Chancellor of the Exchequer 1950-51, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party 1955-1963.
Covert US support
For much of the 1950s, Labour was divided between right-wing 'Gaitskellites' and left-wing 'Bevanites.' Ramsay and Dorril state that Gaitskell received US support for his attempt to expel Aneurin Bevan from the party in 1955.
- "Gaitskell held a series of meetings at the Russell Hotel, where he planned the expulsion campaign with Sam Watson, the leader of the Durham miners. Also in attendance was the Labour attaché at the American Embassy in London, Joe Godson. One of the most important post-war events in the Labour Party's internal affairs was overseen by an American spook." 
- Smear: Wilson and the Secret State, Stephen Dorril and Robin Ramsay, Fourth Estate, 1991, p14.
- Smear: Wilson and the Secret State, Stephen Dorril and Robin Ramsay, Fourth Estate, 1991, p16.