas 4 October 1946  
David Rees-Williams 7 October 1947  
Thomas Fotheringham Cook 2 March 1950  
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations The Viscount Addison 7 July 1947 also Leader of the House of Lords
Philip Noel-Baker 7 October 1947  
Patrick Gordon Walker 28 February 1950  
Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations Arthur Henderson 14 August 1947 – 7 October 1947  
Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations Arthur Bottomley 7 July 1947  
Patrick Gordon Walker 7 October 1947  
The Lord Holden 2 March 1950  
David Rees-Williams 4 July 1950 Lord Ogmore from 5 July
The Earl of Lucan 1 July 1951  
Minister of Defence Clement Attlee 27 July 1945 Also Prime Minister
A. V. Alexander 20 December 1946  
Emanuel Shinwell 28 February 1950  
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs The Viscount Addison 3 August 1945 also Leader of the House of Lords; became Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations 7 July 1947
Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs John Parker 4 August 1945  
Arthur Bottomley 10 May 1946  
Minister of Education Ellen Wilkinson 3 August 1945  
George Tomlinson 10 February 1947  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education Arthur Jenkins 4 August 1945  
David Hardman 30 October 1945  
Minister of Food Sir Ben Smith 3 August 1945  
John Strachey 27 May 1946  
Maurice Webb 28 February 1950  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Food Edith Summerskill 4 August 1945  
Stanley Evans 2 March 1950  
Fred Willey 18 April 1950  
Minister of Fuel and Power Emanuel Shinwell 3 August 1945  
Hugh Gaitskell 7 October 1947 Office no longer in Cabinet
Philip Noel-Baker 28 February 1950  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fuel and Power William Foster 4 August 1945  
Hugh Gaitskell 10 May 1946  
Alfred Robens 7 October 1947  
Harold Neal 26 April 1951  
Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan 3 August 1945  
Hilary Marquand 17 January 1951 Office not in Cabinet
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health Charles Key 4 August 1945  
John Edwards 12 February 1947  
Arthur Blenkinsop 1 February 1949  
Secretary of State for India and Burma The Lord Pethick-Lawrence 3 August 1945  
The Earl of Listowel 17 April 1947 Offices abolished 14 August 1947 (India) and 4 January 1948 (Burma)
Under-Secretary of State for India and Burma Arthur Henderson 4 August 1945 – 14 August 1947  
Minister of Information Edward Williams 4 August 1945  
The Earl of Listowel 26 February 1946 Office abolished 31 March 1946
Minister of Labour and National Service George Isaacs 3 August 1945  
Aneurin Bevan 18 January 1951  
Alfred Robens 24 April 1951  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour Ness Edwards 4 August 1945  
Fred Lee 2 March 1950  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster John Hynd 4 August 1945  
The Lord Pakenham 17 April 1947  
Hugh Dalton 31 May 1948 Office in Cabinet
The Viscount Alexander of Hillsborough 28 February 1950  
Minister of National Insurance James Griffiths 4 August 1945  
Edith Summerskill 28 February 1950  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Insurance George Lindgren 4 August 1945  
Tom Steele 4 October 1946  
Bernard Taylor 2 March 1950  
Paymaster General office vacant    
Arthur Greenwood 9 July 1946  
Hilary Marquand 5 March 1947  
The Viscount Addison 2 July 1948 also Leader of the House of Lords
The Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor 1 April 1949  
Minister without Portfolio A. V. Alexander 4 October 1946 – 20 December 1946  
Arthur Greenwood 17 April 1947 – 29 September 1947  
Minister for Pensions Wilfred Paling 3 August 1945  
John Hynd 17 April 1947  
George Buchanan 7 October 1947  
Hilary Marquand 2 July 1948  
George Isaacs 17 January 1951  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions Jennie Adamson 4 August 1945  
Arthur Blenkinsop 10 May 1946  
Charles Simmons 1 February 1949  
Postmaster General The Earl of Listowel 4 August 1945  
Wilfred Paling 17 April 1947  
Ness Edwards 28 February 1950  
Assistant Postmaster General Wilfrid Burke 10 August 1945  
Charles Rider Hobson 7 October 1947  
Secretary of State for Scotland Joseph Westwood 3 August 1945  
Arthur Woodburn 7 October 1947  
Hector McNeil 28 February 1950  
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland George Buchanan 4 August 1945 – 7 October 1947  
Tom Fraser 4 August 1945 – 26 October 1951  
John James Robertson 7 October 1947 – 26 October 1951  
Margaret Herbison 2 March 1950 – 26 October 1951  
Minister of Supply John Wilmot 3 August 1945  
