Two of the politicians involved in the Profumo Affair, which rocked the political establishment 50 years ago, had Warwickshire connections.
John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War who had an affair with call girl Christine Keeler, was MP for Stratford.
His affair with Keeler, the reputed mistress of an alleged Soviet spy, followed by his lying in the House of Commons when he was questioned about it, forced his resignation and damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government.
The Attorney General, Sir John Hobson, who had to investigate the affair, was MP for Warwick and Leamington.
Hobson was one of five ministers who interviewed Profumo about the affair but failed to see that he was lying about his relationship with Keeler. Profumo then made a personal statement to the Commons on March 22 1963 saying there was “no impropriety whatsoever” in his relationship with Keeler. But in June that year he admitted making a misleading statement about the affair and resigned.
Following Profumo’s resignation the Courier published an editorial headed “How were these five deceived?”
It said: “Our security services have again been shown wanting. The lapse this time -in the Profumo affair- was their grave omission in not informing the Prime Minister immediately it was learned that a Minister possessed of vital military secrets was involved in a situation which constituted a security risk.
“Naturally in this constituency, represented by the Attorney General, there was special interest in all that was said in the Commons about that dramatic night-time interview of Mr Profumo by five Ministers - one of them Sir John Hobson- which preceded the ex-Minister’s privileged Parliamentary statement at the despatch box a few hours later - a statement now known to have contained a blatant lie.
“To many people one of the puzzling features of the affair is how Profumo was able to deceive these five senior and very able members of the Government and his own solicitor that fateful night. Of the five inquisitors, Sir John was perhaps the least expected to be taken in if anything was being concealed.”
Next week: Aftermath of the affair