LETTER : Attlee was a true socialist

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Sir: Some facts about the Attlee family show a rather different picture from that given by Kate Watson-Smyth ("Attlee was really a Tory, says his daughter-in-law", 7 March).

Clement Attlee's father had been a Liberal supporter. Clem was introduced to socialism by his brother Tom, who had preceded him to the East End of London. The two brothers worked together there from 1907 and had the sympathy of their sisters, Mary and Margaret.

Tom was a life-long member of the Labour Party; his son Christopher stood as a Labour candidate in 1951, 1955 and 1959 and his granddaughter Catherine in 1992. Other members of the family have been Labour councillors. Clem was not a lone socialist in the family. Nor, in view of his government's record or of his support, for instance, of the International Brigade in Spain, could it possibly be argued credibly that he was "secretly a Tory".


London NW3