UPDATED – Yes, Labour politicians need to answer questions about PIE and NCCL, but so do the Tories about Morrison, and the Lib Dems about Smith

In Edwina Currie’s diary entry for July 24th, 1990, she wrote the following:

One appointment in the recent reshuffle has attracted a lot of gossip and could be very dangerous: Peter Morrison has become the PM’s PPS. Now he’s what they call ‘a noted pederast’, with a liking for young boys; he admitted as much to Norman Tebbit when he became deputy chairman of the party, but added, ‘However, I’m very discreet’ – and he must be! She either knows and is taking a chance, or doesn’t; either way it is a really dumb move. Teresa Gorman told me this evening (in a taxi coming back from a drinks party at the BBC) that she inherited Morrison’s (woman) agent, who claimed to have been offered money to keep quiet about his activities. It scares me, as all the press know, and as we get closer to the election someone is going to make trouble, very close to her indeed. (Edwina Currie, Diaries 1987-1992 (London: Little, Brown, 2002), p. 195)

Currie Diaries

The following are the recollections of Grahame Nicholls, who ran the Chester Trades Council (Morrison was the MP for Chester from 1974 to 1992), who wrote:

After the 1987 general election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe station with a 15-year-old boy. A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further. Chester finished up with Gyles Brandreth and Morrison walked away scot-free. I thought you might be interested. (cited in ‘Simon Hoggart’s week’, The Guardian, November 16th, 2012)

Sir Peter Morrison (1944-1995) was known, according to an obituary by Patrick Cosgrove, as a right winger who disliked immigration, supported the return of capital punishment, and wished to introduce vouchers for education. He was from a privileged political family; his father, born John Morrison, became Lord Margadale, the squire of Fonthill, led the campaign to ensure Alec Douglas-Home became Prime Minister in 1963, and predicted Thatcher’s ultimate accession to the leadership (Sue Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’, Daily Mail, July 12th, 2014, updated July 16th). The young Peter attended Eton College, then Keble College, Oxford. Entering the House of Commons in 1974 at the age of 29, during the first Thatcher government he occupied a series of non-cabinet ministerial positions, then became Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1986, replacing Jeffrey Archer after his resignation, and working under Chairman Norman Tebbitt.

Morrison was close to Thatcher from when he entered Parliament (see Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (London: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 837), working for her 1975 leadership campaign and, after she became Prime Minister, putting her and Denis up for holiday in the 73 000 acre estate owned by his father in Islay, where games of charades were played (Jonathan Aitken, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 158-160, 279-281). After being appointed as Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990, he ran what is generally believed to have been a complacent and lacklustre leadership campaign for her when she was challenged by Michael Heseltine; as is well-known, she did not gain enough votes to prevent a second ballot, and then resigned soon afterwards. Morrison was known to some others as ‘a toff’s toff’, who ‘made it very clear from the outset that he did not intend spending time talking to the plebs’ on the backbenches (Stephen Norris, Changing Trains: An Autobiography (London: Hutchinson, 1996), p. 149).

Jonathan Aitken, a close friend of Morrison’s, would later write the following about him:

I knew Peter Morrison as well as anyone in the House. We had been school friends. He was the best man at my wedding in St Margaret’s, Westminster. We shared many private and political confidences. So I knew the immense pressures he was facing at the time when he was suddenly overwhelmed with the greatest new burden imaginable – running the Prime Minister’s election campaign.

Sixteen years in the House of Commons had treated Peter badly. His health had deteriorated. He had an alcohol problem that made him ill, overweight and prone to take long afternoon naps. In the autumn of 1990 he became embroiled in a police investigation into aspects of his personal life. The allegations against him were never substantiated, and the inquiry was subsequently dropped. But at the time of the leadership election, Peter was worried, distracted and unable to concentrate. (Aitken, Margaret Thatcher, pp. 625-626).

An important article by Nick Davies published in The Guardian in April 1998, also made the following claim:

Fleet Street routinely nurtures a crop of untold stories about powerful abusers who have evaded justice. One such is Peter Morrison, formerly the MP for Chester and the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Ten years ago, Chris House, the veteran crime reporter for the Sunday Mirror, twice received tip-offs from police officers who said that Morrison had been caught cottaging in public toilets with underaged boys and had been released with a caution. A less powerful man, the officers complained, would have been charged with gross indecency or an offence against children.

