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Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Labour also planned new and improved schools, improved pensions and benefits, and laid the foundations for the extension of voting rights to millions more. He broke with Labour policy in 1931, and was expelled from the party and excoriated as a turncoat, as the party was overwhelmingly crushed that year by the National Government coalition that Snowden supported. Bevan at this time thought that Gaitskell should be reduced to "a junior clerk" in the next Labour Government. He was attacked for this by the US Secretary of the Treasury John Wesley Snyder and Camille Gutt (former Belgian finance minister and now managing director of the IMF).

Gaitskell (diary 10 August 1951) stated that he and Morrison thought that Attlee had been too weak in dealing with Bevan.The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the government's chief financial minister and responsible for the fiscal and monetary policy of the United Kingdom.

The abrupt and unexpected nature of Gaitskell's death led to some speculation that foul play might have been involved. Snowden unsuccessfully contested the Wakefield constituency in West Yorkshire in a by-election in March 1902, where he received 40 percent of the votes. Future Prime Minister Harold Wilson would also be inspired by Snowden's policies to resist a devaluation of the pound sterling in 1967. He received strong backing from the TGWU whose block vote was of immense importance at the Labour Conference and which was able to exert pressure on its sponsored MPs to toe the party line.Bevan now claimed he had "misunderstood or misheard" what Gaitskell planned and was reported to be "absolutely livid" and "wondering whether to blow the whole thing wide open".

By 1902, he had moved his base to Leeds and toured Britain as a lecturer on politics and corruption, with his own syndicated column and short essays in numerous working class outlets. Gaitskell and Wilson met with Attlee, Ernest Bevin and Cripps at Chequers on 19 August, and Bevin and Cripps agreed with some reluctance to devaluation. Through times of struggle, of conflict, of economic depression, it has been Labour that has fought for working people here and around the world.All British Chancellors of the Exchequer have yielded themselves, some spontaneously, some unconsciously, some reluctantly to that compulsive intellectual atmosphere. In March 1960 the NEC agreed a new statement of Labour's aims as an addition to Clause IV rather than a replacement. Until then Gaitskell had shared concerns that some countries might stay in permanent deficit and thus effectively use their neighbours for free borrowing, or conversely that Belgium's surplus would enable her to suck gold and dollars from Britain. The decision was finally confirmed by the Cabinet on 9 August, although Cripps rejected Gaitskell's plan for a floating band. Philip Snowden, First Viscount Snowden, the British politician, was a forthright and convincing speaker.

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