Jonathan Aitken
Conservative Member of Parliament
Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan William Patrick Aitken is a former Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom for 24 years, and a former British government Cabinet minister. He was convicted of perjury in 1999 and received an 18-month prison sentence, of which he served seven months. He is currently president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
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Jonathan Aitken shocked by a murder in Mayfair -
Google News - almost 4 years Jonathan Aitken shocked by a murder in Mayfair To Jonathan Aitken, the former cabinet minister, the discovery of a man who had been bludgeoned to death in a Mayfair flat marked the final chapter in one of the most gilded romances of the last century. “It is a tragedy,” Aiken said when Mandrake informed ... Socialite, 63, found murdered in his £2m Mayfair home: Victim discovered in a ...Daily Mail American socialite Robert Troyan found beaten to deathThe Guardian Manhunt after socialite is found battered to death in Mayfair flatEvening Standard -BBC News -The Times (subscription) all 17 news articles »
Article Link:
Google News article
How do you deal with public disgrace? | Jonathan Aitken and Conrad Black
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Ex-cons Conrad Black and Jonathan Aitken both know what it's like to fall from the pinnacle of the British establishment. Here they swap stories about life behind bars Former Conservative cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was convicted in 1999 of perjury and perverting the course of justice and served seven months in jail. Conrad Black, who once owned the Telegraph and has a seat in the House of Lords, was released from a US prison this year after serving time for fraud and obstruction of justice. This week they met to compare experiences. Susanna Rustin listened in. Jonathan Aitken: Anyone who's been through the experience of incarceration as a high-profile prisoner faces special challenges. One way to succeed is to go with the flow and find a way of getting on with the guys you are in with. Conrad Black: In the US system, 97% of prosecutions end in guilty pleas and 85% of cases that go to trial are convictions. There's huge resentment of such an over-mighty prosecution system and ...
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Guardian (UK) article
WATCH: Scenes From Stillman's Damsels In Distress Become Aitken's 'Weekend Lover' Music Video
Movie Line - over 4 years
Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress is about to get some additional international mileage thanks to the release of the  official video for Victoria Aitken's "Weekend Lover."  The video for the song — whic hit No. 10 on the U.K. dance charts and is now catching fire in Germany — is composed entirely of scenes from Stillman's movie about a group of trend-setting women (led by Greta Gerwig) at a boorish East-coast college whose romantic entanglements upend their friendship and their lives. ("Weekend Lover" is featured on the soundtrack of  Damsels in Distress, which was released on DVD at the end of July.) "It's weird how the story I tell in my song fits his film almost exactly," Aitken told Movieline. "My song is about me as a damsel in distress." The singer/songwriter, who is the daughter of former Conservative British Parliament member Jonathan Aitken,  wrote the track after a phone call with "You're Beautiful" singer James Blunt during which she complained about the state of her l ...
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Movie Line article
Daughter of ex-UK minister living like Sikh warrior
The Times Of India - over 4 years
The daughter of former British minister Jonathan Aitken has swapped the world of nightclubs and parties for a simple life as a devout Sikh in Punjab.
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The Times Of India article
In Remembrance of a Lifelong Political Thug
The New Republic - almost 5 years
Almost thirty years ago, the Nixon revisionist Joan Hoff pronounced that Watergate was fast becoming a “dim and distant curiosity.” She couldn’t have been more wrong. Few people under the age of 50 are liable to get a reference to a “modified limited hang-out,” but Nixon’s gallery of White House horrors remains the benchmark against which presidential wrongdoing is measured. While anniversaries of lesser scandals like the Lewinsky affairs and even Iran-contra come and go with little attention from the news media, Watergate remembrances persist. One need only scan the obituary headlines in the New York Times:  October 8, 2011: “Kenneth H. Dahlberg, Link in the Watergate Chain, Dies at 94” March 27, 2011: “Henry S. Ruth, Who Helped Lead Watergate Prosecution, Dies at 80.” April 9, 2011: “Frank H. Strickler, Watergate Defense Lawyer, Dies at 92.”  “At death,” wrote Michael Schudson in his important 1992 book Watergate in American Memory, “everyone involved in Watergate is publicly ...
