Jeremy Thorpe was leader of the UK Liberal Party from 1967 to 1976.
Just as his party began to increase its power at the expense of the Labour and Conservative parties, Thorpe was forced to resign.
It was alleged that Thorpe had hired a hitman to murder an alleged gay lover.
It has also been alleged that there was a plot against Thorpe by a faction within the security services.
Was Jack Straw (later to become UK Foreign Secretary) working for the security services and was he part of a plot?
If there was a plot by the security services, was it a plot by a faction aiming to keep Harold Wilson’s pro-Israel Labour party in power or was it a plot by a faction aiming to help the Conservative Party?
Wilson was alleged to be a KGB agent who was surrounded by Jewish cronies. The Wilson government helped Israel to get nuclear weapons. Thorpe's Liberals were perhaps closer to Labour than to the Conservatives, but there was a feeling that their electoral success was a threat to Labour.
There was a faction within the security services that allegedly used 'dirty tricks' against Wilson and they may have been involved against Thorpe.
Sources include: Http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4789060.stm
Thorpe was the son of a Conservative MP and was educated at Eton. Thorpe became Liberal member of parliament for North Devon and in 1967 leader of the Liberal Party.
In 1968 Thorpe married Caroline Allpass. Caroline died in a car crash in 1970. In 1973 Thorpe married Marion, the former wife of the Earl of Harewood.
In the February 1974 General Election the Liberals had 14 seat which gave them the balance of power. Conservative leader Edward Heath tried but failed to form a coalition with Thorpe’s Liberal Party.
The election of February 1974 resulted in a minority Labour government. The then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, therefore called another election in October 1974, which resulted in Labour winning a small majority. Labour remained in power for four-and-a-half years, finally calling an election in May 1979.
In 1971 the Liberal Party held an enquiry into allegations being made about Thorpe by Norman Scott, a former stable lad and former male model.
Norman Scott claimed that he met Thorpe in 1961 while working as a stable lad. Scott claimed that, between 1961 and 1963, he had a homosexual relationship with Thorpe. Homosexual acts were illegal in Britain at that time.
The Liberal Party exonerated Thorpe but Scott continued to make the allegations.
In October 1975, while walking a dog called Rinka on Exmoor, Scott was confronted by Andrew "Gino" Newton, a former airline pilot. Newton shot the dog and then pointed the gun at Scott, but it apparently failed to go off.
At the trial of Newton, in 1976, Scott alleged that Thorpe had threatened to kill him if he spoke about their alleged affair.
Scott gave to the newspapers letters which he claimed to be love letters from Thorpe.
Thorpe resigned as leader of the Liberals. He lost his seat in the 1979 general election.
When Newton was released from prison, in April 1977, he alleged that he had been hired as a hit-man to kill Norman Scott.
In 1978 Thorpe ended up in court. He was accused along with David Holmes (deputy Treasurer of the Liberal Party), George Deakin (a night club owner) and John Le Mesurier (a carpet tycoon) of conspiracy to murder.
Former Liberal MP and failed businessman Peter Bessell claimed he was involved in discussions, within the Liberal Party, about how to kill Scott. According to Bessell, who sold his story to the newspapers, poison had been rejected as a method of killing Scott. One alleged plan had been to shoot Scott and hide his body in a disused tinmine.
Bessell agreed to appear as a witness in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Thorpe’s lawyers argued that 1. Thorpe and Scott had been friends but there had been no sex. 2. Scott had tried to blackmail Thorpe. 3. Thorpe and his friends had discussed 'frightening' Scott but they had never wanted to kill him.
The judge, Mr Justice Cantley, described Scott as "a crook, an accomplished liar ...a fraud".
Thorpe and the other 3 defendants were all acquitted.
In 2002, questions were asked on the BBC's Newsnight about Jack Straw's involvement in "Rinkagate". Newsnight had a tape-recording of Harold Wilson discussing the scandal and saying: "Look, I saw Jack Straw, he's very worried if he were mentioned in this context, he thinks he'll be finished."
According to the diary of Barbara Castle, a former Secretary of State for Social Security, Wilson asked Castle to examine Norman Scott's social security file to see if it contained any clues that he was part of a conspiracy.
Straw told Castle that when he went to examine Scott's file, he found it was missing.
The journalist Barrie Penrose has alleged that Straw leaked information from the file to the media.
Straw has denied accusations from Joe Haines, that Wilson asked him to read the files in order to gather information that could be used to smear Thorpe.
According to an article at Wikipedia:
At the time, the general view, promoted in particular by Private Eye, was that Wilson was using his position and influence to help and protect Thorpe and certainly not to smear him.
In a BBC2 documentary on 16 March 2006, Penrose revealed that he pursued or stumbled on the murder allegations in the course of following leads from Harold Wilson, who wanted to prompt an investigation into the role of security services in destabilizing his government.
The documentary suggested that Wilson's original perception and intention was to help rather than undermine Thorpe, believing that he was also an intended victim of a right-wing plot by a rogue element in MI5.