H. Montgomery Hyde, the Ulster Unionist MP (Part 2)

 

He was called to the Bar in 1934 working in London and the North East circuit. His first salaried employment was with the 7th Marquess of Londonderry whose wife Edith was a famous London political hostesSeand whose influence on Ramsay MacDonald was held by some to be suspect. From 1935-9, Hyde was librarian and Private Secretary to the Marquess [1] in his appeasement’ period, hired specifically to research the family paperSeand write its history. His works on the family included Londonderry House and its pictures (1937), The Rise of Lord Castlereagh [i] a book which remains very highly regarded, and The Londonderrys: A Family Portrait.

Lord Londonderry had been a Northern Ireland Education Minister in the 1920s, famous for trying to integrate schooling. He was later Air Minister in the MacDonald and Baldwin cabinets, and who, against the progressive or parsimonious view, heightened the RAF’s budget and encouraged the early development of radar and the Spitfire. He built the airport in Newtownards near his family seat. Hyde always defended Londonderry whose entertainment of Ribbentrop [2] at Mount Stewart and his meeting with Hitler haunted him politically until his death.

In 1939, Hyde married Dorothy Mabel Crofts from Cheshire, an artist and linguist, later a vendeuse running a fashion shop in London. The Dublin raconteur and Senator, Oliver St John Gogarty proposed the toast at the London wedding.

Lt. Col. Hyde, as he became, and was so addressed throughout most of his parliamentary career, had a good war, mostly in intelligence but he continued writing and publishing. He first served aSean Assistant Censor in Gibraltar in 1940, was then commissioned in the intelligence corpSeand engaged in counter-espionage work in the United States under Sir William Stephenson, Director of British Security Co-ordination in the Western Hemisphere. [ii] He was also Military Liaison and Security Officer, Bermuda from 1940 to 1941 and Assistant Passport Control Officer in New York from 1941 to 1942. He was with British Army Staff, USA from 1942 to 1944, attached to the Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Force in 1944, and then seconded to the Allied Commission for Austria until 1945. After the war, he became assistant Editor of the Law Reports until 1947 and was legal adviser to the British Lion Film Corporation, then managed by Alexander Korda, up to 1949. And in 1948 he published The Trials of Oscar Wilde, a precursor of three more Wilde books. [3]

The background to Hyde’s political career in Northern Ireland is that Ulster Unionist MPs took the Conservative whip at Westminster, tended to be aristocratic, officer class or barristers, and were largely left to their own devices. Prior to the 1972 reform, key power and patronage was at local government level, particularly Belfast Corporation and not at Stormont. The Unionist Party was a Protestant all-class alliance, more of a movement than a party. It had started as something of a broad church but was ossifying by the 1950Seand was no longer representative, although it remained hyper-democratic in structure.

The British Labour Party had declined to take members in Northern Ireland or organise there since 1918 so the Ulster Unionist Labour Association and the Communist Party seized the Labour franchise, leaving no outlet for genuine progressiveSeand trade unionists, Protestants in particular, to this day. And no purpose in politics except sectarianism.

Hyde had planned a parliamentary career since the 1930Seand actively scouted for seats however the war intervened, postponing an election until 1945. He then applied for the South Belfast Unionist candidature and was unfortunate enough to miss the nomination by one vote. Five years later, North Belfast was to select him. [iii] He could have expected to hold his seat for a quarter of a century or more. In the event, he represented the constituency for just nine years. His maiden speech was on the uncontentious subject of the unenforceability of Northern Ireland maintenance orders [4] in Great Britain, and the consequent problem of border hopping husbands.

He was a UK Delegate to the Council of Europe Consultative Assembly in Strasbourg from 1952 to 1955, majoring on simplifying European visa and border controls. He was also an incessant traveller, a visit in 1958 to East Germany and Czechoslovakia getting him into difficulty with political exiles when he lamely defended himself saying, there are terrible things going on. Cultural matters are a safe subject in common.