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The New Republic article
How C S Lewis prompted the conversion of Richard Nixon’s ‘hatchet man’
Catholic Herald - almost 5 years
At Sunday Mass yesterday in our parish the recessional hymn was written by G K Chesterton. For those who don’t know it I will just quote the first verse as, written in GKC’s inimitable brand of bold rhetoric, it seems apposite to our current political situation: O God of earth and altar Bow down and hear our cry Our earthly rulers falter Our people drift and die The walls of gold entomb us The swords of scorn divide Take not our thunder from us But take away our pride. You get his drift. One might comment that political rulers were ever thus. Yet Christians today are inclined more than ever to feel an isolated group within modern society. Some would say we are certainly suffering unfair discrimination while others, less sympathetic, think we are an aggrieved minority with a persecution mania. The final line of the hymn put me in mind of Charles “Chuck” Colson who died last Saturday, aged 80. A close associate of the late president Richard Nixon and known as his “hatchet man ...
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Catholic Herald article
On Chuck Colson: Can reporters see past Watergate?
Get Religion - almost 5 years
It’s pretty interesting to read the obituaries of Charles Colson by those who were alive during Watergate and those who weren’t. It’s clear that some reporters are stuck in the 1970s, apparently unaware of how the state of evangelicalism was shaped by Colson’s complex life and legacy. Colson’s rocky relationship with the media might have something with his life portrayal as reporters try to explain President Nixon’s “hatchet man” turned evangelical leader. Jonathan Aitken (who also wrote a tribute for Christianity Today) demonstrated in his biography Colson’s complex relationship with reporters, especially since his conversion was met with skepticism or cynicism. Colson Has Found Religion was the New York Times headline. The news media across the country followed suit. Columnists, editorial writers, and cartoonists had a field day of mockery. Syndicated columnist Harriet Van Horne caught the general mood when she wrote, “I cannot accept the sudden coming to Christ of Charles C ...
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Get Religion article
A Scottish tragedy - Red Pepper
Google News - over 5 years
Taking a libel case on the basis of a lie back-fires: look at Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken. If the SSP had backed Sheridan, they too would now be in prison for perjury and the SSP would be even more devastated than it is today
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Google News article
Blue-chip tenanted Heidelberg property on offer - SA Commercial Prop News (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Comments Jonathan Aitken of Auction Alliance, “On auction floors countrywide, we continue to experience a high demand for blue-chip tenanted properties in prime, high exposure locations”. Auction Alliance recently launched a state-of-the-art mobi site
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Google News article
Prime industrial opportunity on offer -
Google News - over 5 years
Comments Jonathan Aitken of Auction Alliance, “The facilities, size and easily accessible location of this prime industrial property, makes it a one of a kind investment opportunity for the owner occupier”. The auction takes place at 12pm on August 25
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Google News article
Attacking press freedom in the name of privacy - Spiked
Google News - over 5 years
New Labour was seen as simply capitalising on the rot at the heart of the then Conservative government, whose private failings were manifest in the libel and perjury trials of Tory minister Jonathan Aitken and the 'cash for questions' imbroglio of his
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Google News article
Matthew Norman: When celebrities swap jobs, career suicide ensues - The Independent
Google News - over 5 years
Also returning to public attention was Jonathan Aitken, who took space in The Times to laud the rehabilitative value of military jails. Fond as I am of the plucky born-again, in this context I'd rather read him on the importance of hands-on parenting
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Google News article
In his most riveting volume, political diarist Chris Mullin reveals what her ... - Daily Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Who would have guessed that this was a man who represented the party of Mohamed Al Fayed, Asil Nadir, Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken, to mention but a few? He will go far. [He did. He defected to Labour and was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary
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Google News article
The networker who made Champneys' name - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
Inglewood had been the scene of allegations, published in the Guardian six years earlier, that then defence minister Jonathan Aitken, a director of the spa, had tried to arrange girls for a Saudi prince and his entourage
Article Link:
Google News article
