Eden 'was on purple hearts during Suez crisis'

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The reasons behind Sir Anthony Eden's mistake in dispatching British troops to Suez are among the most enduring mysteries of modern politics.

Rumours have circulated for decades that Eden, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957 and was suffering from a debilitating illness at the height of the crisis in 1956, was taking addictive, painkilling drugs that could have clouded his judgement.

Private papers just uncovered in the Eden family archives provide a definitive answer, disclosing that he had been prescribed a powerful combination of amphetamines and barbiturates called drinamyl.

Better known in post-war Britain as "purple hearts", they can impair judgement, cause paranoia and even make the person taking them lose contact with reality. Drinamyl was banned in 1978.

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