- Herbert Morrison
The Right Honourable
The Lord Morrison of Lambeth
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom In office
26 July 1945 – 26 October 1951
Prime Minister Clement Attlee Preceded by Clement Attlee Succeeded by Anthony Eden Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs In office
9 March 1951 – 26 October 1951
Prime Minister Clement Attlee Preceded by Ernest Bevin Succeeded by Anthony Eden Lord President of the Council In office
26 July 1945 – 9 March 1951
Prime Minister Clement Attlee Preceded by Lord Woolton Succeeded by Viscount Addison Leader of the House of Commons In office
26 July 1945 – 16 March 1951
Prime Minister Clement Attlee Preceded by Anthony Eden Succeeded by James Chuter Ede Home Secretary In office
4 October 1940 – 23 May 1945
Prime Minister Winston Churchill Preceded by Sir John Anderson Succeeded by Donald Somervell Personal details Born 3 January 1888
Lambeth, London, UK
Died 6 March 1965 (aged 77)
Peckham, South London, UK
Nationality British Political party Labour
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC (3 January 1888 – 6 March 1965) was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.
Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in Lambeth, London. As a baby he lost the sight in his right eye due to infection. Like many early Labour leaders, had little in the way of formal education and left school at 14 to become an errand boy. His early politics were radical, and he briefly flirted with the Social Democratic Federation over the Independent Labour Party (ILP). As a conscientious objector, he worked in a market garden in Letchworth in World War I.
Morrison eventually became a pioneer leader in the London Labour Party. He was elected to the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney in 1919 when the Labour Party won control of the Borough, and he was Mayor in 1920-21. Morrison was a follower of Clapton Orient FC and became a shareholder in the club. He was elected to the London County Council (LCC) in 1922 and at the 1923 general election he became Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney South, but lost that seat the following year when Ramsay MacDonald's first administration lost the general election.
Morrison returned to Parliament in the 1929 general election, and MacDonald appointed him Minister of Transport. Morrison, like many others in the party, was deeply disheartened by MacDonald's national government, and he lost his seat again in 1931.
Morrison continued to sit on the London County Council and in 1933 was elected to lead the Labour Group. Unexpectedly, Labour won the 1934 LCC election and Morrison became Leader of the Council. This gave him control of almost all local government services in London. His main achievements here included the unification of bus, tram and trolleybus services with the Underground, by the creation of the London Passenger Transport Board (colloquially known as London Transport) in 1933, and creating the Metropolitan Green Belt around the suburbs. He confronted the Government over its refusal to finance the replacement of Waterloo Bridge, and eventually they agreed to pay 60% of the cost of the new bridge.
During his time at London County Council he allegedly said that 'We are going to build the Tories out of London'. LCC made it its policy to build large LCC estates in Conservative voting areas.
In the 1935 election Morrison was once again elected to the House of Commons and immediately challenged Clement Attlee for the leadership of the party. He lost badly, a defeat ascribed to his unfamiliarity with the MPs who had served in the previous Parliament. Both he and his supporter Hugh Dalton put some of the blame on the masonic New Welcome Lodge, who they claimed backed the third-place leadership candidate Arthur Greenwood and then switched their votes to Attlee. After losing, Morrison concentrated on his LCC work.
In 1940 Morrison was appointed the first Minister of Supply by Winston Churchill, but shortly afterwards succeeded Sir John Anderson as Home Secretary. Morrison's London experience in local government was particularly useful during the Blitz, and the Morrison shelter was named after him.
Morrison had to take many potentially unpopular and controversial decisions by the nature of wartime circumstances. On January 21, 1941, he banned the Daily Worker due to its pro-soviet stance. The ban lasted for a total of 18 months before being rescinded.
After the end of the war, Morrison was instrumental in drafting the Labour Party's 1945 manifesto Let us Face the Future. He organised the general election campaign and enlisted the help of left-wing cartoonist Philip Zec with whom he had clashed during the early stages of the war when, as Minister of Supply he took exception to an illustration commenting on the costs of the supplying the country with petrol. Labour won a massive and unexpected victory, and Morrison was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons. He was the chief sponsor of the Festival of Britain.
