Was Britain’s Prime Minister A Soviet Agent?

On Valentine’s Day in 1963, Harold Wilson became leader of Great Britain’s Labour Party His appointment came out of the blue, when his predecessor Hugh Gaitskell unexpectedly died

Within a year, Wilson was Prime Minister Famed for his ordinary background and pragmatism, Wilson’s legacy still divides opinion Over twelve years, he oversaw huge social and economic changes and won four general elections, the most of all British Prime Ministers Yet unbeknownst to the public, a KGB agent had already ousted Wilson – as a Soviet spy Anatoliy Golitsyn was a Major in the KGB

In December 1961, he defected to the USA and was secretly interrogated by the CIA throughout the 1960s His CIA handlers called him most valuable asset to ever defect to the West When Hugh Gaitskell suddenly died in 1963, Golitsyn claimed he had been poisoned by the KGB, possibly while he visited Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev in December 1962 According to Golitsyn, the Soviets assassinated Gaitskell to make way for Harold Wilson, who was an informer to the Soviet Union Making him Prime Minister gave the Soviets unprecedented knowledge of and influence in Western politics

Wilson strongly denied having any KGB connections Moreover, he long insisted he was a victim of the British Secret Service In 1976 and 1977, he told reporters that he was the target of a ""whispering campaign"" by British Intelligence He said he had been bugged, that MI5 burgled the homes of his aides, bugged their phones and spread propaganda against him throughout the media, including rumours that his secretary posed a threat to national security and that he was an IRA sympathiser Yet an internal inquiry into Wilson’s claims concluded that “at no time has the Security Service or any other British intelligence or security agency, either of its own accord or at someone else's request, undertaken electronic surveillance in 10 Downing Street or in the Prime Minister's room in the House of Commons

"" By and large, Wilson was dismissed as paranoid On 16th March, 1976, he shocked the world by resigning as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland His time in power ended as abruptly and unexpectedly as it began Yet evidence suggests Wilson was not merely paranoid Colin Wallace was the press officer at the Northern Ireland Army Headquarters and was involved in psychological warfare against the IRA

He revealed that from 1973 to 1974 there was a right-wing intelligence plan to smear Harold Wilson Called Operation Clockwork Orange, after the film and book, it involved Conservative politicians, secret service officers, and foreign press Then in August 1974, Peace News magazine exposed plans by the founder of the SAS, David Stirling, to take over the government with the help of right-wing military men, if there was civil unrest under Wilson’s leadership In 1987, former MI5 officer Peter Wright claimed that thirty intelligence officers ""had given their approval to a plot"" against Prime Minister Wilson MI5 did spy on Wilson, and part of the plot would have involved leaking his top secret MI5 files to the press

In particular, Wright said Cecil King, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, “was a longtime agent of ours [and] made it clear that he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction"" In 1971, Cecil King revealed that on 8th May 1968, he met with Earl Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh’s uncle He was also the longest serving head of the British Armed Forces Mountbatten reportedly told King, ""there is anxiety about the government at the palace, and the Queen has had an unprecedented number of letters protesting about Wilson"" Then, according to Peter Wright, Cecil King asked Mountbatten to lead the plot against Harold Wilson

Indeed, the military and the royal family may have been more involved than we know In 2006, the BBC interviewed Major Alexander Greenwood, who said, ""I know the Queen She was not very happy with Mr Harold Wilson"" He admitted he set up his own private army in 1974 to 75 to depose Wilson and appoint Earl Mountbatten as the new Prime Minister Former intelligence officer Brian Crozier confirmed the army ""seriously considered the possibility of a military takeover""

This is exactly what Wilson feared On 5th January, 1974 the army launched Operation Marmion 150 British troops, supported by armoured vehicles, arrived at Heathrow airport in full battle order and occupied it for two weeks This was apparently an anti-terrorism exercise, but Wilson was not informed it would happen Operation Marmion was implemented on three more times — in June, July and September

Wilson was convinced it was a show of right-wing strength – a warning, or even a rehearsal, for a coup However, on 13th October, 1988, Peter Wright admitted to the BBC that he exaggerated his story of the plot against Wilson ""I would say it is unreliable"" he said Several investigations were carried out by MI5, all of which “found no evidence of any truth in the allegations… Wilson has never been the subject of a Security Service investigation or of any form of electronic or other surveillance by the Security Service

"" On the other hand, in 2009 the official history of MI5 revealed that a secret inquiry was conducted in 1996, that discovered “there is absolutely no doubt at all that a few… malcontents in MI5 who were right-wing spread damaging malicious stories about [Wilson’s] Labour government"" As for Anatoliy Golitsyn’s claims that Wilson was a Soviet agent, the evidence to support them is thin For all the accurate information he gave the CIA, a lot of his information was proven untrue MI5 repeatedly investigated Wilson for years, and conclusively decided that Wilson had no relationship with the KGB or the Soviets

Furthermore, Wilson did not come to power with the help of the KGB His predecessor, Hugh Gaitskell, died from complications following a sudden case of lupus, an autoimmune disease which had affected his heart and kidneys He fell ill before visiting the Soviet Union, and it is unlikely the Soviets infected him with the disease, because it is not infectious Harold Wilson died on 24th May, 1995 His suspicions that his own secret services conspired against him, and that the military attempted to stage a coup, were never openly confirmed during his lifetime

Although none of these plots – Operation Marmion, Operation Clockwork Orange – were never carried out to their full extent, perhaps they didn’t have to be Wilson left office before his time His friends and family say he was suffering the early signs of Alzheimer’s, and wanted to go before he grew unable to govern On a deeper level, it is hard to shake the feeling he was driven out, by negative propaganda and paranoia

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