Gaitskell, Hugh Todd Naylor (gātˈskəl) [key], 1906–63, British statesman. Educated at Oxford, he taught economics at the Univ. of London. During World War II he was a civil servant in the new ministry of economic warfare (1940–42) and in the Board of Trade (1942–45). He entered Parliament as a Labour member in 1945 and served as minister of fuel and power (1947–50) and chancellor of the exchequer (1950–51). In 1955 he succeeded Clement Attlee as leader of the Labour party. After Labour's defeat in the 1959 general election, Gaitskell supported some moderation of party policies. At the party conference of 1960 the left wing of the party defeated him on the issue of unilateral nuclear disarmament, which he opposed, but he had recovered his authority in the party by the time of his premature death.
See his diaries (1983); biography by P. Williams (1982).
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