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The Papers of Jonathan Aitken

Reference Code: GBR/0014/AITK

Scope and Contents

Comprising correspondence; diaries; books; speeches and articles; legal papers; press cuttings; and photographs.
With some earlier family papers dating from 1925.


  • Creation: 1948 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is closed.

Conditions Governing Use

Once the collection is open, researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Jonathan Aitken was born in Dublin, 30 August 1942, the son of Sir William Aitken and Penelope Aitken (née Maffey). He was educated at Eton College; Christ Church, Oxford; and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He married (1) Lolicia Olivera Azucki in 1979 (divorced 1998), with whom he has one son and two daughters, and (2) Elizabeth Harris (née Rees-Williams) in 2003.

He was a Private Secretary to Selwyn Lloyd, 1964-6; a foreign correspondent on the London Evening Standard, 1966-71; a presenter for Yorkshire Television, 1968-70; and Managing Director of Slater Walker (Middle East) Ltd, 1973-5. He contested the constituency of Meriden, 1966; and was dropped as the candidate for Thirsk and Malton, 1970, after being charged with a breach of the Official Secrets Act, of which he was later acquitted. He was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Thanet East, 1974-83, and Thanet South, 1983-97.

He was Minister of State for Defence Procurement, 1992-4, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, 1994-5. He was also a Director of TV-am, 1981-8.

He launched a libel action against The Guardian and Granada Television and the subsequent trial collapsed in 1997. He was convicted of perjury and perverting the course of justice, in 1999, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison, of which he served seven months.

His publications include: "A Short Walk on the Campus" (1966); "The Young Meteors" (1967); "Land of Fortune: a Study of Australia" (1969); "Officially Secret" (1970); "Richard Nixon: a Life" (1993); "Pride and Perjury" (2000); "Psalms for People Under Pressure" (2004); "Porridge and Passion" (2005); "Charles W. Colson: a Life Redeemed" (2005); "Heroes and Contemporaries" (2006); "John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace" (2007); and "Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan" (2009).


459 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of this finding aid are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, the National Register of Archives, London, and on the Janus website

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were transferred to Churchill Archives Centre by Jonathan Aitken, 2010.


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, February 2012. Biographical information was obtained from the websites of Who's Who and Wikipedia.


Aitken, Jonathan William Patrick, b 1942, politician

2012-02-08 10:08:32+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087