Late morning, July 7, 2008, and motorsport tycoon Max Mosley is undergoing cross-examination at the Royal Courts of Justice. Mr Mosley, the youngest son of the British Union of Fascists leader Sir Oswald Mosley, has brought a breach of privacy action against the News of the World.
Three months earlier, the newspaper had published a front page account and online video footage of a sadomasochistic orgy in which the multi-millionaire had taken part with five prostitutes.
The newspaper claimed the orgy had a ‘Nazi’ or ‘concentration camp’ theme. Because of the Mosley family history, the report was in the public interest, it argued. The Nazi allegations were denied by Mr Mosley.
And so the 68-year-old was in the witness box being questioned by the Murdoch newspaper’s defence counsel, Mark Warby QC.
Mr Warby wanted to explore Mr Mosley’s own participation in the far-Right politics of his parents, Sir Oswald and Diana, Lady Mosley, at whose marriage in Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels’ home Adolf Hitler had been guest of honour.
This pamphlet was produced in support of one Walter Hesketh. In November 1961, Mr Hesketh was the Union Movement’s parliamentary candidate for Moss Side. The pamphlet — an identical copy of which can also be found in the Working Class Movement Library in nearby Salford — makes for instructive reading.
The QC was particularly interested in a by-election held in Moss Side, Manchester on November 7, 1961.
Sir Oswald’s Union Movement (UM) — the post-war reincarnation of his Jew-hating Blackshirts of the British Union of Fascists — had fielded a candidate.
A new minority had been identified as their racial scapegoat: Afro-Caribbean immigrants, of whom Moss Side — an area of considerable deprivation — had a significant community.
Max Mosley, a married Oxford graduate and student barrister, was the Party’s local election agent.
Mosley’s evidence at orgy trial
QC: ‘You were out on the streets putting out leaflets “urging the voters to send the blacks home”?’
Mosley: ‘I have no recollection of doing any such thing. If there was such a leaflet you would be able to produce it’
QC: ‘Were leaflets put out alleging that coloured immigrants brought leprosy, syphilis and TB?’
Mosley: ‘That is absolute nonsense.’
Earlier he had told the court . . . ‘I was very impressed how your people trawled through every paper and local papers all over the country.
And equally impressed with myself that they have not been able to find one single thing which I regret saying even now 50 years later’
That meant he was legally responsible for the conduct of its campaign.
Questioned under oath by Mr Warby about whether he had distributed leaflets ‘urging voters to send the blacks home’ Mr Mosley answered: ‘Not as I recall.’
Mr Warby then asked: ‘Is there any truth in the suggestion . . . that leaflets were put out [by the Union Movement] alleging that coloured immigrants brought leprosy, syphilis and TB [tuberculosis]?’
This time Mr Mosley — under oath — could not have been more emphatic.
‘That is absolute nonsense,’ he said.
But the truth is there had been appalling racial slurs about disease in those leaflets and they had urged that blacks be sent ‘home’ to their countries of origin.
A Mail investigation has established that this incendiary material had been printed and distributed, in a constituency with thousands of black residents, under Max Mosley’s name.
At the time of that trial in 2008, the News of the World’s defence team had been unable to find a copy of the pamphlet and challenge Mosley’s recollection.
The defence QC suspected that the pamphlets had existed only because they had been referred to in a Guardian newspaper article a number of years earlier.
Walter Hesketh, unsuccessful British Union Movement candidate in the Moss Side Parliamentary by-election, pictured with Max Mosley, then his agent
As a trained barrister, Mr Mosley very well understood his interrogator’s difficulty.
‘If there was such a leaflet you would be able to produce it,’ he had observed coolly. Indeed, he even mocked the defence’s ability to explore his past.
‘I was very impressed at the way your people have trawled through every conceivable paper and local papers all over the country,’ he said.
‘And equally impressed with myself, I have to say, that they have not been able to find one single thing which I regret saying even now however many years, 50 years, later.’ The fact that the pamphlet wasn’t produced did not mean that it did not exist: it simply had not been unearthed by the defence.
But it did exist. It does exist. And now it has been discovered by the Mail.
In an envelope in a box marked ‘rare material — issue under close supervision’, in the local history archive at Manchester Central Library there is a sheaf of election literature.
Most of the documents are relics of mainstream party campaigns fought in the city in the 20 years after World War II.
But there is another pamphlet.
It was produced in support of one Walter Hesketh. In November 1961, Mr Hesketh was the Union Movement’s parliamentary candidate for Moss Side.
The leaflet was produced in support of ‘Union Movement’ candidate Walter Hesketh in 1961
The pamphlet — an identical copy of which can also be found in the Working Class Movement Library in nearby Salford — makes for instructive reading.
Under the heading ‘A Personal Message’, Mr Hesketh is quoted as saying: ‘If enough people vote for me . . . the Government will be sending coloured immigrants home instead of bringing more in.’