Guardian reporter admitted to phone hacking - Washington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Leigh's investigative work has led to the jailing of former British MP Jonathan Aitken and to the exposure of secret payments by defense and aerospace company BAE. Leigh is also a professor of reporting at City University in London
Article Link:
Google News article
Scott Van Wynsberghe: Britain's Official Secrets Act has taken a toll on ... - National Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
In 1971, journalist Jonathan Aitken obtained a report on British policy regarding the Nigerian Civil War and both he and the Sunday Telegraph newspaper were forced to battle OSA charges (and won). The real poster boy, however, was muckraker Duncan
Article Link:
Google News article
Getting out of prison is only the first step -
Google News - over 5 years
Most prisoners have problems to face after their release from jail. For those who have led their previous lives in the public eye, there are likely to be special difficulties. The release of the former Labour MP Jim Devine,
Article Link:
Google News article
The future of regulation after the PCC - The Guardian (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
He cites a famous Guardian case in which a "cod fax" on House of Commons paper that was sent to the Paris Ritz (with the knowledge of its owner) was used to find out who had paid for a stay by the former MP Jonathan Aitken as part of an investigation
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Google News article
Retail Property in Orange Grove up for auction -
Google News - over 5 years
Comments Jonathan Aitken of Auction Alliance, “This property represents a prime example of the retail properties that are currently so sought after amongst investors, due to its high visibility location along the busy Louis Botha Avenue”
Article Link:
Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jonathan Aitken
  • 2013
    Age 70
    Aitken published a book of personal recollections of Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality, after her death in 2013.
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  • 2009
    Age 66
    In 2009 Aitken published a biography of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev (Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan: From Communism to Capitalism), with his subject's cooperation.
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  • 2007
    Age 64
    Aitken has written several Christian religious books since his release from prison. Aitken has published two books of prayers, Prayers for People under Pressure (2006) and Psalms for People Under Pressure (2004), and wrote a biography of the English slaver and Anglican clergyman John Newton, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace in 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Aitken has written several biographies of political figures, including the President of the United States Richard Nixon (Nixon: A Life, 1996), and Nixon's co-conspirator in the Watergate scandal, Charles Colson (Charles W. Colson: A Life Redeemed, 2005). Colson had assisted Aitken in his biography of Nixon, and had later corresponded with Aitken urging him to repent in the wake of the Guardian libel case.
    In November 2007, with the approval of senior members of the Shadow Cabinet, he took charge of a task force on prison reform within Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice to help formulate Conservative policy.
    More Details Hide Details Aitken stated this was not part of a political comeback. Conservative spokesmen pointed out that the task force is independent of the party, even though the organisation is run by Iain Duncan Smith, who is a former Tory leader. The report Locked Up Potential: A Strategy to Reform our Prisons and Rehabilitate our Prisoners was published in March 2009. Jonathan Aitken is currently the honorary president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and is a Christian writer. In his early book The Young Meteors (London: Secker & Warburg, 1967; New York: Atheneum, 1967), Aitken profiled the brightest lights among the younger generation in Britain, and particularly London, with a hint in the title that many of these were likely to burn and crash. Hunter Davies, one of the people profiled, has pointed out that such lists of the promising were then common in the Sunday Times, but unusual as books. Much later, Craig Taylor observed that those profiled who were still burning brightly included Michael Caine, David Bailey, Twiggy, David Frost and Don McCullin. Taylor found it humdrum, but:
  • 2006
    Age 63
    In 2006 Aitken became honorary president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
    More Details Hide Details On Sunday 13 July 2008, he gave a sermon at King's Church International in Windsor entitled "Finding God in the Depths". Senior Pastor Wes Richards introduced his coming as a great privilege and described Aitken as a friend both to himself and the church.
  • 2004
    Age 61
    On 2 October 2004, Aitken attended the (UKIP) conference and re-iterated his support for the party.
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    Aitken later declared his support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) a week before the party's strong performance in the 2004 European elections.
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    In early 2004, some constituency party members in Aitken's former seat of South Thanet proposed that he should return as Conservative candidate for the seat.
