October 28 – On this day: 45 years since the Jeremy Thorpe scandal

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45 years ago (1977) We published Jeremy Thorpe’s statement in which he admitted to a “close and even affectionate friendship” with male model Norman Scott but denied accusations of a sexual relationship.

The former Liberal leader also denied his part in a plot to murder Scott to cover up the alleged affair. Before the case came to trial in 1979, Thorpe lost his Parliamentary seat at the general election.

103 years ago (1919) US Congress passed the Volstead Act, which set down the rules for enforcing a federal ban on the production, sale and distribution of alcohol from January 1 1920. The Act passed by a large majority despite President Woodrow Wilson using his veto and was ratified by the Senate the following day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made a campaign promise to legalise drinking in 1932. Prohibition ended in 1933.

51 years ago (1971) The British satellite Prospero was launched at Woomera, South Australia, to study the technology necessary for communication satellites.

It was operational until 1973 and remains the UK’s only successful orbital launch.

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