In 1954, as the foremost author on the subject, he presided over the unveiling of a London County Council plaque to Oscar Wilde at his home in Tite Street in Chelsea. In 1956 he argued successfully for the preservation in legislation of Trinity College Dublin’s copyright library status. During the 1950s, he wrote a regular column in the Empire News and Sunday Chronicle newspapers, and much other journalism. [iv]

Contrary to concerns expressed at home, he did involve himself in Northern Ireland affairs, despite properly realising he was sent to Westminster, to be a United Kingdom MP. In the economy debate on the Queen’s speech on 12 November 1957, Hyde managed a rare break in the convention that the province’s internal affairs were not discussed in the House of Commons, which ban was due to the existence of a parliament at Stormont in Belfast.

In the section on productivity, he drew attention to Ulster industry’s difficulties, which he said were not least due to the credit squeeze and the fact that overdraft rates are still higher in Northern Ireland than they are across the border in the Republic of Eire. This waSean issue remarkably similar to the current debate on corporation tax rate differentials, north and south. He also blamed a combination of civic disturbance and general economic problems, this being the second year of the IRA’s 1956-62 campaign pointing out there have been more than 200 incidents caused by illegal organisations resulting in damage in excess of 600,000. He alluded to the high number of unemployed in Northern Ireland amounting more than 29,000 people or 6.2% of the total number of insured employees.

His earliest gay-related parliamentary intervention was a question tabled on police agent provocateurs after the acquittal in 1954 of Weng Kee Sam, a young Singaporean. He and another man, Frederick Beauchamp, who committed suicide before the trial, had been charged with gross indecency at Gloucester Road tube station. Weng Kee Sam later successfully sued the British Transport Police for 1,600 for malicious prosecution. [5] The Home Office strenuously denied Hyde’s suggestion of provocateurism when police carried out such distasteful duties said to be essential to the preservation of public order and decency. [v]

He first debated the question of Casement’s diaries in the Commons on 3 May 1956 when the junior Minister, William (now Lord) Deedes declined to depart from the (government’s) policy of silence, [vi] and again on 2 May 1957 when the Home Secretary, R.A. Butler only admitted that certain confidential documents of Casement’s existed. Butler was still not prepared to explain their nature and declined even to say if any diaries existed. This debate led to Hyde starting an extensive, 20-year correspondence with all the proponentSeand opponents of the diaries’ authenticity, their letters duly responded to, typed and neatly filed. He also wrote two substantive pieces in the Sunday Times in April 1957 on the Casement controversy, which made the MP’s interest in the subject of homosexuality plainer in Belfast.

In July 1959, the Home Secretary was asked again about the Casement diaries when Hyde called for the Home Office both to admit they existed and to allow the public to see them. As Singleton-Gates’s book, replicating some of them, had just been published, limited access to view them was then granted. [6] The fact that there were five, not three, diaries then first emerged. The erotic fifth diary was only published in my Casement book in 2002, as publication had previously been threatened with an obscenity prosecution.

After Wolfenden’s publication, the House of Lords on 4 December 1957 was the first to debate the report on a motion proposed in its favour by Lord Pakenham (later the Earl of Longford). It was not taken to a vote.

On 21 May 1958, Hyde came second in a Commons ballot for notices of motion and announced he would call attention to the Wolfenden Report in three weeks. The day before that debate, and backed by Hyde, the Desmond Donnelly [vii] (who with Bob Boothby [7] in 1953 had called for a Royal Commission “to investigate the law relating to the medical treatment of homosexuality”) pressed the government to allow enough time. The Home Secretary prevaricated, so on 13 June, Hyde was required to propose that the House took note of the report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual OffenceSeand Prostitution.

Hyde stood up, and said he begged to move. He only managed 37 words: I regret that there is not more time to develop the subject. I hope that in the minute that is left to me I can express the opinion that this is a most valuable social document and ‘. The Speaker then cut him off.

The next day the remarkably modern looking, Daily Mirror headline was ONE MINUTE’. The accompanying, supportive article read, It is nine months since the Wolfenden Committee made their recommendations. The Committee took three years to collect their evidence ”and one minute [was] given to the subject yesterday. And so the matter disappeared off parliament’s timetable for a further six months. This courageous moment was to be Hyde’s political undoing.

