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Queen of spads. Book Review by Quentin Letts

Books | By Quentin Letts

‘A schoolmistress with an errant pupil’: Lady Falkender and Harold Wilson. By Gary Wing

Marcia Williams: The Life and Times of Baroness Falkender

Linda McDougall

Biteback Publishing £25

Fifty-nine years ago, long before Dominic Cummings was even born, there was a political adviser at 10 Downing Street who effed and blinded at the Prime Minister and threatened to topple him unless she had her way. That aide was Marcia Williams. The Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was beholden to her in part because he and mercurial Marcia had been lovers. Say what you like about Cummings; he never did that with Boris. Williams, best remembered for drafting the ‘Lavender List’ of Wilson’s resignation honours, was a speck of stardust in the grimy Wilson years. Much of that era’s politics now looks monochrome: jowly, oily-fringed men who smoked too much and seemed permanently exhausted. Amid it all stands Marcia, sometimes in the background at campaign events, sometimes looming over Wilson at his desk, a schoolmistress with an errant pupil. With her high blonde hairdo, prune-chinned pout, angular nose and a...


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