John Stonehouse

John Stonehouse

Former Minister of Technology and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications in Harold Wilson's Labor government, collaborated with Czechoslovak intelligence
Date of Birth: 28.07.1925
Country: Great Britain

Biography of John Stonehouse

John Thomson Stonehouse was born in England in 1925. His mother was a prominent political figure, so it was not surprising that at the age of 16, John joined the Labour Party. After completing his studies at Taunton College in Southampton, he went on to attend the London School of Economics. Following his graduation, he worked for the British company London Co-operative Society in Uganda. He eventually became the director and later the president of the company.

John Stonehouse

In the late 1950s, Stonehouse was elected to Parliament, and his political career in Harold Wilson's government was much more successful than his business endeavors. By the late 1950s, Stonehouse had become the Minister of Aviation, and in 1967, he held the positions of Minister of Technology and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications in the British Labour government. During this time, Stonehouse was married to Barbara Smith, with whom he had two children.

In 1970, Stonehouse lost his ministerial seat after the Labour Party's defeat in the general elections. He attempted various business ventures, but they all failed, leading him to accumulate unpaid taxes and debts. Feeling cornered, Stonehouse came up with an unconventional plan. In 1974, he staged his own death and fled to Australia, accompanied by his loyal secretary and lover, Sheila Buckley. However, the ruse was soon uncovered, and he was arrested in Melbourne and held in custody for six months.

Despite seeking political asylum in various countries, Stonehouse was extradited back to the United Kingdom, where he received a seven-year prison sentence for fraud and deception. He served his sentence in Brixton Prison but was granted amnesty in 1979 due to his deteriorating health. Stonehouse had experienced three heart attacks and even the relatively milder conditions of Blundeston Prison, where he was transferred, did not improve his health. By this time, his wife had already divorced him.

In 1981, Sheila Buckley, who had been with him throughout all his adventures, and John Stonehouse got married. They had a son together. After unsuccessful attempts at business and politics, Stonehouse turned to writing. During his lifetime, he published three books, and another was released posthumously. He was also invited to appear on television programs discussing his mysterious disappearance in 1974.

John Stonehouse passed away on April 14, 1988, at the age of 62, due to a heart attack. After his death, his name resurfaced in investigations conducted by the British security service. In Christopher Andrew's book, Stonehouse is accused of collaborating with the Czechoslovak intelligence service in the 1960s. Alongside him, another Labour politician, Will Owen, and Member of Parliament Bob Edwards were also implicated in espionage activities, with Edwards collaborating with the Soviet KGB. The suspicions of espionage were based on the confession of a Czechoslovak defector in the late 1960s, who revealed information about Stonehouse's spying activities. However, at that time, the British security service failed to prove his guilt effectively. The author of the book claims that during that period, the British security service struggled to effectively combat Soviet spies, and many espionage cases remained unproven.