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John Profumo dies aged 91

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John Profumo dies aged 91

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The man at the centre of one of the most sensational political scandals of the 20th. century, John Profumo, has died at the age of 91. In 1963 Profumo was Britain’s War minister at the height of the cold war, and a rising star of the Harold MacMillan Conservative government. In March of that year he made a statement in parliament denying he was having a relationship with call girl Christine Keeler, who he had met at a sex party organised by society osteopath Stephen Ward. In June he resigned, after admitting he had lied, and after it emerged Keeler had also been sleeping with a Soviet intelligence officer at the Russian embassy in London.

Keeler and Ward were prosecuted, Ward committing suicide on the last day of his trial for living off immoral earnings, and Keeler went to jail for nine months on unrelated perjury charges. The scandal led to the fall of the Macmillan government the following year, and the return of Labour to power after 13. Profumo spent the rest of his life working for charity with refugees in the east end of London. His disgrace was in part forgiven when he was awarded the CBE, and readmitted to the Privy Council three years ago.