LORD Lambton was the victim of a dirty tricks operation by British intelligence when he resigned after a sex and drugs scandal, it has been claimed.
RAF Minister Lord Lambton quit the Government in 1973 after being photographed naked in bed with two call girls and smoking a cannabis cigarette.
It was always believed the picture was taken by a national newspaper acting independently, but it has now been sensationally claimed that MI6 had a hand in Lambton's downfall.
Former MI6 agent Lee Tracey told the Mail on Sunday that his bosses wanted to expose Lambton in a bid to embarrass MI5, which had failed to act against his activities.
Mr Tracey claimed he supplied a night-vision lens to the News of the World, which allowed the newspaper's photographer to take the photograph from a cupboard.
He said he received a phone call telling him to loan the specialist equipment to the paper.
The Echo revealed last month that a security services report into the scandal raised fears that Lambton would be driven to suicide.
The concerns were contained in files released to the National Archive under the 30-year rule, which detailed a Security Commission inquiry by MI5 officer Charles Elwell.
Lambton, who was the son of the Earl of Durham and lived at Biddick Hall, near Chester-le-Street, was caught by the photographer at a flat in Maida Vale, north London.
It belonged to Norma Russell who was said to be one of a ring of 15 prostitutes "who would only take millionaires and top people".
The case came to light when she told the police that her husband, alleged drugs trafficker Colin Levy, had been trying to expose her contacts to the press.
The police discovered that Levy had arranged for a News of the World photographer to secretly photograph Lambton through a peephole in the flat, although the paper turned down the story.
When he was interviewed by the police Levy claimed to have 15 more photographs, as well as naming three other men who, he claimed, were clients of the prostitute ring.
The Mail on Sunday claimed Lambton had been seeing Ms Russell for at least six weeks before the scandal broke and both MI5 and MI6 knew about it from the beginning.
Ms Russell worked as a hostess at the Eve Club in London and her involvement with Lambton was common knowledge among staff.
Helen O'Brien, the wife of the club's owner, was a British intelligence agent, said the paper, and it is believed she informed MI6 about Lambton and Ms Russell because Ms Russell had many powerful and influential foreigners among her clients.
Author Stephen Dorril, who has researched Lambton's case, said MI6 was heavily involved in domestic operations in the 1970s.