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8 November 1979
Jeremy ThorpeA Secret Life 
by Lewis Chester, Magnus Linklater and David May.
Fontana, 371 pp., £1.50
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... In one sense, as the advertising claims, this is ‘the only book to tell the full story of the JeremyThorpe affair’, for there is no other book that tells that story. Written by three journalists from the Sunday Times, it presents the existing state of knowledge, but tidied up and reduced to order, and ...

The Unsolved Mystery of the Money Tree

Anthony Howard: Jeremy Thorpe

19 August 1999
In My Own Time: Reminiscences of a Liberal Leader 
by Jeremy Thorpe.
Politico’s, 234 pp., £18, April 1999, 1 902301 21 8
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... JeremyThorpe has long been the non-person of modern British politics. Never mind that 25 years ago he attained for the then stand-alone Liberal Party more votes (over six million) than Paddy Ashdown achieved for ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe

29 July 2015
Jeremy​ Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... Had things​ been different, last year’s obituaries might have read like this. Although known for his charm, wit and talent as mimic and raconteur, JeremyThorpe will be chiefly remembered as the deviser of much of the programme of modern British liberalism, and the architect of one of its great periods of electoral success. The grandson and son of ...

Beyond Discussion

Neal Ascherson

3 April 1980
The Last Word: An Eye-Witness Account of the Thorpe​ Trial 
by Auberon Waugh.
Joseph, 240 pp., £6.50, February 1980, 0 7181 1799 9
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... Heh, heh!’ went the judge in the Thorpe trial, Mr Justice Cantley. According to Auberon Waugh, who sat in the press benches all through the six weeks of the Old Bailey proceedings, he made a habit of it: his own jokes, the floundering of ...

Showboating

John Upton: George Carman

9 May 2002
No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman 
by Dominic Carman.
Hodder, 331 pp., £18.99, January 2002, 0 340 82098 5
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... secrets”.’ Carman was academically brilliant, winning a scholarship to Balliol in 1949, where he took one of two top firsts in law, decided to become a barrister, and wrote his fellow law student JeremyThorpe’s tutorial essays in return for Thorpe’s help in drafting speeches for the Oxford Union – a curious prefiguration of what was to come. Carman also came top in his Bar school finals. It ...
12 October 1989
A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... cared little for conventional politics. Grimond would catch the Speaker’s eye as the Chamber emptied and speak intelligently to a House which liked the man, but thought his party a joke. Then came JeremyThorpe, the flamboyant actor-manager, famous in private for his impersonations of Winston Churchill and in public for a taste for campaigning that seemed larger than his causes. It was Thorpe who ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh

7 November 2019
A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... theatre of the absurd which Waugh occasionally took on tour in a kind of performance journalism, most notably during the 1979 general election. This was part of his ‘oblique, crablike’ pursuit of JeremyThorpe, the former leader of the Liberal Party. Allegations that Thorpe had hired a hit man to dispose of his former lover Norman Scott had been cropping up since 1975, nowhere more persistently than ...
3 April 1980
The Diamond Underworld 
by Fred Kamil.
Allen Lane, 244 pp., £6.50, November 1979, 0 7139 1086 0
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... a plot to get money by blackmail and menaces from various directors of Anglo-American. At that point the bemused reader sees that among the names flashing past are those of Harold Wilson, Peter Hain, JeremyThorpe etc, who were supposed to be the targets of the ‘South African connection’. There the book ends, the author still asserting fiercely that justice has not been done to him. He is quite sure ...

Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Michael Foot

25 March 2010
... at mass meetings. Indeed the mass meeting was still alive and well in the Liberal strongholds of the West Country as late as 1970, as I discovered when in the general election of that year I fought JeremyThorpe in North Devon. By then Foot was long gone, to the valleys of South Wales, where a way with words is also appreciated. A short spell working as a clerk for a shipping company in Liverpool in ...

Diary

William Rodgers: Party Conference Jamboree

25 October 1990
... the natural government of Britain. As for the Liberals in their annual Assembly, they were a minority party, seldom expecting to be taken seriously and relying on a single performance by Jo Grimond, JeremyThorpe or David Steel to give them whatever credibility they could earn. It was Labour that faced the real problem. Defeat for the leadership – often following a bitter row – saddled it with ...

Allegedly

Michael Davie

1 November 1984
Public Scandal, Odium and Contempt: An Investigation of Recent Libel Cases 
by David Hooper.
Secker, 230 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 436 20093 7
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... It was a serious matter when the Sunday Telegraph accused Mr Jack Hayward, a successful businessman, of being involved in a criminal conspiracy to murder Norman Scott, the friend of the Rt Hon. JeremyThorpe MP. It was a serious matter when a book by David Irving was read as suggesting that Captain Broome RN, the commander in 1942 of the destroyer escort of a wartime convoy taking supplies to ...
6 March 2014
In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... election the voters returned an uncertain decision: Harold Wilson’s Labour Party took 301 seats on 11.7 million votes, Heath’s Tories got 297 seats on 11.9 million votes, and the Liberals led by JeremyThorpe found that their six million votes translated into 14 seats. The Liberals’ mini-revival suggested a solution to Heath’s predicament, and led him to enter into negotiations with Thorpe. The ...

London Review of Crooks

Robert Marshall-Andrews

15 July 1982
Rough Justice: The Extraordinary Truth about Charles Richardson and his Gang 
by Robert Parker.
Fontana, 352 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 00 636354 7
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Web of Corruption: The Story of John Poulson and T. Dan Smith 
by Raymond Fitzwalter and David Taylor.
Granada, 282 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 246 10915 7
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Inside Boss: South Africa’s Secret Police 
by Gordon Winter.
Penguin, 640 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 9780140057515
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Crime in Wartime: A Social History of Crime in World War II 
by Edward Smithies.
Allen and Unwin, 219 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 04 364020 6
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... prominent in the prosecution of Peter Hain for conspiracy, and was actually called as a prosecution witness, only to turn hostile at Pretoria’s bidding in order to preserve his cover. He began the JeremyThorpe scandal, which he leaked to the People before the 1974 election. No less amazingly, he exposed the exploitation of Hong Kong workers in order to deflect attention from similar exploitation in ...
7 August 1980
Mrs Thatcher’s First Year 
by Hugh Stephenson.
Jill Norman, 128 pp., £6.50, June 1980, 0 906908 16 7
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A House Divided 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 200 pp., £6.50, June 1980, 0 297 77764 5
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... That is the basis of Steel’s strategy. After the General Election of February 1974 Edward Heath, faced with the prospect of heading a minority government, discussed with the then Liberal leader JeremyThorpe the possibility of some sort of coalition. But Steel reports that it was ‘the almost universal opinion’ of Liberal MPs that no such offer should be accepted, as it would merely give them a ...

Radical Democrats

Ross McKibbin

7 March 1991
Conflicts of Interest: Diaries 1977-80 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 675 pp., £20, September 1990, 0 09 174321 4
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Words as Weapons: Selected Writings 1980-1990 
by Paul Foot.
Verso, 281 pp., £29.95, November 1990, 0 86091 310 4
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... of Prostitutes thanking him for signing a motion condemning the imprisonment of Cynthia Payne. ‘I replied, wishing them success in their campaign.’ There is also a creditable reference to JeremyThorpe. It is obvious that Benn is personally a good-natured and generous-minded man. The reasons for his later campaign for the ‘democratic’ reform of the Labour Party can thus be easily defended: his ...

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