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Parkinson Lobby

Alan Rusbridger, 17 November 1983

... Until supper time on Thursday, 14 October, when Miss Sara Keays lifted her telephone to summon the Times to her drawing-room, a mere four people in public life had openly censured Mr Cecil Parkinson and suggested he should resign: two Tory MPs, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and the Mayor of Potters Bar. Ranged against this lone and motley quartet were the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, most of Fleet Street, 70 Tory MPs, 62 per cent of the British public, Bernard Levin, 90 per cent of telephone callers to Conservative Central Office and a briefcase full of letters from Mr Parkinson’s constituents ...
Once a Jolly Bagman: Memoirs 
by Alistair McAlpine.
Weidenfeld, 269 pp., £20, March 1997, 9780297817376
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... Lord McAlpine of West Green. There is also a reference to Cecil Parkinson’s affair with Sara Keays which is loathsome enough to bring a blush to the cheek of David Evans. The sparks don’t fly until the last fifth of the book. McAlpine’s main inspiration is deep worship of Margaret Thatcher. ‘In all the time I have known her,’ he ...


Lord Goodman, 8 May 1986

Freedom of Speech 
by Eric Barendt.
Oxford, 314 pp., £35, November 1985, 0 19 825381 8
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The Espionage of the Saints: Two Essays on Silence and the State 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 212 pp., £12.95, January 1986, 9780241117507
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A Question of Judgment 
by Sara Keays.
Quintessential Press, 312 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 1 85138 000 0
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... betrayal of a pledge can ever be justified, and if so, in what circumstances. One of them, Miss Keays’s book, can be briefly disposed of. In her case the betrayal is twofold. First, the betrayal of a lover by the desertion of her partner, and, secondly, the betrayal by the aggrieved lover of the private story of the romance. Wiser counsels – family ...

Celestial Blue

Matthew Coady, 5 July 1984

Sources Close to the Prime Minister: Inside the Hidden World of the News Manipulators 
by Michael Cockerell and David Walker.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £9.95, June 1984, 0 333 34842 7
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... Parkinson in the Cabinet following the disclosure of his affair with his former secretary, Miss Sara Keays, was an epic failure. Newspaper enterprise swiftly scuppered the official line (‘the issue of Mr Parkinson’s resignation does not and will not arise’). Again, the bid to diminish, if not effectively hide, the extent of Mrs Thatcher’s eye ...

Cross Words

Neal Ascherson, 17 November 1983

The Story of the ‘Times’ 
by Oliver Woods and James Bishop.
Joseph, 392 pp., £14.95, October 1983, 0 7181 1462 0
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Good Times, Bad Times 
by Harold Evans.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £11.95, October 1983, 0 297 78295 9
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... cooked his goose with some of the stuffier colleagues. And what was the solution chosen by Ms Sara Keays to put her injury before the world? Not a press conference, but a summons to the Times to attend her drawing-room in the country. And, yes, it was a world ...

An Enemy Within

Paul Foot, 23 April 1987

Molehunt: The Full Story of the Soviet Mole in MI5 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 297 79150 8
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... continued, but this time against ‘legitimate targets’ – against enemies of the Government (Sara Keays perhaps, or Hilda Murrell) – not against the government itself. The security services could now bask in their respectability, which would be sadly compromised if any of the unfortunate behaviour of the Wright gang in the mid-Seventies were ...

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