Sir Stafford Cripps

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Cripps, Sir Stafford (1889–1952). Cripps was a successful barrister before he was appointed Labour solicitor-general in 1930. Along with Lansbury and Attlee, he became the most important Labour MP to survive the 1931 electoral débâcle. The economic crisis converted Cripps to socialism and he took the leadership of the Socialist League. His energetic advocacy of first the ‘Unity Campaign’ and later the ‘Popular Front’ made Cripps prominent but earned him expulsion from the Labour Party in 1939.

During the war, Cripps rose to the fore after the success of his ambassadorship to Russia, although the failure of his subsequent mission to India—perhaps a deliberate ploy by Churchill to discredit him—checked his advance. In 1945 Attlee appointed Cripps president of the Board of Trade (1945–7) and then chancellor of the Exchequer (1947–50). These jobs he carried out with his characteristic emphasis on self-sacrifice and austerity. His powers of persuasion and sheer moral authority enabled him to arrange a voluntary wage freeze with the unions and a hold on dividends, which was maintained for two years. His dedication and rigorous working schedule forced his resignation in 1950, and he died soon after.

Lewis Mates

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Cripps, Sir (Richard) Stafford (1889–1952) British statesman. He belonged to the left wing of the Labour Party and was ambassador to Russia (1940–42), later serving in Winston Churchill's war cabinet. As chancellor of the exchequer (1947–50) in the reforming government of Attlee, he played a significant role in reconstruction of the post-war economy.

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