Abstract

Although the Belcher affair was one of the biggest cases of political corruption in twentieth‐century Britain, the scandal and resultant judicial inquiry have received little attention in political histories of the 1940s due to their lack of electoral impact. This outcome was not apparent to contemporary political commentators. The allegations were serious and elements of the Conservative Party were willing to use them to smear the Labour government. The government successfully defused the scandal by appointing a judicial inquiry to investigate the allegations. They hoped this would dispel rumours of widespread corruption. However, it had the unintended effect of scotching public debate. The allegations became sub judice, hindering the activities of the scandalmongers. Tedious press coverage of the tribunal hearings bored many voters, who interpreted the scandal in line with their existing beliefs.

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