Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Was Cyril Smith not prosecuted because of a possible Con-Lib coalition?

The 1970s were a strange, strange decade. Elements of the intelligence services had convinced themselves that Harold Wilson was a KGB plant - hadn't he taken over on the sudden and convenient death of Hugh Gaitskell? - and retired soldiers drilled private armies to be ready when civil order broke down.

Now Pride's Purge has suggested the decade may have been stranger still:
After the 1974 election, negotiations began between the incumbent Prime Minister Edward Heath's Conservative Party and Jeremy Thorpe's Liberals to form a coalition government together. 
In 1974, Cyril Smith was one of the leading lights of the Liberals and he most certainly would have been offered a ministerial seat in any Conservative-Liberal coalition government cabinet. 
Needless to say, the allegations of abuse the police were preparing against Smith would have scuppered any hopes of a coalition agreement. 
And when did the Smith abuse file disappear after MI5 requested it from Special Branch? Yes, you've guessed it. 
In 1974 - sometime around the same time Smith's Liberal Party were negotiating a coalition agreement with the Tories. 
It looks suspiciously to me like elements of MI5 decided they were not going to allow negotiations to keep out a Labour government to be scuppered by such a trivial matter as a child abuse scandal involving a probable future cabinet minister. 
What do you think?
Well, what do you think?

I am not convinced, but it is a lovely theory. And the seventies were strange days indeed.


RDH said...

The more I hear revealed about the 70s and 80s the more I think David Peace's novels are pure documentary. Rotten decades indeed.

Peter Harvey said...

What I think now is no different from what I thought st the time, when I was the International Officer of NLYL. I remember that weekend very well indeed. The party leadership was negotiating eith Heath, as they had to, and Thorpe was offered the Home Office and Grimond the Scottish Office. The posts were ideal for both men and it is understandble that they were greatly tempted. However, very strong pressure was exerted by all sections of the party without exception -- we sent our Chair Ruth Addison (now Coleman) to Devon to put our case to Thorpe in person. A look at the newspaper archives for that Sunday will show how great the party preseure was.

Two seats were offered. There was no suggestion then or later that Cyril Smith would have been offered a cabinet seat, or any government position.

No doubt there are still people around from otherbsections of the Party whose memories will be the same as mine. Coincidence does not prove causality even though scandal-mongers and conspiracy theorists like to pretend otherwise.