    More Details Hide Details This was vetoed by Conservative Party leader Michael Howard. Aitken later confirmed that he would not attempt a return to Parliament, saying that "the leader has spoken. I accept his judgement with good grace." He denied rumours he was to stand as an independent candidate insisting that he was not a "spoiler".
  • 1999
    Age 56
    After being imprisoned in 1999, he began to study the Bible, learned Greek, and became a student of Christian theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
    More Details Hide Details This part of his life is covered in two autobiographical works called Pride and Perjury and Porridge and Passion. Aitken's claim that he had found God initially met with some scepticism, The Guardian might insist that Aitken demonstrate the sincerity of repentance by repaying the whopping legal bill of one-and-half-million pounds he landed on them by his dishonest libel action. He was allowed to drop the case on promising to pay costs, but then escaped from the liability when he declared himself bankrupt and revealed that most of his apparent assets turn out to be conveniently owned by other people. The Guardian still believe he has more resources than he will admit. He said that he would not become a vicar because he is not worthy of the office and "wouldn't like to give dog-collars a bad name".
  • 1997
    Age 54
    Aitken attended the Alpha Course in 1997, which he claims stirred his interest in Christianity.
    More Details Hide Details He attended the course on further occasions prior to imprisonment.
    The World in Action film, Jonathan of Arabia, went ahead and Aitken carried out his threat to sue. The action collapsed in June 1997 (a month after he had lost his seat in the 1997 General Election) when the Guardian and Granada produced, via their counsel George Carman QC, evidence countering his claim that his wife, Lolicia Aitken, paid for the hotel stay at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
    More Details Hide Details The evidence consisted of airline vouchers and other documents showing that his wife had, in fact, been in Switzerland at the time when she had allegedly been at the Ritz in Paris. The joint Guardian/Granada investigation indicated an arms deal scam involving Aitken's friend and business partner, the Lebanese businessman Mohammed Said Ayas, a close associate of Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia. It was alleged that Aitken had been prepared to have his teenage daughter Victoria lie under oath to support his version of events, had the case continued. A few days after the libel case collapsed, World in Action broadcast a special edition, which echoed Aitken's "sword of truth" speech. It was entitled The Dagger of Deceit. During this time it emerged that when Aitken was being encouraged to resign, he was chairman of the secretive right wing think-tank Le Cercle, alleged by Alan Clark to be funded by the CIA.
  • 1995
    Age 52
    In 1995 a Commons motion showed that while a Cabinet minister he had signed a controversial Public Interest Immunity Certificate (PIIC) in September 1992 relating to the Matrix Churchill trial, and that the 'gagged' documents included ones relating to the supply of arms to Iraq by BMARC for a period when he was a director of the company.
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    On 10 April 1995, The Guardian carried a front-page report on Aitken's dealings with leading Saudis.
    More Details Hide Details The story was the result of a long investigation carried out by journalists from the newspaper and from Granada TV's World in Action programme. Aitken had called a press conference at the Conservative Party offices in Smith Square, London, at 5 p.m. that same day denouncing the claims and demanding that the World in Action documentary, which was due to be screened three hours later, withdraw them. He notoriously said:
  • 1994
    Age 51
    He became Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1994, a Cabinet position, but resigned in 1995 following the allegations that he had violated ministerial rules.
    More Details Hide Details He was defeated in the 1997 election. Within a year he had been appointed as a representative for the arms company GEC-Marconi (part of BAE Systems since November 1999).
  • 1993
    Age 50
    In 1993 Aitken published a favourable biography, Nixon: A Life, of former US President Richard Nixon.
    More Details Hide Details Although his was not an authorised biography, Aitken was one of the few biographers from whom Nixon accepted questions and to whom he granted interviews.
  • 1988
    Age 45
    Aitken had previously been a director of BMARC, an arms exporter, from 1988 to 1990.
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  • 1987
    Age 44
    This matter raged full of controversy throughout the 1980s, and led to Wright eventually publishing his own best-selling book Spycatcher in 1987, despite the government's prolonged and bitter court attempts to stop him in Australia from doing so.
