The Cabinet Papers banner

Glossary - P

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | 0-100

Passfield, Lord

Sidney Webb, life-long socialist, trade unionist and Labour politician. Married to Beatrice Webb. Founded the 'New Statesman' in 1913 and elected an MP in 1922. Held office in both Labour governments in 1924 and 1929-1931, he was made Lord Passfield in 1929

pastoral farming

Farming relating to livestock rather than crops. If crops are grown then they are used to feed the animals rather than for sale.

Patrick Abercrombie

An English town planner and architect of international renown, best known for the 'Abercrombie Plan' to redesign post-the Second World War London and led to the New Town Movement. After the war he redesigned Hong Kong and drew up plans for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.


A Ministerial position in charge of the Office of HM's Paymaster-General (OPG), holds accounts at the Bank of England on behalf of Government departments and selected other public bodies. Funds made available from the Consolidated Fund are channelled into OPG accounts and used by the relevant body

Pearce, Lord

Leader of the Pearce Commission to Rhodesia, investigating African opinion of the proposed 1971 Anglo-Rhodesian settlement. The Commission travelled extensively throughout the country holding discussions with over 100,000 Africans who overwhelmingly rejected the proposals. Dismissed by Ian Smith as inept, it spelled the end of the proposed settlement

Persian Gulf

In south-west Asia and an extension of the Indian Ocean separating Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. The Gulf and the area around it are the world's largest single source of crude oil and have strategic importance

Peter Thorneycroft

Conservative politician. Served as President of the Board of Trade 1951-1957 but resigned after a year as Chancellor of the Exchequer 1957-1958. Later held office as Minister of Aviation 1960-1962, Minister/Secretary of State for Defence 1962-1965, and Chairman of the Conservative Party 1975-1981

Philip Snowden

Labour politician who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in both Ramsay MacDonald governments. Regarded as a fiscal conservative who restricted any hope of radical measures to challenge the Great Depression. Remained in the National Government of 1931 and expelled from the Labour Party


The name of the house of monarchs who reigned England from 1154-1485

Po Valley

600 km long valley, from the Western Alps to the Adriatic Sea along the course of the River Po in Italy


An American submarine-launched ballistic missile system. Became the basis of the British independent nuclear deterrent from 1962 until it was replaced by the Trident system in the 1990s

Poor Law

Safety-net provision for the poor, based on the 1834 Poor Law Act and linking help to the workhouses. Gradually dismantled with the Liberal introduction of Old Age Pensions in 1909 and National Insurance in 1911, it remained a source of fear for many poor people until it was abolished in 1929

Poor Law Board of Guardians

Responsible for the provisions of the Poor Law, until it was abolished and its remaining functions transferred to County and County Borough councils in 1929


Emergency housing, built to replace properties damaged in the Second World War. Constructed in pre-fabricated sections and assembled rapidly on site, their anticipated lifespan was low

President of the Board of Trade

Cabinet Minister who runs the Board of Trade which was responsible for the country's economic life as a whole

President Sukarno

Indonesian socialist politician who became leader of a pro-independence party in 1927, leading the fight against the Dutch colonialists. Became the first President of Indonesia in 1945, after the defeat of Japan, ruling until 1967 when he was removed in a coup by General Suharto

Prisons Board of Visitors

An independent watchdog appointed in each prison and Young Offenders Institution by the Home Secretary to ensure the rights and well-being of all prisoners are being safeguarded. Regular visitors to their local prison, board members hear complaints or requests from prisoners and make sure they are treated appropriately

Prisons Commission

The Prisons Act of 1878 brought all prisons under the control of a national system run by the Prison Commission and later, from 1963, the Prison Department of the Home Office. It was to introduce a uniform and efficient system, supervised by five commissioners

Prize or Cruiser rules

These govern the taking of vessels at sea during war, although changes in technology, radio and the submarine have effectively made them redundant. Passenger ships should not be sunk, crews of merchant ships should be placed in safety before their ships are sunk. Only warships and armed merchant ships can be sunk without warning


A colony or territory 'protected' by a stronger state or empire. In effect, the protectorate must deal with the outside world solely via the protecting power. Can be a relationship aimed at leading to eventual independence, or of economic exploitation. Often used as an informal way to expand an empire

Public Assistance Committees (PACs)

1929 Public Health Act set up local Public Assistance Committees, to set the level of benefits. The system came under great strain in the Great Depression, following the introduction of the 'Means Tests' in 1931. In 1934 the Unemployment Insurance Act meant that unemployment benefit rates were set nationally, not locally

Pusan perimeter

Named after the coastal city of Pusan, extended 140 miles mostly along the Nekdong River in south-eastern Korea. Marked the furthest advance of North Korean troops against the United Nations (UN) and South Korean forces in the Korean War 1950. It de-lineated the area used for re-supply and reinforcement before the Inchon landing