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Snowden, Philip

Snowden, Philip (1864–1937). Labour politician. Snowden came from humble Yorkshire weaving stock, but managed to obtain a junior post in the civil service. Through a process of self-education he converted himself to socialism, joining the Independent Labour Party, of which he became (1903–6 and 1917–20) national chairman; he entered Parliament in 1906 as MP for Blackburn, later representing Colne Valley. During the 1920s his revolutionary ardour dimmed; he opposed the General Strike (1926) and resigned from the ILP the following year. Snowden's grasp of fiscal matters led to his appointment as chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour governments of 1924 and 1929–31, but far from pursuing a socialist economic policy he revealed himself as a devotee of the balanced budget and an unrepentant supporter of free trade. Following the collapse of the minority Labour government in 1931, Snowden Joined Ramsay MacDonald's National Government, thus retaining his Exchequer portfolio, but the following year (by then a viscount) he resigned on the issue of free trade.

Geoffrey Alderman

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