When the first discussions about whether to decriminalize gay sex in the UK reached the cabinet, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister.
His words at that meeting set in motion the creation of the Wolfenden Report – a government sanctioned investigation into homosexuality. This would eventually lead to the partial decriminalization of gay sex.
But the Prime Minister did this at a time when LGBTI lives were totally closeted. And while leading the right-wing Conservative party.
So did he simply hold liberal views, or was he leading a secret double life?
Churchill’s first recorded brush with homosexuality happened when he was 21.
In 1895, as a young cavalry officer, he faced accusations of committing ‘acts of gross immorality of the Oscar Wilde type’ with fellow cadets at Sandhurst.
Sandhurst was as much a British institution then as it is today. It was the training ground for British Army officers who controlled the empire. More recently, modern day Princes William and Harry both trained at Sandhurst.
Churchill successfully sued the accuser for defamation being awarded £400 in damages.
But this story leads historian Micheal Bloch to describe him as ‘far from being straightforwardly heterosexual.’
‘Makes you proud to be British’
Bloch’s book Closet Queens explores a history of sex and secrecy in the UK’s corridors of power. In it, he details many examples of Churchill’s liberal views.
‘There is a famous story that when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, he was woken one freezing February morning by a Downing Street aide bearing the shocking news that a male Tory MP had been caught having sex with a naked guardsman in St James’s Park.
‘Noting that it had been the coldest night of the winter, Churchill is said to have remarked: “Makes you proud to be British.”‘
The Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn went on to say about this story that ‘even if this wonderful anecdote isn’t true, it ought to be.’
Churchill often made quick-witted one-liners like this. But even if we can’t be sure this story is true, we do know from the National Archives about his remarks at that all-important cabinet meeting.
How Churchill changed gay rights in the UK forever
After World War II there was an increase in arrests and prosecutions of gay men. Churchill, who had been beaten in an election immediately after the war, was now back in power. But the General Election of 1951 gave him only the slimmest of majorities in parliament.
By the end of 1954, in England and Wales, there were 1,069 men in prison for homosexual acts.
This prompted a UK cabinet discussion of the matter. The meeting considered whether the best way to stop the rise in prosecutions was simply to decriminalize homosexuality.
As Prime Minister, Churchill chaired that meeting. And in it he quite bluntly states, the Tory party would not accept responsibility for making the law more lenient towards gay men. He felt it was simply not the time.
How many Ex Prime Ministers we at now? #VIPaedo
WINSTON boy buggering CHURCHILL
TED paedo-satanist HEATH ~ COUNTLESS
DAVID pigboy CAMERON ~ LOVES A GOOD PAEDO. Just ask Pat Rock
#MaggieThatcher ~ ELEVEN CONSECUTIVE NEW YRS EVE SPENT WITH SAVILE & THERE IS A BRAVE SURVIVOR SPEAKING OUT.
GORDON Bug Eyed BROWN ~ PIE & 2 “INCIDENTS” of child rape
TONY miranda BLAIR ~ TWO convictions for cottaging 1974 & 1983 subject to D-notice
JUST WAIT until people realise that AT LEAST three consecutive Prime Ministers ALL had a child die whilst they were in office
Cause MAYBE then people will see the truth
1. TONY BLAIR ~ His wife/witch miscarried.
2. DAVID CAMERON ~ Ivan
3. GORDON BROWN ~ Jenny