At the time, Chris House confronted Morrison, who used libel laws to block publication of the story. Now, Morrison is dead and cannot sue. Police last week confirmed that he had been picked up twice and never brought to trial. They added that there appeared to be no trace of either incident in any of the official records. (Nick Davies, ‘The sheer scale of child sexual abuse in Britain’, The Guardian, April 1998).

In an article in the Daily Mail published in October 2012, former Conservative MP and leader of the Welsh Tories Rod Richards claimed that Morrison (and another Tory grandee who has not been named) was connected to the terrible abuse scandals in Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn children’s homes, in North Wales, having seen documents which identified both politicians as frequent, unexplained visitors. Richards also claimed that William Hague, who was Secretary of State for Wales from 1995 to 1997, and who set up the North Wales Child Abuse inquiry, would have seen the files on Morrison, but sources close to Hague denied that he had seen any such material. A former resident of the Bryn Estyn care home testified to Channel 4 News, testified to seeing Morrison arrive there on five occasions, and may have driven off with a boy in his car (‘Exclusive: Eyewitness ‘saw Thatcher aide take boys to abuse”, Channel 4 News, November 6th, 2012).

Morrison’s successor as MP for Chester, Gyles Brandreth, wrote that he and his wife Michelle had been told on the doorstep repeatedly and emphatically that the MP was ‘a disgusting pervert’ (David Holmes, ‘Former Chester MP Peter Morrison implicated in child abuse inquiry’, Chester Chronicle, November 8th, 2012). The journalist Simon Heffer has also said that rumours about Morrison were circulating in Tory top ranks as early as 1988, whilst Tebbitt has admitted hearing rumours ‘through unusual channels’, then confronting Morrison about them, which he denied (Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’).

Recently, Thatcher’s bodyguard Barry Strevens has come forward to claim that he told Thatcher directly about allegations of Morrison holding sex parties at his house with underage boys (one aged 15), when told about this by a senior Cheshire Police Officer. (see Lynn Davidson, ‘Exclusive: Thatcher’s Bodyguard on Abuse Claims’, The Sun on Sunday< July 27th, 2014 (article reproduced in comments below); and Matt Chorley, ‘Barry Strevens says he told Iron Lady about rumours about Peter Morrison’, Mail on Sunday, July 27th, 2014). Strevens claimed to have had a meeting with the PM and her PPS Archie Hamilton (now Baron Hamilton of Epsom), which he had requested immediately. Strevens had claimed this was right after the Jeffrey Archer scandal; Archer resigned in October 1986, whilst Hamilton was Thatcher’s PPS from 1987 to 1988. Strevens recalls Thatcher simply thanking him and that was the last he heard of it. He said:

I wouldn’t say she (Lady Thatcher) was naive but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.
I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.

The accounts by Nicholls and Strevens make clear that the allegations – concerning in one case a 15-year old boy – are more serious than said in a later rendition by Currie, which said merely that Morrison ‘had sex with 16-year-old boys when the age of consent was 21’ (cited in Andrew Sparrow, ‘Politics Live’, The Guardian, October 24th, 2012). A further allegation was made by Peter McKelvie, who led the investigation in 1992 into Peter Righton in an open letter to Peter Mandelson. A British Aerospace Trade Union Convenor had said one member had alleged that Morrison raped him, and he took this to the union’s National HQ, who put it to the Labour front bench. A Labour minister reported back to say that the Tory Front Bench had been approached. This was confirmed, according to McKelvie, by second and third sources, and also alleged that the conversations first took place at a 1993-94 Xmas Party hosted by the Welsh Parliamentary Labour Party. Mandelson has not yet replied.

In the 1997 election, Christine Russell herself displaced Brandreth and she served as Labour MP until 2010, when she was unseated by Conservative MP Stephen Mosely (see entry for ‘Christine Russell’ at politics.co.uk).

In 2013, following the publication of Hoggart’s article citing Nicholls, an online petition was put together calling for an inquiry, and submittted to then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State Christopher Grayling. Russell denounced the ‘shoddy journalism’ of the Guardian piece, recalled rumours of Morrison’s preferences, but said there was no hint of illegal acts; she did not however rule out an agreement that Morrison should stand down (‘Campaigners ask for inquiry over ex-Chester MP’, Chester Chronicle, January 3rd, 2013).

