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Morrison, Herbert

Morrison, Herbert (1888–1965). Labour Party politician and statesman. After he became secretary in 1915, Morrison's organizational skills accelerated the steady rise of the London Labour Party. Mayor of Hackney 1920–1, London county councillor from 1922, and MP for South Hackney in 1923–4, 1929–31, 1935–45 (and Lewisham 1945–59), Morrison led Labour to victory in the 1934 LCC elections. The culmination of his London-based successes was the 1951 Festival of Britain. After a brief spell as minister of supply (May–October 1940), for most of the wartime coalition he served as Churchill's high-profile and popular home secretary (1940–5). In the post-war Labour government, Morrison played a key co-ordinating role as lord president and leader of the Commons (1945–51) before an unhappy tenure as foreign secretary (March–October 1951). His 1931 London Passenger Transport Bill (whilst minister of transport 1929–31) provided the ‘public corporation’ model of nationalization adopted by the Attlee government; however after 1947 he urged ‘consolidation’. Despite serving as Attlee's deputy for a decade (and having a sounder judgement over the timing of the 1950 and 1951 elections), Morrison was defeated in the Labour leadership contest in 1955, as he had been in 1935.

Stuart Carter

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