Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Cripps, Sir (Richard) Stafford from Philip's Encyclopedia

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.


Summary Article: Cripps, Sir Stafford
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

1889–1952, British statesman. A brilliant and successful patent and corporation lawyer, he joined the Labour party in 1929 and became solicitor general in 1930, being knighted the same year. He resigned on the formation (1931) of the National government but won a seat in Parliament. He became a leading spokesman of the left wing of the Labour party and in 1939 was expelled from the party for urging a united front with the Communists. Sir Winston Churchill appointed (1940) him ambassador to the Soviet Union and, on Cripps's return to England in 1942, made him lord privy seal and leader of the House of Commons. In the same year Cripps was sent to India with a self-government plan (which was rejected by India). Shortly thereafter he became minister of aircraft production. In 1945, Cripps was readmitted to the Labour party and appointed president of the Board of Trade in the new Labour government. He returned to India to negotiate independence in 1946, and the failure of his mission (because of the antagonism between Hindus and Muslims) is often seen as the point at which the partition of India became inevitable. In 1947, Cripps was appointed to the newly created office of minister of economic affairs and within the same year became, in addition, chancellor of the exchequer. Great Britain was in the throes of a severe economic crisis, which Cripps sought to counter with his policy of austerity. By continuing rationing and imposing strict economic controls, he was able to slow inflation while maintaining full employment and without cutting back the government's welfare programs. Despite a vigorous export drive, however, Britain's balance of payments situation remained serious, and in 1949, Cripps most reluctantly devalued the pound by 30%. He retired in 1950.

  • See study by R. Moore (1979).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles


Full text Article Cripps, Stafford 1889-1952
Reader's Guide to British History

Labour politician and statesman Bryant Chris , Stafford Cripps: The First Modern Chancellor , London : Hodder and Stoughton , ...

Full text Article Cripps, Sir (Richard) Stafford (1889 - 1952)
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

A barrister, Cripps became solicitor general in 1930, before entering parliament in 1931. In 1939 he was expelled from the...

Full text Article Cripps, Sir (Richard) Stafford
Philip's Encyclopedia

1889-1952 British statesman. He belonged to the left wing of the Labour Party and was ambassador to Russia (1940-42), later serving in...

See more from Credo