CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'A TROTSKYIST DURING THE WAR'

Observer – 6 April 1980

On 19 April 1944, Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary in the wartime coalition, presented his colleagues in the War Cabinet with a document entitled "The Trotskyist Movement in Great Britain". Its appendix on the movement’s personnel contained the following entry:

"Edward Grant, editor of Socialist Appeal, aged 30, is also South African and has been connected with the Workers’ International League since its inception. He was posted to the Pioneer Corps but fractured his skull before joining up and was discharged. It has proved impossible, owing to the effects of his injury, to find him alternative employment."

The report went on to describe how Mr Grant ‘who is suffering from a break-down, interrupted a rest cure to address one meeting and do some canvassing’ in connection with the miners’ strike of 1944, but it dismissed Trotskyist influence on the situation as negligible. The War Cabinet noted that "the movement seemed unlikely to rise to a position of any real influence."

In the course of a two-man campaign against Militant infiltration of the Labour Party in 1978, my allegations of Mr Grant’s entryist achievements and of National Executive Committee bias in favour of the Militant Tendency, were respectively belittled and denied on oath in court by Transport House representatives.

In the light of Lord Underhill’s belated, post-electoral confirmation of the truth of such allegations, however, it seems only fair to congratulate Mr Grant on disproving Herbert Morrison’s underestimation of his potentialities.

JULIAN LEWIS
St Antony’s College
Oxford

[NOTE: The late Reg Underhill was National Agent of the Labour Party at its Transport House SW1 headquarters in 1978. Although personally a moderate, he gave evidence helpful to the militants in the key Appeal Court case which confirmed them in control of the Newham North-East Labour Party. After Labour’s defeat in the 1979 General Election, and from the sanctuary of the House of Lords, he bitterly denounced the takeover of constituency Labour parties by Trotskyist infiltrators.]