Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (1889–1952), politician and lawyer, was the youngest child of successful barrister, Conservative MP and Labour cabinet minister Charles Cripps.
Stafford received a staunchly Christian but undogmatic education. His strong faith would be a feature of his life and work until he died. He studied chemistry at university and met his future wife Isobel Swithinbank while campaigning for his father in the 1910 general election. They married on 12 July 1911, and had four children. Cripps was called to the bar in 1913, and during World War I used his chemistry training to run a munitions factory in Queensferry. In 1916, aged only 27, this work caused a physical breakdown which sidelined him for the rest of the war. He was affected by ill-health his entire life.
Cripps was made Britain’s youngest king’s counsel in 1927 and in 1929, he joined Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour government as solicitor-general, and was knighted. In January 1931, he won a by-election at Bristol East (which later became Bristol South East), where he remained an MP for the next 29 years.
His politics swung significantly to the left and he became a prominent member and then chairman of the newly formed Socialist League, and highly critical of the Labour Party. In 1939, this led to Cripps being expelled from Labour.
The Second World War changed everything.