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March 10, 2006

OotW: John Profumo, age 91, Disgraced Former Cabinet Minister

It is a good thing that somebody interesting has passed away (good for us, at least), since there is literally no news today. However, the infamous former Conservative defense minister (then still known by the much better and more descriptive title of Secretary of State for War), John Profumo, died yesterday, aged 91.

The London Times has the best obit I've read for him:

John Profumo, CBE, Secretary of State for War, 1960-63, and Chairman of Toynbee Hall, 1982-85. Born January 30, 1915, died on March 9, 2006, aged 91.

His subsequent wholly admirable charity work notwithstanding, John Profumo will be remembered as the the Secretary of State for War whose adulterous affair with the glamorous demi-mondaine Christine Keeler did more than anything to hasten the resignation of the Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963. The scandal had an impact unique among sex and politics scandals in modern British life. Subsequent "minister and call-girl" stories — of which there were not a few — had nothing like its impact, nor were they treated with such seriousness.

The Guardian also has an interesting write-up of Profumo's life story.

Here are some other, tangentially related links that may be helpful.

  • What is The Chiltern Hundreds and why did John Profumo apply for this position at the apogee of his scandal?

  • What ever became of John Edgecombe, who's angry gunplay brought the entire sordid affair into the public eye?

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March 10, 2006 at 01:17 PM | Permalink

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Comments

"defense minister (then still known by the much better and more descriptive title of Secretary of State for War)": Not quite - the War Department was for the Army only - just like the old US War Department, in fact - with the Admiralty for the Navy and the Air Ministry for the RAF.

Posted by: just another pedant | Mar 10, 2006 3:04:59 PM

I stand corrected. Thanks for the information.

Posted by: Spartacus | Mar 10, 2006 4:48:42 PM

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