In November 1958, when the government relented and allowed a debate, Hyde contributed a half-hour speech which was wide-ranging and thoughtful, and covered both aspects of the report. He concluded by demanding equality for the homosexual and the prostitute. Earlier he quoted a letter from a consenting adult who had been gaoled and released, only to be informed on again, losing his new job. He pointed out three popular fallacies that have been exposed by the Report; that male homosexuality always involves sodomy; that homosexuals are necessarily effeminate and that most relevant court cases are of practising male homosexuals in private. Only one hundred men a year, he said, were convicted of sex in private with consenting adults.

These ideas, novel to the wider public in 1958, can be directly traced back to the 1890s works of Havelock ElliSeand J.A. Symonds. The final government speaker David Renton, who died last month as Lord Renton, concluded definitively, unlike Butler, saying, we believe it is the instinct of most members of the public and most members of both Houses of Parliament to decline the Wolfenden proposal. Decriminalisation was now shelved for a decade.

Reports of Hyde’s speech at home were not extensive. The Belfast News Letter did title its story as Montgomery Hyde in Wolfenden debate’, but reported his remarks after the comments of R.A. Butler and Labour’s front bench spokesman Anthony Greenwood who said there is no justification to impose legislation on homosexuals. Hyde’s reading of a letter from a homosexual was quoted, as was his warning against dropping the legal requirement to prove annoyance by prostitutes before conviction.

Ironically on 26 November 1958, the day of the Commons debate, Ian Harvey, the Conservative MP for East Harrow, resigned both as a junior Foreign Office Minister and an MP, being gazetted as Steward of the Manor of Northstead. [viii] On 11 December, he was in court charged with an offence in St James’s Park against public decency and was fined 5 as was his partner of the night, Coldstream Guardsman Anthony Plant. Hyde had been asked in 1950 by David Ogilvy, a colleague from MI6, to make contact with my old fag from Fettes days, now an MP for Harrow and another admirer of yours. Name is Ian Harvey.” [8] He was later to become a vice-President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). [xi]

But such seriously liberal views had already begun to pull Hyde down along with the traditional complaint that he did not visit the constituency sufficiently often. He was also a convinced abolitionist on capital punishment and was a co-sponsor with Sidney Silverman in 1956 of a bill to abolish hanging. It passed in the House of Commons only to be defeated in the Lords. [9] Tribune picked him out as one of four key players in that first success. Indeed he was drifting toward Labour, as he had presciently begun to doubt the wisdom or efficacy of the Unionist Party’s rigid alliance with the Conservative Party. Ironically Hyde also successfully moved an amendment to which Silverman agreed, excluding Northern Ireland because of its devolved status (presumably also to try to stop antagonistic Ulster MPs voting). He pointed out however that in the previous twelve years there had been no executions in the province. And only eleven since partition.

The Belfast newspapers reported extensively on Hyde’s considerable attempts in early 1959, the general election year, to stem opposition to his reselection, On 6 January, he addressed the Shankill branch’s AGM. Questioned for two hours on the death penalty and the Wolfenden report, he said, I believe I have the support of the Shankill. I have threshed capital punishment out with my constituents before and they know my views. On 8 January, he was noted in the Belfast Telegraph as a Suez rebel, apparently the only time he voted against the whip. Next day he averred, I must plead guilty to being the best known of the Ulster MPs. Although accepting he was a Suez rebel, Hyde said he thought subsequent events had proved him right, adding, My primary interest is the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders.

Henry Holmes, the Shankill’s Stormont MP, defended him saying, although he has sponsored one or two unpopular causes I do not believe these are sufficient grounds for discarding him. His opposition to the death penalty, and his support of the Wolfenden recommendations on homosexuality and prostitution were all declared to be non-party matters.