In July 1946, Morrison, together with US ambassador Henry F. Grady proposed "The Morrison Grady Plan", a proposal for the solution of the Palestine problem, calling for federalization under overall British trusteeship. Ultimately the plan was rejected by both Arabs and Jews.
After Ernest Bevin's resignation as Foreign Secretary Morrison took over his role, but did not feel at ease in the Foreign Office. He took an aggressive stance against Iran's democratic socialist Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and approved his overthrow for what would later be known as Operation Ajax. His tenure there was cut short by Labour's defeat in the 1951 general election.
End of Political Career
Although Morrison had effectively been Attlee's heir apparent since the 1930s, Attlee had always distrusted him. Attlee remained as Leader through the early 1950s, and fought the 1955 election, finally announcing his retirement after Labour's defeat. Morrison was 67 and was seen to be too old to embark on a new leadership. During the leadership election he was the interim Leader of the Labour Party. Although he stood, he finished last - by a wide margin - of the three candidates, with many of his supporters switching to Gaitskell. Hugh Gaitskell won the election, and Morrison resigned as Deputy Leader.
He stood down at the 1959 general election and was made a life peer as Baron Morrison of Lambeth, of Lambeth in the County of London. He was appointed President of the British Board of Film Censors.
He died in 1965, coincidentally in the same month as the London County Council was abolished. His grandson Peter Mandelson was a cabinet minister in the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. (While Morrison had held the post of Deputy Prime Minister, in 2009 his grandson was appointed First Secretary of State, notwithstanding the fact that the titles are sometimes mistakenly seen as synonymous.)
Morrison was Foreign Secretary at the time of the defection of the double agents Guy Burgess and Donald Duart Maclean. In the 1977 BBC TV play Philby, Burgess and Maclean by Iain Curteis, Arthur Lowe made a cameo appearance as Morrison – glowering to camera in his final shot to show the opaque right lens of his spectacles.
- ^ The Masons' Candidate: New Welcome Lodge No. 5139 and the Parliamentary Labour Party, by John Hamill and Andrew Prescott, Labour History Review, Volume 71, Number 1, April 2006 , pp. 9-41(33); this cites as note number 2 H. Morrison, Herbert Morrison: An Autobiography by Lord Morrison of Lambeth, London, Odhams, 1960, p. 164
- ^ "Greenwood, Arthur", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- ^ Contentious Cartoon by Dr Tim Benson, PoliticalCartoon.co.uk
- ^ Tabloid Nation: The Birth of the Daily Mirror to the Death of the Tabloid, by Chris Horrie, André Deutsch (2003)
- ^ Painter, David S. (1988), The United States, Great Britain, and Mossadegh, Georgetown University, ISBN 1-56927-332-4, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~simpson/Hist%20725%20Summer%202006/The%20US%20and%20Mossadegh%201951-1953.pdf, retrieved 2009-11-23
Herbert Morrison published his Autobiography in 1960. His other publications included:
- Socialisation and Transport, 1933;
- Looking Ahead (wartime speeches), 1933;
- Parliamentary Government in Britain, 1949.
The main biography is:
- Herbert Morrison - Portrait of a Politician, by Bernard Donoughue and George Jones. (Reprinted by Orion with an introduction by Peter Mandelson 2001). ISBN 1-84212-441-2
Biographical essays include:
- 'Herbert Morrison' by John P. Mackintosh in the original Dictionary of National Biography (supplement).
- 'Herbert Morrison' by Greg Rosen in Kevin Jefferys (ed) Labour Forces IB Taurus, 2003.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Herbert Morrison
- Catalogue of the Morrison papers held at LSE Archives
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded by
Clifford Charles Alan Lawrence Erskine-Bolst
Member of Parliament for Hackney South
Member of Parliament for Hackney South
Member of Parliament for Hackney South
Herbert William Butler
Sir Assheton Pownall
Member of Parliament for Lewisham East
Constituency abolished New constituency Member of Parliament for Lewisham South
Political offices Preceded by
Chair of the Labour Party
Minister of Transport
Sir William Ray
Leader of the London County Council
Minister of Supply
Sir John Anderson
Sir Donald Bradley Somervell
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Lord President of the Council
Leader of the House of Commons
James Chuter Ede
Deputy Prime Minister
Sir Anthony Eden
Sir Anthony Eden
Media offices Preceded by
President of the British Board of Film Censors
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