This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Frank Soskice" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Lord Stow Hill
1951-09-25 Van links naar rechts Sven Arntzen (Noorwegen), Frank Soskice (Engeland) en prof. Maurice Bourguin (België) — HGA001050452.jpg
Frank Soskice (middle) with Sven Arntzen (left) and Maurice Bourguin in The Hague, 1951
Lord Privy Seal
In office
23 December 1965 – 6 April 1966
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byFrank Pakenham
Succeeded byFrank Pakenham
Home Secretary
In office
18 October 1964 – 23 December 1965
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byHenry Brooke
Succeeded byRoy Jenkins
Shadow Home Secretary
In office
15 February 1963 – 18 October 1964
LeaderHarold Wilson
Preceded byGeorge Brown
Succeeded byEdward Boyle
Attorney General for England and Wales
In office
24 April 1951 – 26 October 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded bySir Hartley Shawcross
Succeeded bySir Lionel Heald
Solicitor General for England and Wales
In office
4 August 1945 – 24 April 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded bySir Walter Monckton
Succeeded bySir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas
Member of Parliament
for Newport
In office
6 July 1956 – 31 March 1966
Preceded byPeter Freeman
Succeeded byRoy Hughes
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Neepsend
In office
5 April 1950 – 26 May 1955
Preceded byHarry Morris
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for Birkenhead East
In office
5 July 1945 – 3 February 1950
Preceded byHenry Graham White
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Frank Soskice

(1902-07-23)23 July 1902
Died(1979-01-01)1 January 1979 (aged 76)
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Susan Isabella Cloudsley Hunter
RelativesDavid Soskice (son)
Ford Madox Ford (uncle)
Oliver Madox Hueffer (uncle)
Ford Madox Brown (great-grandfather)
Catherine Madox Brown (grandmother)
Francis Hueffer (grandfather)
Lucy Madox Brown (half-great-aunt)
William Michael Rossetti (great-uncle)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford

Frank Soskice, Baron Stow Hill, PC, QC (23 July 1902 – 1 January 1979) was a British lawyer and Labour Party politician.

Background and education

Soskice's father, David Soskice [ru] was from a family of Russian Jewish merchants. David Soskice became involved in the Russian Revolution as part of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and was the personal secretary to Alexander Kerensky. He had briefly edited the Society of Friends of Russian Freedom's newspaper Free Russia, briefly replacing Feliks Volkhovsky (the publication had financial support from the likes of Jacob Schiff and other anti-Tsarist elements). Caught in the Winter Palace during the October Revolution, Soskice fled to Britain as the Kerensykites were ousted and the Bolsheviks came to power. He became a British citizen in 1924. He was married to Frank Soskice's mother Juliet Catherine Emma Hueffer, who was the daughter of Catherine Madox Brown and Francis Hueffer, and so granddaughter of artist Ford Madox Brown, niece of Lucy Madox Brown (her mother's older half-sister) and her husband William Michael Rossetti, sister of Ford Madox Ford and Oliver Madox Hueffer and cousin of Olivia Rossetti Agresti.

Soskice was educated at the Froebel Demonstration School, St Paul's School, London, and Balliol College, Oxford. He studied law and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1926. He served in the British Army with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during World War II.[1]

His son David Soskice is an economist.

Political career

Following the war, he was elected to parliament as a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Birkenhead East in the 1945 general election, and became Solicitor General,[2] receiving the customary knighthood,[3] in the government of Clement Attlee, serving in that office throughout Attlee's government. He was also, briefly, UK delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. As Solicitor General, Soskice was viewed as an important advocate for the government in the House of Commons. His constituency was abolished in the 1950 election, when he unsuccessfully fought Bebington, but he was soon returned to the House of Commons at a by-election in the Sheffield Neepsend constituency, where the sitting MP Harry Morris stood down to make way for Soskice. In April 1951, he became Attorney General.

In 1952, Soskice joined the shadow cabinet, and his fortunes rose in 1955 with the election of his close ally Hugh Gaitskell as party leader, although he continued his legal practice as well. His Sheffield Neepsend constituency was abolished for the 1955 general election, but in 1956 he won a by-election in the Newport seat in Monmouthshire that he would hold until he retired.

When Labour returned to government in 1964 under Harold Wilson, Soskice became Home Secretary. In this office he did not impress Wilson – he was in poor health, and he botched the response to an electoral boundary change dispute in Northamptonshire and accepted weakening amendments to the Race Relations Act of 1965.

In December 1965, Soskice was relieved of his Home Office responsibilities and made Lord Privy Seal. He had, though, ensured Government support for Sydney Silverman's Private Members Bill, passed on 28 October 1965, which suspended the death penalty in the United Kingdom for five years (except for treason). This reform is sometimes erroneously included with the Jenkins reforms which followed. In fact when the death penalty for murder was finally abolished in 1969,[4] James Callaghan was Home Secretary.

In 1966, Soskice retired, and was created a life peer as Baron Stow Hill, of Newport in the County of Monmouth on 7 June 1966.[5] Stow Hill is a steep hill in Newport, which runs from the city centre up to St. Woolos Cathedral.


Coat of arms of Frank Soskice
Between two wings addorsed Azure a paint brush and a quill pen in saltire Proper both tipped Gules.
Argent perched on a triple mount in base Vert charged with a portcullis chained Or a dove wings expanded and in the beak a ship of olive Proper in chief two portcullises chained Gules.
On either side a pegasus Azure pendant from a chain about the neck a portcullis Or.
Ancient Greek: ΗΜΕΙΣ Δ' ΟΙΑ ΤΕ ΦΥΛΛΑ, romanizedHēmeis, d'oia te phylla, lit.'We, like the leaves'[6][7]


  1. ^ "No. 35040". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 January 1941. p. 247.
  2. ^ "No. 37222". The London Gazette. 14 August 1945. p. 4135.
  3. ^ "No. 37243". The London Gazette. 28 August 1945. p. 4345.
  4. ^ The abolition of hanging in Britain
  5. ^ "No. 44014". The London Gazette. 7 June 1966. p. 6598.
  6. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1973.
  7. ^ Mimnermus, fragment 2: Ἡμεῖς δ’ οἷά τε φύλλα
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byGraham White Member of Parliament for Birkenhead East 19451950 Constituency abolished Preceded byHarry Morris Member of Parliament for Sheffield Neepsend 19501955 Constituency abolished Preceded byPeter Freeman Member of Parliament for Newport 19561966 Succeeded byRoy Hughes Legal offices Preceded bySir Walter Monckton Solicitor General for England and Wales 1945–1951 Succeeded bySir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas Preceded bySir Hartley Shawcross Attorney General for England and Wales 1951 Succeeded bySir Lionel Heald Political offices Preceded byHenry Brooke Home Secretary 1964–1965 Succeeded byRoy Jenkins Preceded byThe Earl of Longford Lord Privy Seal 1965–1966 Succeeded byThe Earl of Longford