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For the U.S. congressional representative from Indiana, see Arthur H. Greenwood.

Arthur Greenwood CH (8 February 1880 – 9 June 1954) was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924.

Greenwood became deputy leader of the Labour Party under Clement Attlee. Arguably his most famous moment came on September 2, 1939 when, acting for an absent Attlee, he was called to respond to Neville Chamberlain's ambivalent speech on whether Britain would aid Poland. Preparing to respond, he was interrupted by an angry Conservative backbencher, Leo Amery, who exclaimed "Speak for England, Arthur!"[1] A flustered Greenwood proceeded to denounce Chamberlain's remarks, to the applause of his colleagues. When the wartime coalition government was formed, Winston Churchill appointed him to the British War Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio in 1940. He was generally seen as ineffectual, but in May 1940 he emerged as Churchill's strongest and most vocal supporter in the lengthy War Cabinet debates on whether to accept or reject a peace offer from Germany.[2] After that his position declined and he resigned in 1943. The same year, he was elected as Treasurer of the Labour Party, beating Herbert Morrison in a close contest.[3]

Until the end of World War II, Greenwood also performed the function of Leader of the Opposition, though he did not receive the salary.

During the Attlee government, he served successively as Lord Privy Seal and Paymaster-General.

Greenwood's son Anthony Greenwood (later Lord Greenwood) (1911–1982) was an MP from 1946 and a member of Harold Wilson's governments.

References

  1. ^ Olson, Lynne. Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill To Power and Helped Save England (Toronto, Anchor Canada, 2008)
  2. ^ Jenkins, Roy, Churchill: A Biography (London, Macmillan, 2001), page 601
  3. ^ "Greenwood, Arthur", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robinson Graham
Member of Parliament for Nelson and Colne
19221931
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Linton Thorpe
Preceded by
George Brown Hillman
Member of Parliament for Wakefield
1932–1954
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Arthur Creech Jones
Political offices
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Neville Chamberlain
Minister of Health
1929–1931
Succeeded by
Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by
Frederick Pethick-Lawrence
Leader of the Opposition
1942–1945
Succeeded by
Clement Attlee
Preceded by
George Lathan
Treasurer of the Labour Party
1943–1954
Succeeded by
Hugh Gaitskell
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The Lord Beaverbrook
Lord Privy Seal
1945–1947
Succeeded by
The Lord Inman
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Vacant
Paymaster-General
1946–1947
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Hilary Marquand
Party political offices
Preceded by
Clement Attlee
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
1935–1945
Succeeded by
Herbert Morrison
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