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The day our political class lost all sense of shame…

John ProfumoBy Simon Heffer, Mailonline

A glance at today’s political class makes us see all too clearly that the concept of shame has almost disappeared from public life.

Men who have lied to the House of Commons still sit there, some in very senior positions. Peers imprisoned for fraud blithely return to the House of Lords after being released from jail.

Some MPs still draw parliamentary salaries despite having deceitfully fiddled their expenses. One such miscreant, Lib Dem David Laws, even attends Cabinet meetings.

If I was to identify the moment the rot set in, I would go back to an event that ‘celebrates’ — if that’s the word — its 50th anniversary this year.

I am referring to the Profumo scandal of 1963, which changed the nature of British public life for ever.

Rumours had circulated around Westminster about an affair between War Minister John Profumo and Christine Keeler, a call-girl who had also slept with a Soviet naval attaché.

The gossip was fed by a group of Labour MPs who had spotted a golden opportunity, at the height of the Cold War, to embarrass and weaken an already troubled government.

This rabble, though, showed the symptoms of decline, too. For example, Labour MP George Wigg, who helped bring down Profumo, was caught kerb-crawling.

By March 1963, the rumours about Profumo had become so destabilising that he was forced to make a Commons statement.

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