Hyde was heavily backed in the English liberal press, with favourable editorials in The Guardian and The Sunday Times. There was however little or no controversy in the letters columns of the Belfast papers about his progressive views. Licensing law was then the biggest controversy not gay law reform. However, Robin Bailie, later a Stormont MP, in a rare letter of 11 December 1958 did call on the church to stick to preaching morality and leave law making (including that on homosexuality) to men. There was no apparent response.

A few weeks after Hyde’s speech in the Commons, and in the absence of any hope of law reform, Northern Ireland’s police and prosecutors accelerated their work of rooting out and imprisoning gay men for on 18 December 1958, nineteen Lurgan men were charged with gross indecency and other charges involving indecency.

Their cases were heard before Lord Justice Curran [x] at Belfast Winter Assizes. Before sentencing seven of them to terms of imprisonment, he remarked, Cries of repentance after an act had been committed was no new thing in his experience.

You seem to have been a cancer in the society of Lurgan, said Curran when sentencing William Wells aged 64 who was not professionally represented to three years in prison. Of the remainder, six were gaoled for a year: Thomas Burton 30, lorry driver, George Haddock 43, optical lens maker, George Hunter 27, engineer, now living in London, Edward Stevenson 38, unemployed, James Walker 30, packer, and Thomas Kerr 52, labourer. Of those bound over, James Robinson 32, a grocer was defended by E.W. Jones MP (later Attorney General) with a plea that he was liable to mental illness. This was accepted by the judge who said he was treating Robinson as a special case, declaring, you have had a week in prison and you know what it is like. I hope it will make some impression on your mind.

The other ten [10] were given recorded sentenceSeand also bound over. Thomas Jenkinson 23, linesman, denied the offence, pleaded not guilty and was acquitted. He said he had only made a statement to keep police from approaching his girl friend and family. The crimes were not described except in his case, where he had initially stated an incident took place at the entrance to some garages. The police claimed to have three witnesses to prove it. The judge commended the police officer concerned, Detective Constable Ernest Drew, saying, I think you have done a very useful piece of work in cleaning up this mess in Lurgan.

What seemed unusual in this trial was the sheer number charged and the severity of the sentences. However not much has changed in relation to such small town round-ups, exemplified by the 2006 Coleraine events, when a dozen men were convicted and publicly shamed (with their houseSeand cars duly attacked) for trivial cottaging offences. Such trials studded the English newspapers in the 1950s, but extensive group arrestSeand prosecutions [xi] continue to be an Ulster peculiarity, perhaps indicative of an institutionalised homophobia in the police, prosecution and judicial system.

Under the radar, opposition was building to Hyde’s Wolfenden and Casement activities which unfortunately only muddied already troubled waters so far as his constituency association was concerned. In the event, he faced a challenge for the parliamentary nomination from Air Marshall Sir George Beamish, once an Irish rugby international.

The MP went to the Unionist Party selection committee meeting on 12 January 1959 armed with a letter of endorsement from Edward Carson’s widow (which looked and read suspiciously as if he had written it himself). The vote was 70 for Hyde, 60 for Beamish and 12 for David Carlisle. After his elimination, it was 77 to 72, a five vote win for Hyde, a result greeted with prolonged applause. Reselection with nearly 150 voting was a remarkable achievement given the worrying publicity. This defeat knocked Sir George out of the running. Hyde’s enemies however fought on.

The ratification meeting, normally a formality was on 13 February 1959, but Hyde was in the West Indies on what was described aSean industrial parliamentary West Indies committee tour of the Caribbean to promote trade and business contacts. A local news story ominously read, in the event of the association rejecting Hyde against whom there is some feeling in the constituency the matter will be considered again.

Unwisely, Hyde chose not to cut short his trip and thus missed the full North Belfast Imperial Association ratification meeting in the Belfast YMCA. Despite pleas from his wife and certain Belfast friends, he chose instead to appeal to the chairman, Mr David McClelland, for a postponement.

That plea was in vain as McClelland was already hostile. He simply replied, Wire received. Regret you cannot attend meeting. Must go on. Management Committee decision. Writing letters, from a hotel in Kingston Jamaica, to his number one enemy in wintry Belfast, the association secretary Mrs Noble who thought him a bad man [11] was also bordering on the politically insane.

