DID you spot the sexual tension in last week’s Memories. David Walsh in Brotton did.

It was on the Page in History, our reproduction front page which last week was from June 1945, when Winston Churchill was trying to make electoral mischief at the expense of the Labour Party. Churchill, the Conservative leader, was saying that the real power in Labour was exerted by the new party chairman, the Marxist Professor Harold Laski, and not the party leader and Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.

This was ridiculed by the former party chairman, Ellen Wilkinson, who was known as “Red Ellen” because of her hair and socialist views. She was MP for Middlesbrough East from 1924-1931 and the MP for Jarrow from 1935 to 1947 during which time she led the Jarrow March.

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The Echo reports that Ms Wilkinson lampooned Churchill’s suggestion by saying that she was unaware that when she was chairman, the party’s big beasts such as Herbert Morrison, Ernest Bevin and PM Attlee all “trembled at my nod”, and that when she had been a junior bag-carrier to Mr Morrison – Peter Mandelson’s grandfather – at the Foreign Office, Mr Morrison “had to obey me”.

And she concluded: “What a time I would have had.”

If you read that back with the knowledge that Miss Wilkinson, who never married, was having a very secret affair with the married Mr Morrison, you can, perhaps, feel the sexual tension.

Miss Wilkinson died 18 months later through an overdose of medication. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, but many biographers have speculated since that she took her own life partly because she saw no future in her relationship with a married man.