It is a mystery that delighted the tabloid editors of the day.

Now, 94 years on, the story of the disappearing Colne Valley MP is back in the spotlight.

Victor Grayson, who was a darling of the newspapers in the early part of the last century, suddenly vanished in London.

One theory had it he had been murdered because he was about to expose an alleged “honours for cash” scandal, while a second suggested he had been working for the British Secret Service and disappeared to be given a new identity and a new life.

Both theories feature strongly in a BBC Radio 4 documentary on Saturday morning.

Tribute to a legendary MP  

Presenter Steve Punt turns private investigator and examines the curious case of the socialist MP who vanished into thin air!

The firebrand politician, champion of the mill workers, scion of the establishment, fancy dresser, hard drinker, man about town Grayson was many things when he erupted onto the public stage in 1907 as the first and last independent socialist MP, aged 26. However this shooting star disappeared from sight in 1920, under mysterious circumstances, with no confirmed sightings after that.

Punt sets out on a trail through Yorkshire valleys, dusty archives and seedy Soho to pick up clues to Victor’s disappearance.

Grayson was elected to the Colne Valley seat in 1907 as an independent Labour candidate in a sensation election.

He later became concerned about an honours scandal and it is said he found links all the way to the then Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

Show producer Neil McCarthy said: “It’s a fascinating story and we have tried to present it as a whodunnit, a detective drama, with a certain amount of humour.

Radio presenter Steve Punt and Mike Shaw at Marsden Socialist Club
 

“We did a lot of work in Colne Valley and in Huddersfield, talking to people such as former Examiner reporter and Colne Valley Guardian editor Mike Shaw and former Colne Valley MP David Clark, now Lord Clark, who wrote a book about Grayson.

“We got a lot of help from the archives section at Huddersfield Library and from the University of Huddersfield, and emerged with some fascinating tales about Grayson.

He was a real darling of the tabloids and certainly a very colourful character.

“We look at both theories about what happened to him and Punt comes down on the side of the Secret Service man given a new life. But who knows?”

The show The Case of The MP Who Vanished goes out on Radio 4 at 10.30am, Saturday, July 26.

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