MP Was Soviet Spy 


The MP for Totnes for nearly three decades, Raymond Mawby was a dedicated conservative, but was in fact selling out his country to the Soviet Bloc.
Codenamed “Laval”, new papers unearthed in Prague have conformed information originally given by Czech defector Joseph Frolic that the working-class born politician spied for the Czech secret services providing them with reams of sensitive political information including a hand drawn floor plan of the prime minister’s office, which resulted in Mawby being asked to stand down in 1983.
The new revelations from the Czech Security Services archive shine a new spotlight on how Communist spy agencies looked to recruit British parliamentarians. It has long been known that the Czechs had proven themselves adept at turning Labour politicians, who were politically closer aligned to them, in particular several people Close to Harold Wilson, but this is the first time proof has been unearthed of Prague successfully getting a grip on a Conservative politician.
The taxi drivers who worked the Houses of Parliament would note where they were taking top politicians, and anything like mistresses gambling houses or brothels, could earn them a fat tip from foreign intel operatives.
The brothel madam Lindie St Clair told special branch back in the late seventies of several prominent politicians using her girls,and nothing was done.
According to the files, Czech spies approached Mawby in November 1960 at a cocktail party and persuaded him to begin supplying political gossip on a regular basis for cash payments. He was known to be a gambler and the spies hoped they could exploit that particular weakness. “His leisure time he spends in bars…and also loves gambling,” an anonymous handler writes at one point in the case notes. “While playing roulette and other games he is willing to accept a monetary ‘loan’ which was exploited twice.”
To begin with the Czechs played Mawby cautiously, the way Soviet bloc handlers taught them to, by asking him for relatively unhelpful gossip on trade unions before demanding that he start supplying more sensitive information. Each time he handed over details he was paid £100 – a handsome regular income on the side at a time when the annual MP’s salary was around £3,200. “Mawby has also promised to carry out tasks such as asking questions in Parliament according to our needs,” one Czech handler wrote in a plan on how to use him in 1962.
He also supplied information on the sex lives of prominent people, such as Edward Heaths liking for young boys, this caused the Metropolitan police to warn Heath on 4 occasions not to try and pick up men in public lavatories, and information on a prominent politician who attended Cynthia Paynes spanking parties.
The Czech defector Frantisek August also told of MP John Stonehouse being in the grip of the Czech intel, who were corrupting the mail system and looking to destabilise Britains armed forces and the relations with the USA.
The relationship had become so lucrative for Prague that their spies began to worry when Mawby was promoted to become a junior minister in 1963. The new job meant an extra £2,000 to his salary, but he had no choice and Mawby continued to supply data.
Following a meeting in November 1965 Mawby handed over a piece of paper with the names of three new officials on the Conservative Party. His handlers asked him for more information, including a floor plan of the Prime Minister’s office at Number Ten for possible bugging.
The sketch which accompanies the spy’s note is crudely drawn showing doorways, desks and corridors surrounding the PM’s offices, its possible that the spy agency was hoping to install bugs or wires in the office.
Mawby’s relationship with the Czech spy service appeared to continue up until November 1971 when his file closed. Two months earlier Britain expelled more than 100 Soviet diplomats from London on a clampdown on Russian intelligence assets, who were at that time targeting industrial unrest and looking to break the strong bonds with the USA; also revealed by the Czech defectors were a prominent member of the church and a newspaper editor also on the take.
T Stokes London

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