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Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy. EXCLUSIVE: Who caught Harold Wilson kissing Janet Hewlett-Davies? It was Lord Butler

Blog | By Amelia Milne | Jun 12, 2024

Linda McDougall, widow of MP Austin Mitchell, revealed to The Oldie Literary Lunch in Salisbury on the 11th June, who had seen Harold Wilson kissing Janet Hewlett-Davies - 'it was Lord Robin Butler!' she revealed.

This news is such an exclusive that it hasn't made Linda's hardback, Marcia Williams: The Life of Baroness Falkender. Linda will add this information into her paperback version coming out in a few weeks time.

We were all ears.

When the story leaked to The Times that Harold Wilson, aged 59 at the time and in his last year in parliament, had not only had an affair with Marcia Williams in the press office, but also with Janet Hewlett-Davies. Linda was horrified. Was this story true? 'I was flabbergasted' I thought 'what are they doing to me?' said Linda.

Janet Hewlett-Davies was in the Press Office as an assistant to Joe Haines. Joe Haines is now 96 and Lord Bernard Donahue is 88 - they really controlled the history of that period. Bernard, because he wrote really good diaries and Joe because he wrote about everything else, particularly about scandal. But how did Linda find out that this story was true and not a spicy yarn, made up by two old men?

Linda went to a book launch and bumped into someone knew who had seen the embrace- none other than a friend of Linda's - Lord Butler. Linda went round to see him immediately.

Lord Butler revealed, one night he was in the office working on something very late, and popped round to Joe Haines's office - but, what did he see next? It was Harold Wilson and Janet Hewlett Davies wrapped around each other. 'I was 32 years old and I was very shocked as a young married man' said Butler to Linda. Butler went on to confess:

'I hope they didn't see me but I know they did.'

Butler has kept this secret until now, and felt okay to leak the story now Janet Hewlett-Davies was dead since last year.

'Are you sure, it wasn't just a fumble?' asked Linda.

'No, No - It was very serious'.

Is this important for British history? You can decide, but all will be revealed in Linda's paperback version coming soon.

Photo of Linda McDougall by Neil Spence Photography