Gaitskell Asks for General Election; Will Stay for Godkin Lecture Tonight
Hugh Gaitskell called for a British general election yesterday in the light of Sir Anthony Eden's resignation as Prime Minister.
The leader of the British Labor Party said, "I am sorry that Sir Anthony Eden's health has not recovered despite his trip to Jamaica.
"He has done the right thing in resigning, but since the whole Cabinet has publicly identified themselves with the foreign policy pursued by the late government in the last three months, I consider that there ought now to be a general election so that the country can have an opportunity of choosing a new government."
Gaitskell spoke at a press conference in the basement of the Faculty Club, hastily called together after word was received that Eden had resigned. His remarks were heard by a crowd of newspaper, radio, and TV men who pressed the Labor Party leader in on all sides.
He said that he would stay at Harvard to give the concluding lecture of his Godkin series tonight--a talk in which he promised to discuss the Tory government's Middle East policies. In the past, Gaitskell has spoken out quite strongly against the Anglo-French action in the Suez area.
But Gaitskell did not know whether he would be able to complete his U.S. speaking tour, which is scheduled to last until Jan. 20. He said he would have to decide that after tonight's speech.
He emphasized that the Labor Party would not be afraid to take over the government, even in the present time of crisis, but hesitated to predict the outcome of such an election. "I never believe in being a prophet, still less in being complacent, but it is a fact," he said, "that in recent by-elections there has been a swing away from the conservatives."