Lift the lid on Profumo
SIR – Andrew Lloyd-webber is doing a great service to the cause of justice in keeping up the pressure for the release of government papers relating to the Profumo affair (report, September 13).
The conviction of Dr Stephen Ward, a man of great talent, in 1963 will not cease to be an issue of intense controversy, causing his family continuing distress, until this happens. Andrew and I raised the overwhelming case for the disclosure of the relevant documents in the Lords in July 2013. The inquiry into the Profumo scandal, carried out by Lord Denning, amassed a wealth of material which could well show that Dr Ward’s conviction was improperly secured.
We were told that these crucial files would remain closed because they contained “some sensational personal items which would be embarrassing if released”. Some personal embarrassment is not an acceptable reason for concealing information that could throw fresh light on the Ward case.
An incomplete transcript of Dr Ward’s trial, which is held by the National Archives, should also be made available. When, in March 2014, I asked for it to be released, I was told that disclosure “would invite renewed and potentially unfair speculation” about the activities of people who are still alive.
A strong suspicion that a miscarriage of justice occurred 54 years ago surely makes that defence of continuing secrecy invalid. The Government must think again. Lord Lexden