George Thomas, the former Labour Cabinet Minister and Speaker of the House of Commons, was the sycophant supreme of the British political system and arguably the most divisive figure in twentieth-century Welsh politics, whose transformation from a radical young socialist to Viscount Tonypandy, a fervent supporter of Margaret Thatcher and servile courtier to the English Royal Family who was perfectly described by poet Nigel Jenkins as 'The Lord of Lickspit'.
Drawing on previously unpublished material from Thomas' vast personal and political archive in the National Library of Wales, and interviews with many who knew him during his career, award-winning journalist Martin Shipton reveals the real George Thomas, the complex character behind the carefully crafted facade of the devout Christian and ultra British-loyalist, and discovers a number of surprising and shocking personae - which have previously been unknown, downplayed or overlooked - of this ultimate Political Chameleon whose political legacy now lies in ruins:
The devious draft-dodger during World War Two.
The Communist sympathiser controlled by the Soviet Union.
The secret Freemason.
The self-proclaimed teetotaller who enjoyed alcohol in private.
The close acquaintance of a controversial financier.
The spiritual sidekick of a Saudi Arabian oil minister.
The duplicitous informer for Harold Wilson.
The shameless betrayer of the people of Aberfan.
The die-hard opponent of devolution with a spiteful antipathy towards the Welsh language.
The unscrupulous fixer of Honours and master of patronage.
The 'confirmed bachelor' and Methodist lay-preacher who sought the company of 'rent boys'.
Martin Shipton also investigates fresh evidence relating to the explosive allegation that Thomas was a child rapist and a predatory sexual abuser of young males.
This is the book that his dwindling number of supporters feared and the book his political opponents have been waiting for. Political Chameleon dissects George Thomas chapter by chapter, exposing him as a sanctimonious hypocrite whose religious veneer was a sham.
Martin Shipton is Chief Reporter for the Western Mail.
Preface by Gwynoro Jones Introduction 1. The Servile Welshman 2. Mam's Boy and Left Wing Activist 3. George the Draft Dodger? 4. Backbencher and Communist Fellow Traveller 5. Years of Frustration 6. Junior Minister 7. The Betrayal of Aberfan 8. At the Commonwealth Office 9. Secretary of State for Wales 10. Back in Opposition 11. The Road to the Speaker's Chair 12. Falling out with Labour 13. Open House 14. Hating Labour 15. Adoring Thatcher 16. George Thomas and Christianity 17. In the House of Lords 18. Final Acts 19. George and Julian 20. Was George Thomas a Sexual Abuser? 21. Freemason 22. Embedded Royalist 23. Patronage 24. Why Understanding George Thomas is Important Afterword