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One evening, Floyd and two comrades went to a cinema in Swindon to see a documentary film called Our Fighting Navy.

Floyd had been secretary of the Oxford University branch of the Communist Party and was married to a communist.The man who had tipped them off was Kim Philby, a high-ranking MI6 officer who lost his own job soon afterwards when he, too, was suspected of being a Soviet mole.Understandably, the Americans — who shared huge amounts of highly classified material with the British — were incensed.He had two criminal convictions and had been in prison.Even so, he was appointed to sensitive posts by the Foreign Office.Chillingly, he seemed to treat such traitorous work as a joke.

He said: ‘I rather enjoyed the cloak-and-dagger atmosphere which will be familiar to anyone who has read the spy stories of the Cold War.’His contacts with the Kremlin dated back to 1964 and it wasn’t until 1994 that he was exposed — to the horror of the paper’s then editor, the genuinely incorruptible Peter Preston.

As both men had been educated at public schools and at Cambridge, it seemed something was very rotten at the heart of the British Establishment.

Until now, however, it was not generally known that the Foreign Office and MI5 had discovered yet another Soviet agent in their midst, whose treachery was kept secret.

His son Sir Christopher Floyd, now a Lord Justice of Appeal, appears to have known nothing about his father’s secret past.

‘It’s very shocking for me to hear this,’ Sir Christopher told The Sunday Times.

Yesterday, The Sunday Times reported that a Foreign Office official called David Floyd had passed material to the Soviets during the Forties while employed in the Russian secretariat of the British Embassy in Moscow.