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Clement Attlee (1883-1967)

By the 1930s, government interest in Lords reform had dwindled.

Labour politicians such as Sir Stafford Cripps, favoured complete abolition, believing that the Upper House would use its in-built Conservative majority to block socialist legislation.

But between 1945 and 1951, when Labour was in office under Clement Attlee, the Lords did not obstruct the party's far-reaching programme of welfare reform and nationalisation.

This was made possible largely through a working agreement between the Conservative and Labour leaders in the Upper House (Viscount Cranborne, later 5th Marquess of Salisbury and Viscount Addison), which became known as the ‘Salisbury-Addison Doctrine'. It acknowledged that the Lords should not oppose measures which had formed the basis on which a political party was returned to power.



Clement Attlee (1883-1967)


Juliet Pannett

Catalogue number

Palace of Westminster Collection, WOA 6477