That, of course, was the policy pledge which his agent Max Mosley failed to ‘recall’ under oath.
Inside the pamphlet, other key aspects of the Union Movement’s manifesto are set out.
Number one on this list is a call for the ‘complete Union of Europe’. Britain and the Continental nations would exist under a common central government.
Certain British colonies would also form part of a racially pure superstate. ‘We can enter Europe with the (British) Dominions, but not with the old black colonies,’ the UM pamphlet states. The ‘coloured people in Britain’ would be sent back ‘home’ and given ‘help to develop their own civilisation’.
But to maintain those colonies as part of the new economic bloc would be to ‘ruin our economy because they [blacks] have an altogether different standard of life,’ and would undercut European industry.
Mosley outside the Royal Courts of Justice following the court case in 2008
The overtly racist nature of the UM by-election campaign is made even more explicit on the pamphlet’s back page.
Beneath the injunction: ‘Protect Your Family’ — and beside a drawing of a besuited white man making a phone call — the pamphlet reads: ‘This man is telephoning his wife to say what he would like to “digest” is a good British dinner in a good British home.
‘Remember that . . . the Conservative candidate said you would have to “digest” the coloured immigrants who are here already, and then “digest” some more . . . To stop coloured immigration vote Hesketh.’
On the same page another headline warns ‘Protect Your Health’. There is a drawing of a blond boy in a hospital bed being examined by a doctor.
Mr Mosley at the High Court in 2008
The accompanying copy states: ‘There is no medical check on immigration. Tuberculosis, V.D. and other terrible diseases like leprosy are on the increase.
‘Coloured immigration threatens your children’s health.’
Who published this white supremacist tract, four years before the first Race Relations Act made such incitement to racial hatred a criminal offence?
The answer lies at the bottom of the pamphlet’s front page: ‘Published by Max Mosley.’ In other words, the pamphlet was produced by the same man who would tell the court under oath that the idea of it ever having existed was ‘absolute nonsense’.
It is difficult to understand the failure of Mr Mosley, who even his critics say has a brilliant legal mind, to recollect his publishing one of the most racist pieces of parliamentary election literature produced in post-war Britain.
If he did lie, he would have been committing perjury — an offence which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to seven years.
It is difficult to calculate the effect this memory lapse had on the outcome of his landmark orgy privacy trial in which Mr Justice Eady awarded Mr Mosley £60,000 damages.
If the defence had been able to produce that devastating pamphlet, would it have damaged the credibility of both Mr Mosley’s testimony and his integrity?
One thing is certain: Max Mosley’s victory against the News of the World at the High Court in 2008 and the failure to expose the extent of his racist past provided him with both the platform and moral justification to pursue his critics in the Press.
If, however, his activities with the UM had been exposed, he surely would not have been able to assume the self-righteous mantle of victim and crusader, using the Mosley family millions to become one of the most influential figures in today’s Britain.
He has bankrolled Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and Impress — the State-approved media watchdog which critics say opens the door to statutory control of the Press — not to mention currently using the Data Protection Act to try to ‘airbrush’ his orgy from history by bringing legal actions against newspapers which refer to it.
‘I can afford to cause trouble,’ he boasted in a 2015 GQ magazine interview, conducted by sympathetic former Labour propagandist Alastair Campbell.
Mosley added: ‘If I want to be friends with the Prime Minister and I give a million pounds I will get access and invitations.
‘It may be wrong, but it is not illegal.’
Between August 2015 and February 2017, Mr Mosley gave no less than £540,000 to support Labour Party deputy leader and shadow culture secretary Tom Watson, who says he is ‘proud’ to call Mr Mosley a friend.
Mr Mosley has also pledged £3.8 million via a family trust to fund Impress, the controversial Press regulator which is underwritten by statute and supported by Mr Watson and the pressure group Hacked Off, but shunned by the newspaper industry which views it as a threat to freedom of expression.
The Moss Side by-election is merely one unwritten chapter in Max Mosley’s secret past.
In recent months, the Mail has examined public and privately held archives and interviewed several of Mr Mosley’s contemporaries, including senior figures from the UM who have never spoken before.
We compared these accounts with the testimony Mr Mosley has given as a witness at Parliamentary select committees, under oath at both the privacy trial and the Leveson Inquiry into the Press, and as the author of his 2015 autobiography Formula One And Beyond.
Again and again, as we shall reveal, one is reminded of criticism levelled at his father on the 1975 publication of Sir Oswald’s authorised biography, written by Max Mosley’s university friend Robert (now Lord) Skidelsky.
By orchestrating an ‘entirely unconvincing whitewash of his career’ which allowed him ‘a modicum of social and political rehabilitation’ Sir Oswald had shown himself to be an ‘expert forgetter’, said one reviewer.
It seems that forgetfulness runs in the family still.
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