How far were Conservative scandals the most important reason for their defeat in 1964?

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How far were conservative scandals the most important reason for their defeat in 1964?

The Consercatives suffered a very close loss in 1964, and it was not oly the conservative scandals – Profumo and Vassal affairs, but also other factors such as political weaknesses within the party, social factors, and economic reasons.

The vassal spy affair shocked the country at the time, in 1963, because of the tabooed nature surrounding the scandal. John Vassal was a homosexual clerk, who worked at the Admiralty. He was photographed by the KGB at a gay sex party, and later on, it emerged that he was a spy for the USSR. There was a lot of speculation amongst the public, about a homosexual and traitorous network possible involving government ministers.

The Profumo affair was another scandal which did involve a minister – John Profumo – Minister for War. He was alleged to have had sexual relations with a girl named Christine Keeler who was also having an affair with a soviet spy. This created a huge uproar about National security. Not only did this cause the scandal, but Profumo went on to lie in the House of Commons about his relationship with Keeler. The very fact that the Prime minister Macmillan also believed Profumo’s original denial of impropriety showed his poor lack of control over his ministers. Both these scandals alone did not topple the government, but greatly weakened people’s faith iin the leadership, and this meant that they sought an alternative party to take the conservative’s place.

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Another aspect to the failings of the conservatives in 1964 was their political weaknesses within the party. After Prime-minister Macmillan resigned unexpectedly, the leadership was in a bad state. The new appointed leader was Alec Douglas-Home  who lacked the charisma that his former collegue possessed. Douglas-Home also represented too much of the establishment – he became prime minister purely because of a closed circle of old etonian conservatives that elected him. This view of the ‘establishment’ was starting to become something that the public disliked, due to the rise in rock, and rebel attitudes. Another international political struggle was ...

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