Profumo Affair

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The Profumo affair was a 1963 British political scandal that originated with a sexual liaison between John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's government, and Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model. Profumo originally denied any impropriety, but in June 1963 admitted the truth and resigned from parliament in disgrace. Concern was heightened by Keeler's alleged simultaneous involvement with Yevgeny Ivanov, a suspected Soviet spy. Keeler knew both Profumo and Ivanov through her mentor, Stephen Ward, an osteopath and socialite. After the scandal broke, Ward's private life was investigated, and he was convicted of immorality offences. He took a fatal overdose during the final stages of his trial, which has since been perceived as an act of Establishment revenge, rather than as serving justice. In January 2014 the case was under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Profumo redeemed himself by a long period as a volunteer worker in London's East End; he died, honoured and respected, in 2006. The repercussions of the affair contributed to Macmillan's resignation in October 1963, and to the Conservative Party's defeat in the 1964 general election. (Full article...)
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