Sir Richard Stafford Cripps, was a British Labour politician of the first half of the twentieth century.
A wealthy barrister by background, he entered Parliament at a by-election in 1931, and was one of a handful of Labour front-benchers to retain his seat in the general election that autumn. He became a leading spokesman for the left-wing and cooperation in a Popular Front with Communists before 1939, in which year he was expelled from the Labour Party. During World War II he served as Ambassador to the USSR , during which time he grew wary of the Soviet Union, but achieved great public popularity because of the entry of the USSR into the war, causing him to be seen in 1942 as a potential rival to Winston Churchill for the premiership. He became a member of the War Cabinet of the wartime coalition, but failed in his efforts to resolve the wartime crisis in India, where his proposals were too radical for Churchill and the cabinet, and too conservative for Gandhi and other Indian leaders. He later served as Minister of Aircraft Production, an important post but outside the inner War Cabinet.Rejoining the Labour Party in 1945, after the war he served in the Attlee Ministry, firstly as President of the Board of Trade and between 1947-50 as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the latter position, Cripps was responsible for laying the foundations of Britain's post-war economic prosperity, and was, according to historian Kenneth O. Morgan, "the real architect of the rapidly improving economic picture and growing affluence from 1952 onwards". The economy improved after 1947, benefiting from American money given through grants from the Marshall Plan as well as loans. However it was hurt by the devaluation of the pound in 1949. He kept rationing in place to hold down consumption during an "age of austerity", promoted exports and maintained full employment with static wages. The public especially respected "his integrity, competence, and Christian principles".