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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jeremy Thorpe - The Welsh connection redux

Having come back from a long weekend at the Hay Festival I was astonished to find an abnormal number of hits on my blog, all looking for a post I wrote in December 2014 following the death of Jeremy Thorpe at the age of 85.

The post is here and the comments are particularly worth reading, however for ease of reference for those watching the excellent 'A Very English Scandal' and the outstanding performances by Hugh Grant as Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott, amongst many other brilliant performances, I have reproduced that blog below:

The sad death of Jeremy Thorpe at the age of 85 has provoked many people to reflect on their connections with him and already the interweb is full of various anecdotes and stories.

I never met him, though I first got involved with the Liberal Party in 1974 when he was leader. knocking on doors on behalf of the party during the second 1974 General Election. But as befits any leader of the Liberal Party, Thorpe did have Welsh connections, though not necessarily ones we would want to boast about.

As this obituary recounts, Jeremy Thorpe's parents were staunch Conservatives. His father John Thorpe, born in Cork, was a KC and, for a few years after the First World War, MP for Rusholme in Manchester. His mother was the daughter of Sir John Norton-Griffiths, 1st Bt, another Conservative MP, one who gloried in the epithet “Empire Jack” and who owed his baronetcy to David Lloyd George.

Jeremy Thorpe's mother was a great friend of Lady Megan Lloyd George, who subsequently became his godmother. The Norman Scott affair though revealed a more sinister link through what the newspapers of the time termed the 'South Wales Connection.'

This was the allegation that Andrew Newton had been hired to kill Scott by two businessmen from Port Talbot, John Le Mesurier who ran a discount carpet firm and George Deakin, who had made a fortune from one-armed bandits.

The Liberal deputy treasurer, David Holmes, who was a friend of Thorpe contacted a business associate, John Le Mesurier, who then confided in George Deakin.

Deakin approached an old friend, David Miller who ran a printing shop in Cardiff, who subsequently recommended his friend Andrew Newton as somebody who could frighten Scott away.

The rest as they say is history.
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