Despite being a Labour Party supporter and member, I agree with those who say that the allegations concerning Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt during the time of their positions in the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE – about which more in a later blog post) are not trivial; the fact that the PIE was able to remain affiliated to NCCL for an extended period, despite many newspaper reports about activities of its leading members, some of whom were imprisoned during this period, raises serious questions. But equally if not more important to investigate is the allegation that a very senior Tory politician who was a close personal acquaintance of a Prime Minister, was known by various others to be a pederast, and may have been involved in an awful organised abuse scandal. A new police inquiry was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in November 2012, which became Operation Pallial; a heavily redacted version of the Jillings Report was published in July 2013. In the meantime, allegations fly all over the internet about senior politicians and the child abuse scandal at Elm Guest House in Barnes, as currently being investigated in Operations Fernbridge and Fairbank (the most reliable reports on this can be found at the Exaro website); some of this is internet conspiracy theorising, and the provenance of some sources is questionable, but major names are floating around the cyber-ether, whilst the police have confirmed that one visitor to the house was the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith.

If Labour have explaining to do concerning Harman, Dromey and Hewitt, then so do the Tories about Morrison and the Liberal Democrats about Smith; some of these allegations are not yet proven, but that is all the more reason to address them.

In particular, questions now need to be asked of Lord Tebbit, Teresa Gorman, Edwina Currie and other senior Tories, not to mention Christine Russell and others in Chester Labour Party, of what was known and apparently covered-up about Morrison. The identity of Morrison and Gorman’s agent (I could find no mention of a name in Gorman’s autobiography No, Prime Minister! (London: John Blake, 2001)) must be established and she should be questioned if still around. If money was involved, as Currie alleges was told to her by Gorman, then the seriousness of the allegations is grave. And Lord Steel must be properly held to account (and other senior Liberal Democrats questioned) about what was known about Cyril Smith, and whether they acted in such a way as to enable him to continue to abuse with impunity


16 Comments on “UPDATED – Yes, Labour politicians need to answer questions about PIE and NCCL, but so do the Tories about Morrison, and the Lib Dems about Smith”

  1. […] Magpie in 1979). I have blogged at length reproducing documents relating to NCCL and PIE (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and also on the Whitehall senior civil servant (formerly a […]

  2. […] We also know that senior diplomat and MI6 officer Peter Hayman was an active member of PIE, and that members of PIE (including Smith – see above) received active political and legal support from a current High Court Judge (see Beckford, ‘High Court judge’, above); a further judge, now Chief Coroner, Peter Thornton, was also involved with the provision such support (Martin Beckford, ‘Now Chief Coroner is exposed as paedophile apologist who wanted age of consent to be 14′, Daily Mail, March 16th, 2014). Leading PIE member Peter Righton managed to wean his way into the whole social work and child protection world, occupying senior and influential positions (see a whole range of articles here), and his name has been linked to networks operating in public schools (see Eileen Fairweather, ‘Paedophile ring alleged at top public schools’, Standard, September 19th, 1996) and children’s homes. Not to mention PIE being affiliated to NCCL, who would take out adverts in two different PIE publications, Understanding Paedophilia and Magpie; current senior Labour politicians, including Deputy Leader Harriet Harman and Shadow Minister for Policing Jack Dromey were involved at the heart of NCCL at this time. The names of other senior politicians, including late MPs Peter Morrison (Conservative) and Cyril Sm… […]

  3. […] Magpie in 1979). I have blogged at length reproducing documents relating to NCCL and PIE (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and also on the Whitehall senior civil servant (formerly a […]

  4. […] today), not to mention the as yet far-from-clarified situation involving the late Peter Morrison, about whom I have blogged at length, involving allegations (based upon accounts by Conservative politicians) of cover-up and even […]

  5. Outlaw says:

    Hi, could you please contact me at the email supplied re: this article..

