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Richard Crossman

From Academic Kids

Richard Howard Stafford Crossman (15 December 1907 to April 1974) was a British politician and writer. He was a prominent member of the Labour Party, a socialist intellectual and a Zionist.

The son of a judge, he grew up in Oxfordshire and attended Winchester College. He studied Classics at New College, Oxford, receiving a double first and becoming a Fellow in 1931. He was a councilor on Oxford City Council, becoming head of the Labour group in 1935.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Civil Service, serving in the Psychological Warfare Department under Robert Bruce Lockhart. During this time he produced anti-Nazi propaganda broadcasts for Radio of the European Revolution, set up by the Special Operations Executive. He eventually became Assistant Chief of the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF and was awarded an OBE for his wartime service.

He entered Parliament in 1945, as MP for Coventry East, a seat he would hold until his death in 1974. He was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party from 1952 until 1967, and Chairman of the Labour Party in 1960-61. On the left wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party, in 1947 he was a co-author of the Keep Left pamphlet, and later a prominent Bevanite. He was Labour's spokesman on Education before the 1964 General Election, but upon forming the new Government Harold Wilson appointed Crossman Minister of Housing and Local Government. In 1966 he became Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, and was Secretary of State for Health and Social Security from 1968 to 1970.

He resigned from the Labour front bench in 1970 to become editor of the New Statesman magazine, where he had been assistant editor from 1938 to 1955. He left the New Statesman in 1972. He died in 1974.

Crossman was a prolific writer and editor. He is most famous for his three-volume Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, covering his time in government from 1964 to 1970, published despite a legal battle by the government to prevent their publication. He also edited The God That Failed, a collection of anti-Communist essays published in 1949.


Template:Succession box two to two
Preceded by:
Kenneth Robinson
Minister of Health
Secretary of State for Social Services
1968–1970
Followed by:
Sir Keith Joseph
Preceded by:
Judith Hart
Minister of Social Security

Template:End box

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