How the Profumo Affair undermined Macmillan

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WHO WER THE MAIN PEOPLE INVOLVED?

STEPHEN WARD;

·         Ward was an Osteopath who has a good reputation with clients such as; Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Hugh Gaitskell. He was charming and charismatic and became a popular figure in high society.

·         Ward regularly had lavish parties with his celebrity friends eg. Lord Astor.

·         Ward had a fascination with sex; his marriage collapsed in 1949 after just 6 weeks and he often resorted to the service of prostitutes. He also had a fascination with grooming working class girls. He prided himself in cultivation these girls who were good looking and usually in their late teens or early 20’s. He taught them how to walk, talk, and act in the correct upper-class manor.

·         Although some of the girls were taught in sexual techniques ward was believed to rarely become there lover himself. However many sold their services to his aristocratic friends but Ward did not make any money out of it.

CHRISTINE KEELER;

·         In 1959 ward met Christine, a 17 year old show girl from Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho.

·         During the next few years she moved in and out of Wards flat. He trained her, but they were not lovers.

·         She occasionally came down to the Cliveden estate to spend the weekend with Ward, it was here she met Profumo and Ivanov.

YEVGENY IVANOV;

·         Ivanov was a Russian spy in the soviet embassy, he regularly appeared on the party circuit and got the reputation of a handsome, hard-drinking ladies’ man.

·         He became friends with Ward after meeting him in Garrick Club in 1961. He regularly came over to Wards flat for a drink and a game of bridge.

JOHN PURFUMO;

·         Profumo was a conservative mp who had won a seat in the commons by the time he was 25. In 1960, Macmillan made him minister of war.

·         He was a popular, modestly successful, but ultimately minor political figure. He was married to Valarie Hobson, an actress.

WHY DID THE PROFUMO AFFAIR DAMAGE MACMILLANS GOVERNMENT?

1.       MACMILLANS REACTION

·         Macmillan knew about the allegations as early as February 1963 when he returned from Italy.

·         After Profumo made his statement in the House of Commons, Mac refused to believe that he could of possibly lied to the commons so he remained in Scotland instead of returning to London and dealing with the press.

·         This later made Macmillan look like a bad judge of character.

 

2.       THE DETAILS OF THE AFFAIR WERE EMBARASING TO THE GOVERNMENT

·         From Feb 63 onwards (the time when Mac was hoping to rebuild his election chances) Keelers revelations were hanging over the government.

·         The scandal

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