title: 'Government refuses release Profumo Cold War spy papers' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    The UK government has refused a member of the House of Lords call for the release of secret government papers relating to former war minister John Profumo’s affair in 1963 with an escort and her relationship with a Russian attaché in London. Lord Lexden, the historian Alistair Cooke on Wednesday called for secret government papers relating to the affair to be opened up and made public. He tabled a question in the Lords: "to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to release the records and files of the 1963 inquiry which led to the publication of Lord Denning’s Report The Circumstances leading to the Resignation of the Former Secretary of State for War, Mr J.D. Profumo". He told the Lords: “There was collusion between the police and journalists 50 years ago on a scale that would make Lord Justice Leveson’s hair stand on end. Do we not need to see if we can get to the truth through the release of the Denning records?” In reply, Lord Wallace of Saltaire said on behalf of the government the records would not be released while any of those investigated were still alive. He said:“Given, however, the assurances Lord Denning gave to all of those he interviewed that these records were entirely confidential and that they would never be published, it seems acceptable that they should not be published while those who were interviewed by Lord Denning are still alive.” The Profumo Affair John Profumo was an MP and Minister for War in the early 1960s, when his affair with escort Christine Keeler was revealed. Keeler says she helped her friend, the osteopath Stephen Ward – whose clients included Winston Churchill – uncover secrets about missile ­movements in the West that were later passed to Soviet agents. She admitted passing on information about the British government to the Russian naval attache Yevgeny Ivanov, with whom she was alleged to have been having an affair. Cabinet papers already released say that Profumo was staying at the country mansion of William Waldorf "Bill" Astor II, 3rd Viscount Astor, Cliveden. There he was seen: “accompanied by four or five girls, one of whom was Miss Christine Keeler, and Captain Ivanov. It was on that occasion that Mr Profumo first met Christine Keeler.” Lord Astor himself was accused of having an affair with former model Mandy Rice-Davies. When told that Lord Astor had denied the affair, she famously replied: “He would, wouldn't he?" His son, the 4th Viscount Astor's stepdaughter is Samantha Cameron, married to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron. “I was a spy and I’m not proud of it” Chrisine Keeler told the Daily Mirror newspaper in June 2013: “However I dress it up, I was a spy and I am not proud of it. The truth is that I betrayed my country. “I tried to block it out – I was too scared. Just by admitting that for the first time I have freed myself of an ­enormously heavy emotional burden.” “I know the truth and it is far more shocking than what the public has been fed by the British Establishment. Sex was a game – spying was a serious business”. She said she also went to meetings with spy Anthony Blunt and MI5 boss Sir Roger Hollis. “Can you imagine how unnerving it was for me, listening to all the talk about Moscow and Washington and nuclear bombs?”she said. Having originally denied, in the House of Commons, the affair with Keeler, Profumo was forced to admit that he had lied to the House. He resigned from office, from the House and from the Privy Council. The Profumo Affair – as it became known – damaged the reputation of the Conservative party, then led by Harold Macmillan. He lost the following general election, largely due to the scandal.

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