Lambton Affair

It was the biggest scandal in the British politics since the Profumo scandal a decade before and like Profumo scandal, it nearly toppled a government. Antony Lambton joined Edward Heath’s government under a cloud of controversy — months before the Conservative victory in 1970, his father had died, making Lambton the 6th Earl of Durham.Although he disclaimed the title, he fought fiercely to retain the courtesy title of Viscount Lambton, and hence the appellation ‘Lord Lambton’.

In 1973, a police raid on a Soho pornography shop turned up a notebook full of coded names and addresses. The only uncoded name was ‘Jellicoe’, presumed to be that of the Leader of the Lords, Earl Jellicoe. (In fact, it was an error. Jellicoe referred to a rendezvous hotel, but the police questioned Lord Jellicoe instead, who coincidentally happened to be guilty and confessed.) The owners, Colin and Norma Levy catered to kings, princes, civil servants, cabinet ministers and millionaires. When police arrested Colin Levy, he revealed Lord Lambton had been his wife’s lover.

With the help of the News of the World, Levy installed a camera in his wife’s flat, and a microphone in a teddy bear. Lambton and Norma were recorded talking about drugs, and captured them cavorting naked with another prostitute called Kim. The News of the World decided not to pursue the story and Levy sold it to The People, which handed the material to the police. The pictures caused a furore in Downing Street, in White Hall and in Westminster. Lambton who had previously written critically about the Profumo affair promptly resigned his office and his parliamentary seat which he had represented since 1951.

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