Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell was born in London in 1906. He was educated at Winchester public school and at Oxford and later lectured on political economics at London University.
Gaitskell spent most of World War II working at the Ministry of Economic Warfare, and in 1945 became Labour member of Parliament for Leeds South, retaining this seat until his death.
In 1950 he became minister of economic affairs, and then chancellor of the Exchequer until October 1951. His time as Chancellor was dominated by the struggle to finance Britain’s part in the Korean War which put enormous strain on public finances.
In 1955 he defeated Aneurin Bevan for the succession to Clement Attlee as Labour leader, and he was re-elected party leader in 1960.
Hugh Gaitskell died suddenly in office in 1963, leaving an opening for Harold Wilson in the party leadership.