The Cecil King coup plot

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Event.png The Cecil King coup plot(coup plan,  Clockwork Orange) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
ParticipantsHugh Cudlipp, Solly Zuckerman, William Rees-Mogg
PerpetratorsCecil King, Louis Mountbatten?
InterestsHarold Wilson
Description1968 coup plan for the United Kingdom

The Cecil King coup plot was a 1968 UK coup plan drawn up as part of the decade-long deep state campaign to get rid of Prime Minster Harold Wilson. According to the exposure, a limited hangout, it was instigated by press baron Cecil King, although the real instigator behind the plans presumably was Louis Mountbatten.

Official narrative

In his 1976 memoir Walking on Water, Hugh Cudlipp recounts a meeting he arranged at the request of Cecil King, the head of the International Publishing Corporation (IPC), between King and Lord Mountbatten of Burma, then-Prince Charles' great uncle and mentor. The meeting took place on 8 May 1968. Attending were Mountbatten, King, Cudlipp, and Sir Solly Zuckerman, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the British government.

According to Cudlipp:

[Cecil] awaited the arrival of Sir Solly and then at once expounded his views on the gravity of the national situation, the urgency for action, and then embarked upon a shopping list of the Prime Minister's shortcomings. He explained that in the crisis he foresaw as being just around the corner, the Government would disintegrate, there would be bloodshed in the streets and the armed forces would be involved. The people would be looking to somebody like Lord Mountbatten as the titular head of a new administration, somebody renowned as a leader of men, who would be capable, backed by the best brains and administrators in the land, to restore public confidence. He ended with a question to Mountbatten—would he agree to be the titular head of a new administration in such circumstances?[1]

Mountbatten asked for the opinion of Zuckerman, who stated that the plan amounted to treason and left the room. Mountbatten expressed the same opinion, and King and Cudlipp left.[2] King subsequently decided to override the editorial independence of the Daily Mirror when he instructed the paper to publish a front-page article he had written that called for Wilson to be removed through some sort of extra-parliamentary action. The board of the IPC met and demanded his resignation for this breach of procedure and the damage to the interests of IPC as a public company. He refused, so was dismissed by the board on 30 May 1968.[3]

In addition to Mountbatten's refusal to participate in King's mooted plot, there is no evidence of any other conspirators. Cudlipp himself appears to see the meeting as an example of extreme egotism on King's part.[2]

A later memoir by Harold Evans, who was editor of The Sunday Times in 1968, said that The Times had egged on King's plans for a coup:

Rees-Mogg's Times backed the Conservative Party in every general election, but it periodically expressed yearnings for a coalition of the right-centre. In the late 1960s it encouraged Cecil King's notion of a coup against Harold Wilson's Labour Government in favour of a government of business leaders led by Lord Robens. In the autumn election of 1974, it predicted that economic crisis would produce a coalition government of national unity well inside five years and urged one there and then between Conservatives and Liberals.[4]

William Rees-Mogg called for a coalition in an 8 December 1968 Times editorial entitled "The Danger to Britain", a day before King visited the Times office.[5]

A BBC programme The Plot Against Harold Wilson, broadcast in 2006, reported that, in tapes recorded soon after his resignation, Wilson stated that for eight months of his premiership he did not "feel he knew what was going on, fully, in security". Wilson alleged two plots, in the late 1960s and mid-1970s respectively. He said that plans had been hatched to install Louis Mountbatten as interim prime minister. He also claimed that ex-military leaders had been building up private armies in anticipation of "wholesale domestic liquidation". On a separate track, elements within MI5 had also, the BBC programme reported, spread black propaganda that Wilson and Marcia Williams (Wilson's private secretary) were Soviet agents, and that Wilson was an IRA sympathiser, apparently with the intention of helping the Conservatives win the February 1974 election.[6]


Known Participants

2 of the 3 of the participants already have pages here:

Hugh CudlippJournalist and newspaper editor noted for his work on the Daily Mirror in the 1950s and 1960s.
William Rees-MoggPossible UKDSO who attended the 1972 and 1993 Bilderbergs


  1. Cudlipp, Hugh (1976). Walking on Water. The Bodley Head. p. 326
  2. a b Cudlipp, pp.326–327.
  3. Adam Curtis (2011). Every Day is Like Sunday
  4. Evans, Harold (1994) [1984]. Good Times, Bad Times (paperback ed.). Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-857-99124-6.
  5. Private Eye, 20 December 1968.
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