  6. […] Yes, Labour politicians need to answer questions about PIE and NCCL, but so do the Tories about Morr… (25/2/14) […]

  7. […] connected to Elm Guest House and elsewhere, major information concerning late MPs Cyril Smith and Peter Morrison and serious allegations about others who are living (not least the severe claim that a Blair era […]

  8. […] connected to Elm Guest House and elsewhere, major information concerning late MPs Cyril Smith andPeter Morrison and serious allegations about others who are living (not least the severe claim that a Blair era […]

  9. […] the reports say that there was no evidence that Ministers or others were aware of sexual abuse. As I have blogged about elsewhere, Edwina Currie also recounted in her Diaries knowledge that former Deputy Chairman of the […]

  10. […] that attached itself to gay rights campaigns in the 1970s; the Labour Party and the left’s complacency about and collusion with the organisation has recently come back to haunt it. We also now know that some prominent […]

  11. Ian Pace says:

    The Sun (England)

    July 27, 2014 Sunday
    Edition 1;

    I told Mrs T police were probing top Tory’s sex parties with young boys;


    SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 30,31

    LENGTH: 1269 words

    A FORMER top policeman has told how he warned PM Margaret Thatcher that one of her senior aides was suspected of holding sex parties for underage boys.

    Personal bodyguard Barry Strevens informed Maggie of damning intelligence that Peter Morrison could be a paedo – but she ignored it and promoted him to a key role regardless.
    Maggie appointed Morrison, who she trusted as a loyal confidant, to be deputy party chairman in the 1980s despite police misgivings about his private life.

    Besides rumours of sex parties, stories abounded of him kerb-crawling and being cautioned for having sex with a boy of 15 in a public toilet.

    Old Etonian Morrison – now dead – has since also been linked to scandals at children’s homes in Wales. Last night Barry, now 70 and retired, said of Mrs Thatcher’s decision to promote him: “I wouldn’t say she was naive but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.

    “I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.”

    In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, ex-detective chief inspector Barry said he first heard rumours about Morrison from a senior Cheshire Police officer.

    He knew Mrs T was considering appointing Morrison, the MP for Chester, as deputy party chairman to replace disgraced Jeffrey Archer – who had stepped down over prostitute allegations in 1986.

    So he immediately dashed to Downing Street and had an evening meeting with the PM and her private secretary Archie Hamilton, who took notes of what was said.

    Barry recalled: “A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about underage boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison.

    “After we returned to No10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that so they would have known it was something serious.

    “When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.

    “There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more.
    “This was just after the Jeffrey Archer scandal and I knew she needed to know about it because they were deciding on the appointment of the next deputy chairman. “I always told her things straight, as I saw them. She listened and thanked me.

    “I assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Peter Morrison following that.
    “When he was appointed I assumed there had been nothing to the claims – as there was no way on earth she would have given him the job otherwise.”

    Since then Morrison has been named in connection with a series of official inquiries into allegations of child abuse in North Wales children’s homes. But even at the time of his appointment there were stories of him being seen kerb-crawling for rent boys in central London and being cautioned for having sex in a public toilet in Crewe with a 15-year old boy.

    ‘He was supportive and she liked him’ Senior Tory figure Lord Tebbit even admitted hearing rumours about Morrison and young boys and confronting him – and being met with a flat denial.
    Morrison, a member of a wealthy family who own the Scottish island of Islay, was a close confidant of Mrs T. She spent her first holiday as PM on the whisky-producing Hebridean isle and Barry, who accompanied her on one trip, remembered Morrison as an affable chap.

    He said: “He was very personable. She liked him. He was very supportive to her.

    “I’m sure Peter knew I had spoken to her about him because he mentioned something to me when we were away in the US and I knew what he was referring to.”

    Morrison’s father John was made Lord Margadale in recognition of his services to the Conservatives and he himself was knighted in 1988.

    Maggie later made him her parliamentary private secretary and put him in charge of her disastrous re-election campaign in 1990, where she lost office.

    However Morrison continued to work for her out of loyalty as an unpaid parliamentary aide. He died of a heart attack at 51 in 1995. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a full-scale investigation into historical claims of child abuse at Westminster and an alleged paedophile ring.
    Asked whether Maggie had considered the possibility some of her closest aides were paedophiles, Barry said he thought she would have had no idea.

    He said: “It was a different generation and she would need solid proof to convince her.
    “If all the rumours turn out to be true I am sad because Peter Morrison failed Maggie.”

    Speaking outside his Westminster flat, Archie Hamilton confirmed Barry Strevens’ account of coming to No10 but failed to remember there being any mention of underage boys.