In a much bigger turnout, and by 171 votes to 152, Hyde’s reselection failed to be ratified. By 19 votes, the Unionist Party lost its one respected voice at Westminster and abroad, and the only MP who ever advised his people of changing times, while attempting to modernise and moderate Unionist opinion. Unionism’s failure to send a consistently liberal voice to Westminster since remains a dangerous deficiency that has done it considerable damage, not least with Labour governments.

The Belfast Telegraph reported, Mr Hyde’s rejection is a result of criticism amongst constituents over his attitude over certain problems particularly the Wolfenden report, capital punishment and the return of the Lane pictures to Ireland; further there was a feeling he did not visit the division sufficiently. One view expressed was that as the vote was so close he might have carried the day, had he been present.

Two days later, now in Belize city, Hyde complained that it was a rank discourtesy holding the meeting without him, especially as there were 3,000 members in the constituency. His wife in London the next day said, I shall advise him to cut out the rest of his tour if that is possible and deal with the matter on the spot. She had however written earlier to him in Jamaica: SO THAT’S THAT. I’m sorry darling perhaps it’s for the best. No more politics. No more Belfast politics. Oh bliss. He did make efforts to have the decision overturned by Unionist Party headquarters on procedural grounds but he had no high-level political support.

Although he had made little secret of his progressive views during his the capital punishment debates, the campaign for access to the Casement diarieSeand his writings on Oscar Wilde, Hyde’s political undoing was his parliamentary interventionSeand outspoken views on the decriminalisation of homosexuality. [xii]

Ironically, if he had managed to effect the Wolfenden report recommendations at Westminster, the reform would not have applied in Ulster. In the event, the 1967 England and Wales Sexual Offences Act was not extended to Northern Ireland until October 1982, by a vote of 168 to 21 in the House of Commons. This was only after my 7-year European Court of Human Rights case succeeded 12 months earlier, vindicating Hyde’s efforts of 25 years before.

With Stormont back up and running, the no change; no reform’ policy is likely to prevail again in relation to implementing proposed sexual offences reform, adoption and other gay anti-discrimination measures, due in particular to having the Rev Ian Paisley, leader of the 1977 Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign, as First Minister.

Hyde vacated his seat at the election in October 1959, not standing aSean independent as had been mooted, and despite having received many letters of support from within North Belfast including a number from his Hebrew constituents, as he put it, and beyond. There was (and is) a folk view that the North Belfast Unionist Association at that time was conducted out of the Synagogue, explaining to a degree its apparently liberal approach, although no such aspect to the dispute surfaced in the press. The one (anonymous) antagonistic letter in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) fileSeand postmarked Worthing, stated Ulster has no time for an advocate for homosexuality. It also accused him of gallivanting in the sunshine.” [12]


 

 

[1] Lady Mairi Bury, daughter of the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, who still resides in Mount Stewart, has recollections of Hyde.

 

[2] Count Joachim von Ribbentrop, later German Foreign Minister was then Ambassador in London. In 1935, he negotiated the Anglo-German Naval Agreement. He was hanged in 1946 in Nuremberg for war crimes.

 

[3] The four books were Oscar Wilde (1975); Oscar Wilde: the Aftermath (1963); Lord Alfred Douglas (1984) plus the aforementioned Trials of Oscar Wilde (1948).

 

[4] Hyde’s maiden speech was on the Maintenance Orders Bill.

 

[5] News of the World, 5 February 1956. ThiSeand many other relevant cuttings were provided by the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive (LAGNA) at Middlesex University. My thanks go to Robert Thompson (r.e.thompson@mdx.ac.uk) and the Hall Carpenter Archives for supplying them: see http://hallcarpenter.tripod.com/lagna/cuttings.htm

 

[6] The Casement author, Roger Sawyer, recalled to the author (in 2007) Herbert Mackey, the doyen of the diary forgery theorists, telling him preposterously that Hyde was having an affair with R.A. Butler, which explained the decision to release the diaries.

