“Heseltine is too old, Clarke is too cavalier and Portillo is too ridiculous: So who will succeed John Major? Step forward Jonathan Aitken... the only Cabinet Minister who hasn’t a single enemy” The London Daily Mail on Sunday 29th January 1995.
“If it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play, so be it.” Jonathan Aitken launching his libel action in 1997.
In recent times no politician fell further than Jonathan Aitken. The high flier who had it all — talent, riches and good looks — fell on his ‘sword of truth’ when he sued over allegations of improprieties whilst he was Minister for Defence Procurement.
Oxford educated, Jonathan Aitken started his career as a Fleet Street journalist in the 1960s serving as a war correspondent in Vietnam, Biafra and the Middle East.
In 1974 he became a Conservative Member of Parliament spending 18 years on the backbenches until being appointed as Minister of State for Defence in 1992. He joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1994. His shock resignation in 1995 followed media allegations of sleaze in the final months of the Tory government. After a well-publicised court case he pleaded guilty to perjury and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
Jonathan has chaired many Parliamentary committees and business groups including The British Saudi Arabian Parliamentary Group. His success in commercial life saw him appointed Chief Executive of TV-Am and Chairman of Aitken Hume Plc, the banking and investment group.
A best selling author his books include Nixon: A Life and Pride and Perjury, the former awarded the International Churchill Society Prize for political biography.
Now reading for a theology degree at Wycliffe College Oxford he is a regular contributor to TV radio and newspapers, is writing a biography and has just completed his first novel. He is a Director of Prison Fellowship International and regularly visits prisons to talk to inmates.