The Wikipedia article on Marcia Falkender/Marcia Williams (private secretary to PM Harold Wilson) makes a rather explosive claim:

When Wilson lost office in 1970, Falkender seized his papers, and her brother, Tony Field, helped Wilson break into her garage to recover them.

(it states this smack dab in the middle of a paragraph in the 'Persona Life' section, with zero additional context offered)

The source given is an Independent article from 2006. The article does support the claim on Wikipedia:

When Harold Wilson lost office in 1970 and Marcia seized his papers her brother, Tony Field, obligingly teamed up with the ex-PM to break into her garage to recover them.

However, it does not refer to any further sources itself, or go into any more detail. These two places - the Wikipedia page, and the Independent article it cites as a source, are the only references I can find to the incident, anywhere (Wilson's own Wikipedia page does not contain the word 'garage', and googling 'harold wilson break into garage' does not turn up anything relevant).

Frankly, I find the whole thing rather odd. Surely, if a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom had burgled a garage, that would be more widely known? I'd expect it to come up in TV quizzes, Youtube trivia videos...

Do any other sources support the story? Do any describe it in more detail?

  • I don't believe Wilson himself burgled. I believe the claim is that Tony Field, brother to Baroness Falkender, burgled the Baroness' garage at the behest of Wilson. That seems more credible: PM pays brother to burgle sister's home.
    – bishop
    Nov 28, 2020 at 4:08
  • Unless there is a police report, the best evidence we're likely to get is half the story from memoirs.
    – bishop
    Nov 28, 2020 at 4:10
  • 3
    Also, under UK law reclaiming your own property is not theft, and I think that means entering a building to get them doesn't count as burglary. So unless Falklender was somehow the owner of the papers, this probably wouldn't be burglary.
    – Jack B
    Nov 28, 2020 at 11:16
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    Note that a plausible scenario is: Wilson wanted access to his papers and knew that Falkender had them. He called her home, and, though she was gone, her brother Field was there and answered the phone. He said "Sure, drop over and we'll find those papers." Such a scenario could easily be twisted into the above account by someone unfriendly to Wilson. Nov 28, 2020 at 17:23
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    She got her own back on Field for that. The Independent story linked continues: On Tony's wedding day, in 1973, his passport, airline tickets and money went missing. Convinced that his sister had stolen them, he called the police. She told the officers that she had put them away for "safe keeping". Nov 28, 2020 at 20:31


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