 

[7] Bob, later Lord Boothby, was the long-time lover of the, then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s wife Dorothy, and was himself reputedly gay. Like Liberace, he was none the less successful in winning libel damages of 40,000 from Mirror Newspapers in 1964 over an accurate accusation in relation to his association with the Kray twins.

 

[8] PRONI D.3084/A/7

 

[9] The reverse happened with the Earl of Arran’s 1965 Sexual Offences Bill which passed first in the House of Lords. Humphry Berkeley’s Bill which succeeded in getting a 2nd reading in the Commons fell due to the calling of the 1966 general election when he lost his Lancaster seat to Labour. He blamed his defeat on the Bill although the overall swing was against the Conservatives. Abse then took up the torch.

 

[10] The other ten, very ordinary martyrs bound over were George Wilson, 44, clerk; William Sharpe 55, TA watchman; Howard Thompson 44, fitter; David McKinley 44, hotel employee; George Fleming 48, packer; John McCappin 58, clerk; Thomas Neill, 52, weaver; William Magill 65, old age pensioner; William Taylor 44, power loom tenter; and William Dowds 32, unemployed. They were indeed martyred, as in the words of the Earl of Arran, on 21 July 1967 when his Bill finally became law: My Lords, Mr Wilde was right: the road has been long and the martyrdoms many, monstrouSeand bloody. Today, please God! sees the end of that road. (Quoted in The Other Love p. 268).

 

[11] Recollection of former Belfast Councillor John Harcourt, in conversation with the author in 2007.

[12] PRONI D/3084/I/A/2


 

[1] Lord Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, b. 1769, was Foreign Secretary from 1812 until he committed suicide in 1822, due to depression. It was suggested he was being accused or blackmailed for homosexuality, as he put it himself, the crime of the Bishop of Clogher’. Percy Jocelyn, a son of the 1st Earl of Roden was charged after being caught in a compromising position with a guardsman, John Moverley, at the White Hart public house in Westminster on 19 July 1822 and deposed as Bishop in October, after fleeing to Scotland. Hyde also wrote The Strange Death of Lord Castlereagh.

 

[ii] Sir William Stephenson’s biography was written by Hyde and published in 1962 as The Quiet Canadian.

 

[iii] His nearest rival for the North Belfast candidature was Brian McConnell, later a Stormont MP and life peer from 1995 until 2000. Hyde feared that his earlier listing of King William III, Prince of Orange, as a homosexual might come back to hurt him at this selection meeting. It did, but later. His somewhat unconvincing and unused crib, in 1950 was that he was only quoting another author. See also an Irish Times letter of 5 June 2007 from James McGivern about Ian Paisley’s son’s attack on homosexuals: Should we not judge Ian Paisley jnr by his actions rather than his words? Surely every July 12th, he, and indeed his dad, dress in gaily coloured clotheSeand regalia and honour that great homosexual – King Billy. Is this not definitive proof that Mr Paisley can hate this sin but still do his duty as Northern Executive minister and love the sinner

 

[iv] There is little Hyde broadcast material extant. BBC NI has, at Cultra (tel. 028 90395127), an arts programme on Oscar Wilde, broadcast in September 1976, in which Hyde participated, while BBC Motion Gallery (motiongallery@bbc.co.uk) has a networked 1972 Self Portrait programme featuring him. Its script is in PRONI; D.3084/A/5B.

 

[v] The Other Love, p. 210-11

 

[vi] Hansard, Commons Debates. Vol. 552, cols. 749-60. Deedes argued that verification of the diaries existence and granting access would be unfair as Casement, due to his execution, was now unable to answer the allegations!

 

[vii] Desmond Donnelly, the independent-minded MP for Pembrokeshire, was later a rebel against Harold Wilson’s steel nationalisation planSeand ultimately joined the Conservative Party. He committed suicide in 1974.

 

[viii] A device appointing someone to an office of profit under the crown thus compelling an MP to vacate his seat.

