How far were conservative scandals the most important reasons to the loss of office in 1964?

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How far were conservative scandals the most important reason for their defeat
in 1964?
The Consercatives suffered a very close loss in 1964, and it was not oly the
conservative scandals ­ Profumo and Vassal affairs, but also other factors such as
political weaknesses within the party, social factors, and economic reasons.
The vassal spy affair shocked the country at the time, in 1963, because of the
tabooed nature surrounding the scandal. John Vassal was a homosexual clerk,
who worked at the Admiralty. He was photographed by the KGB at a gay sex
party, and later on, it emerged that he was a spy for the USSR. There was a lot of
speculation amongst the public, about a homosexual and traitorous network
possible involving government ministers.
The Profumo affair was another scandal which did involve a minister ­ John
Profumo ­ Minister for War. He was alleged to have had sexual relations with a
girl named Christine Keeler who was also having an affair with a soviet spy.
This created a huge uproar about National security. Not only did this cause the
scandal, but Profumo went on to lie in the House of Commons about his
relationship with Keeler. The very fact that the Prime minister Macmillan also
believed Profumo's original denial of impropriety showed his poor lack of
control over his ministers. Both these scandals alone did not topple the
government, but greatly weakened people's faith iin the leadership, and this
meant that they sought an alternative party to take the conservative's place.
Another aspect to the failings of the conservatives in 1964 was their political
weaknesses within the party. After Prime-minister Macmillan resigned
unexpectedly, the leadership was in a bad state. The new appointed leader was
Alec Douglas-Home who lacked the charisma that his former collegue
possessed. Douglas-Home also represented too much of the establishment ­ he
became prime minister purely because of a closed circle of old etonian
conservatives that elected him. This view of the `establishment' was starting to
become something that the public disliked, due to the rise in rock, and rebel
attitudes. Another international political struggle was also occurring between
Britain and France. The French were refusing Britain entry to the EEC, which
was vital to "be part of the European community." Macmillan's main foreign

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EEC, so when the public saw him being rejected by
Charles de Gaulle on a world wide scale, they saw him as weak, and unable to
stand up to the French. It also sent out the message that unlike Labour, they
didn't have an aim, or even a foreign policy.…read more

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The scandals
however, I think did lead to the tipping point of those final four seats.…read more



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