    He said: “I remember Barry Strevens coming in and what he actually said at the time was that there were parties at Peter Morrison’s home in Cheshire and there were only men who were there.

    “I don’t remember him saying they were underage. There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved in the party.

    “She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there.”
    Asked about rumours at Westminster about Peter Morrison, he added: “There were always rumours if you weren’t married, whoever you were.”


    DYNASTY WITH LINKS TO TOP SIR Peter Morrison was part of a rich political dynasty loyal to the Conservatives. His father John was a close friend of Margaret Thatcher and his sister Mary is one of the Queen’s most senior ladies-in-waiting. Morrison, who studied law at Oxford, became MP for Chester in 1974. Described as a closet gay – and said by fellow Tory MP Edwina Currie to be a “noted pederast” – he reportedly took young boys to his hunting lodge in Scotland. In 2012 ex-minister Rod Richards implicated him in the North Wales homes scandals where up to 650 children were abused.

    The 32yrs trying to find truth November 1983: Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens hands dossier on alleged child abusers in establishment to Home Secretary Leon Brittan. March 1984: Mr Brittan informs Mr Dickens the 40-page dossier has been assessed and given to police. October 1986: Maggie Thatcher’s bodyguard tells her of sex allegations concerning Peter Morrison. May 1995: Mr Dickens dies. His wife later destroys a copy of the dossier.
    September 2010: Death of Rochdale MP Cyril Smith, who was never charged with any child abuse offences. September 2012: Jimmy Savile abuse scandal breaks. October 2012: Labour MP Tom Watson claims “clear intelligence” suggests a powerful paedo network linked to Parliament and No10. November 2012: New Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk claims Cyril Smith, right, sexually abused boys. CPS reveals it considered allegations against him. December 2012: Cops set up Operation Fairbank to look into allegations about Elm Guest House, where it is claimed establishment figures abused boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
    March 2013: Lord Brittan is asked about the dossier by journalists but has “no recollection” of it.
    December: London home of Labour peer Lord Janner is searched by police. He is not arrested.
    June 2014: Lord Janner’s Westminster office is searched by police. Later it emerges the Home Office can find no record of Mr Dickens’ dossier.
    July 2: Lord Brittan confirms receiving a dossier and asking the Home Office to “look carefully” at it.
    July 7: Home Secretary Theresa May launches child abuse inquiry.
    July 8: Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is made chairman of review into abuse. July 13: She quits when it is revealed her late brother Sir Michael Havers tried to stop suspected paedophiles being named in Commons.

    See also:


  12. […] Peter Righton to VIP child abuse network’, Sunday People, April 6th, 2013), North Wales (where MP Peter Morrison, Margaret Thatcher’s PPS, has alleged to have abused boys), Haute de la Garenne (Jersey), a series of public schools, networks in Sweden, Malta, Denmark and […]

  13. […] Welsh Tories Rod Richard has claimed that the late MP Peter Morrison (PPS to Margaret Thatcher), who was known by several other colleagues to be a ‘pederast’, was involved in the abuse of children in North Wales, and as Welsh Secretary at the time the […]

  14. Ian Pace says:

    Other articles published in July (I will integrate these into the main text in time)



    July 27, 2014 Sunday 8:38 PM GMT

    Thatcher’s bodyguard says he warned her about underage sex rumours about close aide amid claims senior ministers were named in dossier