 

[ix] CHE, one of Britain‘s first gay organisations flowered in the 1970s.

 

[x] Ironically, Lord Justice Curran’s daughter Patricia had been murdered in November 1952 in a case where there were rumours of a homosexual connection between her brother and the young airman later convicted. He was known to have gay contacts in Belfast and Co. Antrim.

 

[xi] Ironically in 1893 the first prominent person convicted of gross indecency under the 1885 Act, preceding Oscar Wilde, was a fellow Belfast MP and Orangeman, Edward de Cobain. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment with hard labour (see The Other Love p 137-8).

 

[xii] In an Irish Times interview of 5 January 1985, Hyde stated, In fact Lord Boothby and I really initiated the whole thing and started the Wolfenden committee – the [Unionist Party] caucus said we cannot have our member condoning unnatural vice’. That was it. That really finished me.

 

 

 

[1] Lord Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, b. 1769, was Foreign Secretary from 1812 until he committed suicide in 1822, due to depression. It was suggested he was being accused or blackmailed for homosexuality, as he put it himself, the crime of the Bishop of Clogher’. Percy Jocelyn, a son of the 1st Earl of Roden was charged after being caught in a compromising position with a guardsman, John Moverley, at the White Hart public house in Westminster on 19 July 1822 and deposed as Bishop in October, after fleeing to Scotland. Hyde also wrote The Strange Death of Lord Castlereagh

[1] Sir William Stephenson’s biography was written by Hyde and published in 1962 as The Quiet Canadian.

[1] His nearest rival for the North Belfast candidature was Brian McConnell, later a Stormont MP and life peer from 1995 until 2000. Hyde feared that his earlier listing of King William III, Prince of Orange, as a homosexual might come back to hurt him at this selection meeting. It did, but later. His somewhat unconvincing and unused crib, in 1950 was that he was only quoting another author. See also an Irish Times letter of 5 June 2007 from James McGivern about Ian Paisley’s son’s attack on homosexuals: Should we not judge Ian Paisley jnr by his actions rather than his words? Surely every July 12th, he, and indeed his dad, dress in gaily coloured clotheSeand regalia and honour that great homosexual – King Billy. Is this not definitive proof that Mr Paisley can hate this sin but still do his duty as Northern Executive minister and love the sinner

[1] There is little Hyde broadcast material extant. BBC NI has, at Cultra (tel. 028 90395127), an arts programme on Oscar Wilde, broadcast in September 1976, in which Hyde participated, while BBC Motion Gallery (motiongallery@bbc.co.uk) has a networked 1972 Self Portrait programme featuring him. Its script is in PRONI; D.3084/A/5B.

[1] The Other Love, p. 210-11

[1] Hansard, Commons Debates. Vol. 552, cols. 749-60. Deedes argued that verification of the diaries existence and granting access would be unfair as Casement, due to his execution, was now unable to answer the allegations!

[1] Desmond Donnelly, the independent-minded MP for Pembrokeshire, was later a rebel against Harold Wilson’s steel nationalisation planSeand ultimately joined the Conservative Party. He committed suicide in 1974.

[1] A device appointing someone to an office of profit under the crown thus compelling an MP to vacate his seat.

[1] CHE, one of Britain‘s first gay organisations flowered in the 1970s.

[1] Ironically, Lord Justice Curran’s daughter Patricia had been murdered in November 1952 in a case where there were rumours of a homosexual connection between her brother and the young airman later convicted. He was known to have gay contacts in Belfast and Co. Antrim.

[1] Ironically in 1893 the first prominent person convicted of gross indecency under the 1885 Act, preceding Oscar Wilde, was a fellow Belfast MP and Orangeman, Edward de Cobain. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour (see The Other Love p 137-8).

[1] In an Irish Times interview of 5 January 1985, Hyde stated, In fact Lord Boothby and I really initiated the whole thing and started the Wolfenden committee – the [Unionist Party] caucus said we cannot have our member condoning unnatural vice. That was it. That really finished me.Ø

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