THE death of Sir Timothy Kitson a fortnight ago allows us to look back on one of the most head-turning moments in recent Parliamentary history: the day he took blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield to the House of Commons.

Sir Timothy was the MP for Richmond from 1959 until 1983, and was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Prime Minister Edward Heath in the early 1970s. Heath, who knighted Kitson in his resignation honours in 1974, stayed at Sir Timothy’s family home of Leases Hall at Leaming Bar, when he was speaking at a Conservative conference in Scarborough.

But it is for a day in April 1967 that he is best remembered.

Jayne Mansfield was then 33-years-old but was a falling star. She had wowed Hollywood with the size of her chest, but times were moving on and on March 26, 1967, she arrived at Newcastle station at the start of a £24,000 six-week tour of nightclubs.

She never missed an opportunity to pose with her prominent breasts to the fore, and the newspapers of the day never missed an opportunity to shoehorn her vital statistics – 44-26-38 – into the story.

However, her first week on Tyneside received a cool reception. She performed a 20-minute set of songs and chat but developed little rapport with the Geordie audience.

The Northern Echo’s reporter Luke Casey, who later found fame as a TV correspondent, kindly compared her to the other popular entertainment of the day. “I, and many others, would rather look at a bosomy blonde in a mini-skirt than Mick Jagger any day,” he wrote.

For her second week playing the clubs of Teesside she based herself in a £20-a-day suite in the Scotch Corner Hotel in Sir Timothy’s constituency.

She brought Darlington to a standstill as a “gleaming Rolls-Royce…stopped in the centre of a no-waiting zone on High Row and was quickly spotted by a traffic warden”, said the Echo. She was “cautioned about parking in the zone and politely told to move on. The car then glided into Priestgate”. The thrice married mother-of-five was in town so that her lawyer, Sam Brody, could buy her a gold chain – they were, it was said, an item.

But her shows at Tito’s and Club Fiesta in Stockton, and Club Marimba in Middlesbrough did not go down well and on Saturday, April 7, she held a press conference at the Scotch Corner Hotel to express her amazement at being sacked from the rest of the tour.

However, there were still plenty of clubs wanting her, and so that night she made a surprise appearance at the press ball at Tiffany’s in York. Unfortunately, on the way back to Scotch Corner, her taxi caught fire and she had to hitch-hike to the hotel. Then she was off to Batley, Bolton and Blackpool for more impromptu appearances which culminated, on April 13, in her arriving at the House of Commons on the arms of Sir Timothy, 36, and William Elliott, the Conservative MP for Newcastle North.

Somehow, Jayne – notorious for being the first major Hollywood actress to appear fully naked in a scene – had made Sir Timothy’s acquaintanceship while staying at the Scotch Corner.

“Jayne, squeezing her 44-26-38 superstructure into a plunging blue and white mini-dress, caused quite a stir,” reported the Daily Express. “Miss Mansfield, half in and half out of her dress, fluttered her long black eyelashes and adjusted her flowing blonde hair. It was all too much for the Speaker, Dr Horace King, who solemnly called the house to order.”

Jayne, who specialised in gaining favourable press coverage through wardrobe malfunctions, defended her choice of attire, saying the dress was “the most conservative I’ve got”.

She flaunted her way into the Speaker’s Gallery where Sir Timothy showed her to a seat usually occupied by Mary Wilson, the Prime Minister’s wife. It was all very off-putting for Defence Secretary Denis Healey down below who was quite put off his stride during Defence Questions.

Jayne then had lunch with Sir Timothy, and at the end of her three hour visit, she gushed to the Express how she really fancied the top Tory Mr Heath. “I just love that great big smile of his,” she purred. “Is it really true that he’s a bachelor? Mmm, I really go big for him.”

In actuality, she probably went big for anyone who might get her a sentence in a paper, for she said of the Conservative MP Gerald Nabarro, who was famed for his extravagant facial hair: “That moustache is the nicest thing I ever saw. He kept looking up at me and swirling his moustache.”

And then she was off. She returned to the United States where, sadly, six weeks later she and Brody were killed in a car crash caused by a fog of insecticide.

“Jayne Mansfield, 33, the Hollywood sex symbol who recently had a tempestuous tour of the North-East, was killed yesterday when her chauffeur-driven car smashed into a giant articulated ruck on the Old Spanish Trail – a winding stretch of highway outside New Orleans,” said the Echo’s front page of June 30, 1967. The more restrained D&S Times, though, had been completely immune to Miss Mansfield’s charms and had reported not a word of her visit to its area or her curious connection to one of its local MPs.