    More Details Hide Details Aitken became Minister of State for Defence Procurement under PM John Major in 1992. He was later accused of violating ministerial rules by allowing an Arab businessman to pay for his stay in the Paris Ritz, perjured himself and was jailed (see below).
  • 1981
    Age 38
    Espionage historian Chapman Pincher obtained a copy of the letter, and used former MI5 officers Peter Wright and Arthur Martin as his main additional secret sources, to write the sensational book Their Trade is Treachery in 1981.
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  • 1980
    Age 37
    Aitken wrote a highly confidential letter to Thatcher in early 1980, dealing with allegations that the former Director-General of MI5, Sir Roger Hollis, had been a double agent also working for the Soviet Union.
    More Details Hide Details This information had come to Aitken from retired CIA spymaster James Angleton.
  • 1979
    Age 36
    In 1979, Aitken married Lolicia Olivera Azucki, a daughter of O. Azucki of Zurich, Switzerland; they divorced in 1998.
    More Details Hide Details With his first wife, he had twin daughters and one son, Alexandra and Victoria Aitken, and William Aitken respectively. In 1999, DNA testing confirmed that Petrina Khashoggi, putative daughter of billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, was Aitken's biological child, the result of an affair with Khashoggi's then-wife Soraya (née Sandra Daly). He married his second wife, the Hon. Elizabeth Harris, daughter of David Rees-Williams, 1st Baron Ogmore, TD, PC, in June 2003. Aitken was born in Dublin, Ireland. His grandfather Lord Rugby was in 1939 the first British representative to the newly independent Irish state, at a time when Anglo-Irish relations were strained but improving.
  • 1970
    Age 27
    In 1970 Aitken was acquitted at the Old Bailey for breaching section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, when he photocopied a report about the British government's supply of arms to Nigeria, and sent a copy to The Sunday Telegraph and to Hugh Fraser, a pro-Biafran (Nigerian Civil War) Tory MP.
    More Details Hide Details As a result of the case he was dropped as the Conservative candidate for the Thirsk and Malton parliamentary constituency.
  • 1968
    Age 25
    He was also a journalist at Yorkshire Television from 1968 to 1970, presenting the regional news show Calendar.
    More Details Hide Details Aitken was the first person to be seen on screen from Yorkshire Television when it started broadcasting.
  • 1966
    Age 23
    Having been defeated at Meriden in 1966, he was elected as MP for Thanet East in the February 1974 general election; from 1983 he sat for South Thanet.
    More Details Hide Details He managed to offend PM Margaret Thatcher by ending a relationship with her daughter, Carol Thatcher, and suggesting that Thatcher "probably thinks Sinai is the plural of Sinus" to an Egyptian newspaper. He stayed on the backbenches throughout Thatcher's premiership, as well as participating in the re-launch of TV-AM, when broadcaster Anna Ford threw her wine at him to express her outrage at both his behaviour and the unwelcome consequent transformation of the TV station.
    He served as a war correspondent during the 1960s in Vietnam and Biafra, and gained a reputation for risk-taking when he took LSD in 1966 as an experiment for an article in the London Evening Standard and had a bad trip "..
    More Details Hide Details this drug needs police, the Home Office and a dictator to stamp it out "
  • 1942
    Aitken's baptism took place on 16 October 1942 at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, an Anglican church, at which he was named "Jonathan William Patrick Aitken".
    More Details Hide Details The third name, "Patrick", was included at a late stage owing to the unexpected international importance of the occasion –- one of the Irish papers reported "British envoy's grandson is a real Paddy". The Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, who knew his grandparents, asked to attend the christening and his presence at the baptism was symbolic of improving Anglo-Irish relations. Also attending was Princess Juliana (later to become Queen Juliana of the Netherlands) as his godmother. Aitken contracted tuberculosis, and at four years of age was admitted to Cappagh Hospital, Dublin where he was an inpatient on a TB ward for more than three years, being cared for and educated by Catholic nuns. His father was severely injured as an RAF pilot when his Spitfire was shot down in World War II. Aitken recovered and was discharged from the hospital aged seven. He lived with his parents at Halesworth, Suffolk, and learnt to walk properly again within a few months.
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