Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has called for the secret Profumo papers to be released after an appeal was refused over the case of affair ‘pimp’ Stephen Ward.
The English composer and impresario, 69, spoke out in an open letter after the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) ruled that Ward, will not have his conviction reassessed by the court of appeal.
Lord Lloyd Webber is adamant that the opening of the sealed secret service and police files will clear Ward’s name.
The campaign to clear the name of society osteopath Stephen Ward – the high-society fixer at the centre of the Profumo sex scandal – suffered a major setback. He is pictured with showgirl Christine Keeler in June 1963
Many believe Ward was scapegoated for the scandal which had threatened to bring down Harold Macmillan’s Government. It was sparked by the revelation that Secretary of State for War John Profumo (left) had an affair with Keeler (right) while she was allegedly sleeping with a Russian naval attache
In September 2013, Geoffrey Robertson QC had presented new findings to the CCRC.
Mr Robertson and his team hoped the new evidence would lead either to the case being quashed or Ward being granted a Royal pardon.
Many believe society osteopath Ward was scapegoated for the scandal which had threatened to bring down Harold Macmillan’s Government.
It was sparked by the revelation that Secretary of State for War John Profumo had an affair with showgirl Christine Keeler while she was allegedly sleeping with Russian naval attache Yevgeny Ivanov.
Ward, who had a penchant for taking young women under his wing, introduced Profumo and Keeler at a pool party at Lord Astor’s house two years earlier.
He was arrested in June 1963 and charged with living off Keeler and her friend Mandy Rice-Davies’ immoral earnings.
Towards the end of his trial, Ward overdosed on sleeping pills and was in a coma on July 31 when he was found guilty. He died three days later.
Last Friday, the CCRC said it found no evidence that Ward’s prosecution was politically motivated.
But it did accept that if Ward was still alive it could have ‘been minded to refer the case to the court of appeal’.
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber (right, in 1969) has called for the secret Profumo papers to be released after an appeal was refused over the case of affair ‘pimp’ Stephen Ward (left)
In an open letter, seen by The Telegraph, Lord Lloyd Webber wrote: ‘The Criminal Cases Review Commission has ruled that the conviction of Stephen Ward cannot be referred to the Court of Appeal as there were not sufficient public interest grounds and “Ward’s case was a case of its time”.
‘If so, surely now there is no reason for the file on Ward and the Profumo scandal to remain closed until 2046?’
There are six Profumo Affair files in the National Archives at Kew, in South-West London, but only five of them are open for public inspection.
The bulging sixth, file 1/4140, containing the highly-sensitive information, is closed and will remain so until at least the year 2046.
Among the papers it contains are believed to be court documents from the Old Bailey, including certain depositions and witness statements that are likely to include information about people whose names were not brought up publicly during the trial.
Andrew Lloyd Webber believes the contents of the file are ‘explosive’
Andrew Lloyd Webber believes the contents of the file are ‘explosive’.
Speaking in 2014, he said: ‘I can only say my source is totally reliable – it couldn’t be more reliable.
‘Of course, the person in question has not released any details to me, but is at a very high level indeed.’
In 2013 in the Upper House, Lord Lloyd Webber – made a Conseravtive peer in 1997 – rose on the red benches to declare: ‘What concerns me is the fact that these files will be closed for a staggering 83 years (and) this gives rise to an awful lot of unhealthy speculation about who might be the individuals named within the files.’
A year later in Westminster, Business Minister Lord Ahmad refused requests for the secret file to be released, saying it contained sensitive information related to people still living.
Lloyd Webber said: ‘We could speculate for ever about who and what is in this file, but that is so dangerous. Goodness knows where it could lead.
‘The problem is it makes everyone wonder who on Earth it could be who needs that level of protection for that length of time. I can’t believe that if I’d been involved, someone like me would receive protection like this.’
One name the unhealthy speculation thrown up in high places is Prince Philip.
Lord Lloyd Webber added: ‘That’s precisely what I mean about the dangers of having to speculate when everyone is so fed up with secrecy.
‘All we know is that Ward and Prince Philip knew each other because he sketched Philip several times.
‘The other interesting thing is why someone arrived and bought for cash all the Ward pictures of the Royal Family at an exhibition that took place before the trial. No one knows who it was, but the pictures have never been seen since.’
Ward was an enthusiastic and very skilled artist. He knew several members of the Royal Family, including Princess Margaret (who liked racy company), and also did drawings of the Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Earl of Snowdon.