Alan Judd

Secrets & Lies

Spymaster: The Life of Britain’s Most Decorated Cold War Spy and Head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield

By Martin Pearce

Bantam Press 382pp £20 order from our bookshop

Maurice Oldfield was chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) from 1973 to 1978. Summoned from retirement by Margaret Thatcher to become security coordinator in Northern Ireland, he served only briefly before retiring once more due to ill health in 1980. He died, aged sixty-five, the following year. Subsequently, in 1987, Thatcher told Parliament that his positive vetting clearance had been withdrawn at the time of his final retirement following his confession that he had ‘from time to time engaged in homosexual activities’. There was no suggestion that security had been compromised.

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