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Saturday, 14 January 2012

John Stonehouse MP - Czechoslovakia Secret Service - Communist Agent

British MP John Stonehouse
John Stonehouse was a British politician who caused great controversy during the early 1970s. He was born in Southampton in 1925 and died of a fourth heart attack in 1988 at the age of sixty two. His life was one of great intrigue because people believed that this Member of Parliament committed suicide in Miami USA when his clothes were found on a beach. This was in the year of 1974. What the public did not know, at the time, was what really surrounded John Stonehouse’s life.

There is a novel called ‘The Perfect Spy.’ in which there is a British character that I think is a little like John Stonehouse – very loosely of course, and I wonder if some of Mister Stonehouse’s antics might have been viewed by writer John Le Carre in shaping this very fine spy story.

It later transpired that John Stonehouse had been under increasing financial pressure because of failed business ventures and his cooking of business accounts. He was under investigation by UK fraud organisations so he transferred large sums of money and faked his suicide and assumed a new identity. With this new identity, he fled to Australia to start a new life with his secretary, Sheila Buckley.

It is believed that during the late sixties British and American Secret Services became suspicious that John Stonehouse was recruited by the StB (Czechoslovakia Secret Service)

In other words, John Stonehouse was suspected of being a Communist field agent for the Iron Curtain. He was brought before a commission but was able to successfully defend himself. In this time there was great concern that the Labour government had been infiltrated by KGB and some people of MI5 suspected Prime Minister Harold Wilson of being KGB. I’m sure this is laughable now, but there seems to have been some inroads made by Communist secret services into the British establishment and John Stonehouse with the Czech StB seems to have been believed later – long after his death and the dust had settled among the British public.

In 1980, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was believed to have agreed to a cover up concerning John Stonehouse’s espionage activity for the Czech secret Service who had recruited him by 1960.

If John Stonehouse had been questioned in 1969 and he had been able to evade conviction; he must have realised the wolves were closing in and it was time to flee. On Christmas Eve 1974, Australian police arrest Clive Mildoon (AKA - John Stonehouse,) believing he might have been Lord Lucan, another famous British fugitive that was never found. Instead they discovered that it was, the presumed dead British MP, John Stonehouse.

He was extradited back to the UK – still a Member of Parliament to face trial. His shocked wife and three children must have been very traumatised by all of this. He was not put on trial for being a Czech agent, but for fraud, theft and forgery and conspiracy to defraud. He was convicted and given seven years in prison. His health deteriorated during this time and he suffered three heart attacks and had to undergo open heart surgery. He was released in 1979 and worked for an East London charity. In 1981, he married his Mistress Sheila Buckley. His wife had divorced him while in prison.


John Stonehouse and Sheila Buckley after prison sentance

After his release, he had television appearances and gave interviews concerning his faked suicide, but revelations about his espionage past did not become public until 2010, twenty two years after he had died of a fourth heart attack in 1988.




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