    LENGTH: 2023 words

    Barry Strevens says he told Iron Lady about rumours about Peter Morrison
    Thatcher listened during No.10 meeting, but went on to promote her aide
    New claims emerged about dossier handed to Home Secretary Leon Brittan
    Reports ministers Keith Joseph and Rhodes Boyson were named
    Margaret Thatcher and her ministers were warned of child abuse claims against senior Tory figures in the 1980s, it was claimed today.
    A former bodyguard to the Iron Lady revealed he told her to her face about rumours about one of her closest aides holding parties with underage boys.
    And it was claimed a dossier on Establishment abuse handed to then-Home Secretary Leon Brittan named senior ministers Sir Keith Joseph and Sir Rhodes Boyson.
    Scroll down for video
    Westminster has been rocked by claims of senior politicians involved in sex abuse, and allegations of a cover-up.
    Home Secretary Theresa May ordered a wide-ranging inquiry into how successive governments, charities, political parties, the NHS, the BBC and the Church failed to protect children from paedophiles.
    But its chairman Baroness Butler-Sloss was forced to quit over criticism that her brother, Sir Michael Havers, had been attorney general in the Cabinet in the 1980s, and was accused of a ‘cover-up’ over a refusal to prosecute Foreign Office diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, who was a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange.
    Two weeks on, there is still no sign of a new chairman being appointed, but the tide of allegations about child abuse at the highest levels of the Establishment continue to emerge.
    Barry Strevens, who worked as Mrs Thatcher’s personal bodyguard, said that he passed on allegations about her confidant Sir Peter Morrison.
    He said that Lady Thatcher appointed Sir Peter deputy party chairman of the Conservatives despite learning of the rumours.
    Mr Strevens said that he ‘immediately’ passed on the information to Lady Thatcher and her private secretary Archie Hamilton at a meeting in Downing Street.
    ‘A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about under-age boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison,’ he told the Sun on Sunday.
    ‘After we returned to No10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that, so they would have know it was something serious.
    ‘When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.
    ‘There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more.’
    Responding to the claims, Mr Hamilton said that he remembered that the officer had been at No10 but could not recall any mention of under-age boys.
    ‘I don’t remember him saying they were under-age,’ he said. ‘There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved.
    ‘She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there.’
    Sir Peter, an Old Etonian who died of a heart attack in 1995 at the age of 51, has since been linked to claims of sex abuse at children’s homes in North Wales.
    Mr Strevens, an ex-detective chief inspector, said: ‘I wouldn’t say she (Lady Thatcher) was naive but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.
    ‘I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.’
    Tory grandee Lord Tebbit has previously stated that he confronted Sir Peter over the allegations and received a flat denial.
    Former Conservative MP Edwina Currie also described him as a ‘noted pederast’ with a liking for young boys.
    Educated at Oxford and elected as MP for Chester in 1974, Sir Peter came from a wealthy political dynasty who own the whisky-producing island of Islay in the Hebrides.
    His father was close friends with Lady Thatcher while his sister Mary is one of the Queen’s most senior ladies-in-waiting.
    Knighted in 1988, he later became the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary before running her 1990 re-election campaign, which saw her lose office.
    Meanwhile, fresh claims have emerged about the controversial dossier handed to Leon Brittan by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.
    The Home Office says it cannot find the file, along with more than 100 relevant files dating from 1979 to 1999 which have been destroyed or lost.
    However parts of the file were referred to in papers compiled by Labour’s Barbara Castle who investigated allegations linking MPs, peers, the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Paedophile Information Exchange.
    It is claimed Sir Keith Joseph and Sir Rhodes Boyson were both named.
    A source told the Sunday Mirror: ‘A lot of Baroness Castle’s file was made up of Geoffrey Dickens’ dossier.
    ‘She’d been leaked files because the feeling was it was all being hushed up and Dickens was getting nowhere with his campaign to expose this.’
    Two weeks ago former Tory activist Anthony Gilberthorpe says he was handed cash and told to ‘fetch entertainment’ – code for young boys – by members of Mrs Thatcher’s government.
    He named former former-Education Secretary Keith Joseph and ex-local government minister Rhodes Boyson. Both are now dead.
    Lord Brittan, who was Home Secretary from 1983 to 1985, said earlier this month: ‘It has been alleged that when I was Home Secretary I failed to deal adequately with the papers containing allegations of serious sexual impropriety that I received from Geoff Dickens. This is completely without foundation, as evidence from the Home Office’s own report supports.
    ‘I passed this bundle of papers to the relevant Home Office officials for examination, as was the normal and correct practice. I wrote to Mr Dickens on 20 March 1984 informing him of the conclusions of the Director of Public Prosecutions about these matters.’
    The chilling claims that a paedophile ring may have been operating within the British establishment first emerged in an investigation by campaigning Conservative politician Geoffrey Dickens.
