|Rt. Hon. Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton |
Chancellor of the Exchequer
|In office |
27 July 1945 – 13 November 1947
|Preceded by||John Anderson|
|Succeeded by||Stafford Cripps|
|Born||26 August 1887 |
|Died||13 February 1962 |
Edward Hugh John Neale Dalton, Baron Dalton PC , generally known as Hugh Dalton (26 August 1887 – 13 February 1962) was a British Labour Party politician, and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1945 to 1947. He was implicated in a political scandal involving budget leaks.
He was born in Neath in Wales: his father, Canon John Neale Dalton was chaplain to Queen Victoria and tutor to King George V of the United Kingdom. Hugh was educated at Eton College, King's College, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and the Middle Temple. During World War I, he served as a soldier on the French and Italian Fronts. He then returned to the LSE and the University of London as a lecturer.
He was elected to the British House of Commons as Labour MP for Bishop Auckland in 1929 and became a junior Foreign Office minister in the second Labour Government. As with most other Labour MPs, he lost his seat in 1931, though he was re-elected in 1935. During the World War II coalition, Winston Churchill appointed him Minister of Economic Warfare from 1940 and he established the Special Operations Executive, and was later a member of the executive committee of the Political Warfare Executive. He became President of the Board of Trade in 1942.
Although a Labour politician Dalton was a strong supporter of Churchill during the crisis of May, 1940, when Lord Halifax and other Conservative supporters of appeasement in the war cabinet urged a compromise peace.
After the Labour victory in the 1945 general election, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and nationalised the Bank of England in 1946. Walking into the House of Commons to give the 1947 Budget speech, he made an off-the-cuff remark to a journalist which was printed before he had completed his speech. This led to his resignation for leaking a Budget secret.
In 1948 he returned to government as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, then became Minister of Town and Country Planning in 1950, renamed as Minister of Local Government and Planning in 1951. He left government after the 1951 General Election.
He was also president of the Ramblers' Association from 1948 to 1950 and Master of the Drapers' Company in 1958-59. He was made a life peer as Baron Dalton, of Forest and Friton in the County Palatine of Durham in 1960.