A lecture to celebrate Attlee’s achievements was delivered by Lord Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary History at Queen Mary.
Lord Hennessy said: “During Attlee’s time at the helm, between 1945 and 1951, the British government took major steps to nationalise major industries and public utilities as well as create the National Health Service. He set the gold standard for the conduct of the Premiership and for standards of duty and decency at the top for all subsequent Prime Ministers. How honoured we are to have our gold standard Prime Minister in bronze on our Queen Mary campus in his beloved East End.”
Lord Mandelson was invited to reveal the statue, and its commemorative plaque, as his grandfather Herbert Morrison was Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons in Attlee’s Cabinet.
Lord Mandelson said: “It is such a delicious irony that I of all people, Herbert Morrison’s grandson, should unveil a statue of Clem who of course did so much for and struggled for so long and overcame so much to deny my grandfather ever becoming leader of the Labour Party. And how well he did it.
“It is true, of course, that my grandfather and Clem were not soul mates. But it just went to show that in a partnership you don’t have to love each other in order to make a really good and effective team as they were.
“Attlee took great pride in his work in the East End and his achievements for social justice were incomparable. He managed these extraordinary achievements in one term of Government. The scale and speed of economic change is unlikely to be unsurpassed.”