    In November 1983, the MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth in Greater Manchester sent a 40-page document to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan detailing alleged VIP child abusers, apparently including former Liberal party chief whip Cyril Smith and other senior politicians.
    In a newspaper interview at the time, Mr Dickens claimed his dossier contained the names of eight ‘really important public figures’ that he planned to expose, and whose crimes are believed to have stretched back to the 1960s.
    November 1983:
    Geoffrey Dickens produces a huge dossier detailing allegations of sexual abuse against prominent figures in the British establishment. He tells his family the claims will ‘blow apart’ the VIP paedophile ring.
    March 1984:
    Home Secretary Leon Brittan tells Mr Dickens that his dossier has been assessed by prosecutors and passed on to the police, but no further action is taken. The dossier is now either lost or missing.
    May 1995
    Geoffrey Dickens dies. A short time later his wife destroys his copy of the paedophile dossier. The only other copies – one received by Mr Brittan and another allegedly sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions – are believed to have been lost or destroyed.
    September 2010
    The 29-stone Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith dies aged 82 without ever being charged with sex offences.
    Following the death of Sir Jimmy Savile, dozens of claims of historic child abuse emerge – including a number of alleged victims of Smith, who is said to have spanked and sexually abused teenage boys at a hostel he co-founded in the early 1960s.
    October 2012
    During Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP Tom Watson claims there is ‘clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No10’.
    November 2012
    Lancashire Police announced they will be investigating claims of sexual abuse by Smith relating to incidents before 1974, while Greater Manchester Police will investigate claims after 1974.
    November 2012
    The Crown Prosecution Service admits Smith should have been charged with crimes of abuse more than 40 years earlier. The CPS also admitted Smith had been investigated in 1970, 1974, 1998, and 1999 but rejected every opportunity to prosecute him.
    November 2012
    A former special branch officer, Tony Robinson, says a historic dossier ‘packed’ with information about Smith’s sex crimes was actually in the hands of Mi5 – despite officially having been ‘lost’ decades earlier.
    December 2012
    Scotland Yard sets up Operation Fairbank to investigate claims a paedophile ring operated at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London, in the 1970s and 80s. Among those abusing children are said to have been a number of prominent politicians.
    February 2013
    Operation Fernbridge is established to investigate the Elm Guest House alleged paedophile ring.
    February 2013
    It is claimed a ‘paedophile ring of VIPs’ also operated at the Grafton Close Children’s Home in Richmond, Surrey.
    February 2013
    Two men, a Catholic priest from Norwich, and a man understood to be connected to Grafton Close, arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and questioned by Operation Fernbridge officers.
    June 2013
    Scotland Yard claims that seven police officers are working full time on Operation Fernbridge and are following more than 300 leads.
    June 2013
    Charles Napier, the half-brother of senior Conservative politician John Whittingdale, is arrested by Operation Fairbank officers.
    December 2013
    Some senior Labour party politicians linked to pro-paedophile campaign group the Paedophile Information Exchange, which was affiliated with the National Council for Civil Liberties pressure group, now known as Liberty, in the 1970s and early 1980s.
    December 2013
    Police search the home of Lord Janner as part of a historical sex abuse investigation. He is not arrested.
    February 2014
    Current deputy leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman, who was NCCL’s in-house lawyer at the time of its affiliation with PIE and even met her husband Jack Dromey while working there, is forced to deny she supported the activities of the pro-paedophile collective.
    February 2014
    Patricia Hewitt, Labour’s former Secretary of State for Health who was NCCL’s general secretary for nine years, later apologised and said she had been ‘naive and wrong’ to consider PIE a legitimate campaign group.
    June 2014
    Lord Janner’s Westminster office is searched by police. Again the peer is not arrested.
    July 3, 2014
    Labour MP Simon Danczuk called on Leon Brittan to say what he knew about the Dickens dossier. It emerges the dossier has now been either lost or destroyed and the Home Office admits it can find no evidence of any criminal inquiry relating to it.
    July 5, 2014
    More than 10 current and former politicians are said to be on a list of alleged child abusers held by police investigating claims of an alleged paedophile ring.
    July 6, 2014
    Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill reveals that 114 files relating to historic allegations of child sex abuse, from between 1979 and 1999, have disappeared from the Home Office.
    It is also revealed that former Home Secretary Lord Brittan was accused of raping a student in 1967. The 2012 allegation was not investigated until Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders ordered the Met Police to re-open the case in June this year.

  15. […] the reports say that there was no evidence that Ministers or others were aware of sexual abuse. As I have blogged about elsewhere, Edwina Currie also recounted in her Diaries knowledge that former Deputy Chairman of the […]

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