George Strauss 7 October 1947  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Supply William Leonard 4 August 1945 – 7 October 1947  
Arthur Woodburn 1 April 1946 – 7 October 1947  
John Freeman 7 October 1947 – 23 April 1951  
John Henry Jones 7 October 1947 – 2 March 1950  
Michael Stewart 2 May 1951 – 26 October 1951  
Minister of Town and Country Planning Lewis Silkin 4 August 1945  
Hugh Dalton 28 February 1950 Became Minister of Local Government and Planning 31 January 1951
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Town and Country Planning Fred Marshall 10 August 1945  
Evelyn King 7 October 1947  
George Lindgren 2 March 1950  
President of the Board of Trade Sir Stafford Cripps 27 July 1945  
Harold Wilson 29 September 1947  
Sir Hartley Shawcross 24 April 1951  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade Ellis Smith 4 August 1945  
John Belcher 12 January 1946  
John Edwards 1 February 1949  
Hervey Rhodes 2 March 1950  
Secretary for Overseas Trade Hilary Marquand 4 August 1945  
Harold Wilson 5 March 1947  
Arthur Bottomley 7 October 1947  
Minister of Transport Alfred Barnes 3 August 1945  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport George Strauss 4 August 1945  
James Callaghan  
The Lord Lucas of Chilworth 2 March 1950  
Secretary of State for War Jack Lawson 3 August 1945  
Frederick Bellenger 4 October 1946  
Emanuel Shinwell 7 October 1947  
John Strachey 28 February 1950  
Under-Secretary of State for War The Lord Nathan 4 August 1945  
The Lord Pakenham 4 October 1946 – 17 April 1947 Office combined with Financial Secretary
Financial Secretary to the War Office Frederick Bellenger 4 August 1945  
John Freeman 4 October 1946 Under-Secretary role incorporated 17 April 1947
Michael Stewart  
Woodrow Wyatt 2 May 1951  
Minister of Works George Tomlinson 4 August 1945  
Charles Key 10 February 1947  
Richard Stokes 28 February 1950  
George Brown 26 April 1951  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Works Harold Wilson 4 August 1945  
Evan Durbin 5 March 1947  
The Lord Morrison 26 September 1948  
Attorney General Sir Hartley Shawcross 4 August 1945  
Sir Frank Soskice 24 April 1951  
Solicitor General Sir Frank Soskice 4 August 1945  
Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas 24 April 1951  
Lord Advocate George Reid Thomson 10 August 1945  
John Wheatley 7 October 1947  
Solicitor General for Scotland Daniel Patterson Blades 10 September 1945  
John Wheatley 19 March 1947  
Douglas Johnston 24 October 1947  
Treasurer of the Household George Mathers 4 August 1945  
Arthur Pearson 30 March 1946  
Comptroller of the Household Arthur Pearson 4 August 1945  
Michael Stewart 30 March 1946  
Frank Collindridge 9 December 1946  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Julian Snow 10 August 1945  
Michael Stewart 9 December 1946  
Ernest Popplewell 16 October 1947  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Ammon 4 August 1945  
The Lord Shepherd 18 October 1949  
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Lord Walkden 4 August 1945  
The Lord Shepherd 6 July 1949  
The Lord Lucas of Chilworth 18 October 1949  
The Earl of Lucan 5 March 1950  
The Lord Archibald 8 June 1951  
Lords in Waiting The Lord Westwood 10 September 1945 – 17 January 1947  
The Lord Pakenham 14 October 1945 – 4 October 1946  
The Lord Henderson 21 October 1945 – 7 June 1948  
The Lord Chorley 11 October 1946 – 31 March 1950  
The Lord Morrison 17 January 1947 – 26 September 1948  
The Lord Lucas of Chilworth 9 July 1948 – 18 October 1949  
The Lord Shepherd 14 October 1948 – 6 July 1949  
The Lord Kershaw 6 July 1949 – 26 October 1951  
The Lord Darwen 18 October 1949 – 26 December 1950  
The Lord Burden 31 March 1950 – 26 October 1951  
The Lord Haden-Guest 13 February 1951 – 26 October 1951  

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Andrew Marr, A History of Modern Britain (2007) pp 1-111
  2. ^ Stephen J. Lee, Aspects of British Political History 1914-1995 (1996) pp 185-89
  3. ^ Alan Sked and Chris Cook, Post-War Britain: A Political History (1993) pp 24-223
  4. ^ Stephen J. Lee, Aspects of British Political History 1914-1995 (1996) pp 261-66, 310-12

References[edit]

  • Butler, David and G. Butler, Twentieth Century British Political Facts 1900–2000
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. Labour in Power 1945–51 (Oxford University Press, 1984)
  • Ovendale, R. ed. The foreign policy of the British Labour governments, 1945–51 (1984)
Preceded by
Churchill caretaker ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1945–1951
Succeeded by
Third Churchill ministry