To HASC – questions to ask to stop child abuse being exploited for party-political gain

This afternoon (Wednesday October 21st, 2015), the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) will be taking evidence relating to allegations and investigations into the abuse of children committed by VIPs (and in at least one case, alleged rape of an adult woman) from five important people: Detective Chief Inspector Paul Settle, formerly of Operation Fernbridge, Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse of the Metropolitan Police, Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a prominent campaigner on child abuse, and Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions. A report this morning makes clear that the committee have decided not to interview Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and Conservative candidate for London Mayor.

Over the last two weeks, ever since the broadcast on October 5th of the BBC Panorama programme on the alleged VIP Paedophile Ring, there has been a concerted media campaign targeting Tom Watson above all, who has been labelled a ‘witchfinder general’, as responsible for supposedly unfounded claims of high level abuse. I do know Tom personally, vouched for the importance of his work on abuse as part of his deputy leadership campaign materials, and so obviously am far from impartial, but can see in absolute honesty that I do not recognise the figure portrayed by much of the press, and also have very strong reason to believe Tom has acted with integrity and in good faith. I suspect that his conciliatory position as deputy to new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, despised by the right-wing media and many Blairite elements in the party, is fuelling this campaign. Furthermore, there are complicated reasons which may become apparent this afternoon why some conflicts have arisen between various parties all devoted to uncovering and preventing child abuse by prominent persons. Last week I posted a detailed timeline of events relating to Leon Brittan, which I believe show clearly that the decision to pursue further the rape investigation into him, after it had been dropped, came from the Met, not from Tom.

The following are issues I implore all members of HASC to consider before questioning this afternoon.


Allegations of a statement taken by an ex-customs officer about the late Lord Brittan

The distinguished journalist Tim Tate has written what to my mind is the most important piece on the allegations surrounding Leon Brittan (later Lord Brittan). Tate does not accept the claims, printed in Exaro and elsewhere, that a video seized in 1982 from Russell Tricker featured the Home Secretary themselves, but crucially claims that a statement was taken from the customs official in question, Maganlal Solanki, attesting to having seized video tapes from Brittan upon entering the country at some point in the 1980s. If a written statement exists attesting to this, it is of crucial importance in establishing whether there might be any truth in the allegations against Brittan. HASC should ask Settle to explain whether this exists or not. Furthermore, at the time of the 1982 siege of Elm Guest House, a then-eight-year-old boy was found and questioned, later (now an adult living in the US) questioned by detectives from Operation Fernbridge. On at least one occasion, this boy identified an ‘Uncle Leon’ from the ‘big house’ as being involved. It is equally vital that Settle is questioned about this. Furthermore, Solanki should also be summoned to speak to HASC.

Tate sent the following questions to the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (to the best of my knowledge he has not yet received an answer) – I suggest these are equally relevant for HASC:

1. Has the Inquiry yet established direct contact with Operation Fernbridge ?
2. Will the Inquiry be examining documentary evidence held by Operation Fernbridge concerning its investigations into the late Baron Brittan ?
3. Specifically, will the Inquiry secure from Operation Fernbridge copies of all such documents including, but not limited to, formal statements made under caution, officers’ notebooks, internal memoranda and historical documents acquired during its investigation into the late Baron Brittan ?
4. Does the Inquiry plan to require public testimony from the current head of Operation Fernbridge, AND its former senior investigating officer, [NAME REDACTED HERE] concerning the late Baron Brittan?
5. Does the Inquiry plan to require public testimony from the former Customs and Excise officer Maganlal Solanki who gave evidence to Operation Fernbridge concerning the alleged seizure of child pornography from the late Baron Brittan ?
6. Does the Inquiry plan to take evidence from the US Marshall formerly attached to Operation Fernbridge in connection with a visit he made at the request of Operation Fernbridge to a suspected victim of Baron Brittan ?
7. Does the Inquiry plan to publish the documents acquired and/or generated by Operation Fernbridge during the course of its investigation into Baron Brittan ?


Involvement of other MPs

By far the majority of the focus has been on Tom Watson, but other MPs have been equally involved with campaigning on abuse, and some have made more extravagant claims or threats. Specifically:

1. The Labour MP John Mann has handed police a list of 22 politicians alleged to have been involved with the abuse of children. Furthermore, in July last year, Mann indicated the possibility of using Parliamentary privilege to name abusers.

2. The Labour MP Simon Danczuk also threatened to use Parliamentary privilege to name a politician alleged to have visited Elm Guest House; whilst Danczuk did not ultimately do so, it is widely believed to have been Brittan.

3. On October 28th, 2014, the Labour MP Jim Hood did indeed name Brittan in Parliament. The following day, Danczuk backed Hood for having done so.

4. On November 27th, 2014, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith said the following:

We need only consider the Elm guest house in Barnes, which was run by Haroon and Carole Kasir. It was raided more than 30 years ago, back in 1982. The couple were fined and given suspended sentences for running a disorderly house, but at the time there were already questions and allegations around the abuse of young children at the house. Allegedly—we are reliably told this—12 boys gave evidence in 1982 that they had been abused, yet all these allegations simply evaporated at the time, some 30 years ago. They are only resurfacing now.

When Mrs Kasir died a few years after the house was raided, in very odd circumstances, a child protection campaigner from the National Association Of Young People In Care called for a criminal investigation into events at Elm guest house. He said he had been told by Mrs Kasir that boys had been brought in from a local children’s home—Grafton Close, also in Richmond—for sex, and that she had photographs of establishment figures at her hotel. One of them apparently showed a former Cabinet Minister in a sauna with a naked boy. She had logbooks, names, times, dates, pictures of her customers and so on. All that evidence simply disappeared after the raids and no longer exists. That is astonishing.

The Met has since confirmed that Cyril Smith visited the place—the hon. Member for Rochdale has made this point—and at least three other men named in documents as visitors to the Elm guest house were later convicted of multiple sexual offences against children. It is impossible to believe there was not a cover up. This is not sloppiness; there has to be more to it than that.

I was quite surprised when I watched the broadcast of this debate in November to hear these claims, which are thought to be tenuous by many campaigners, presented in Parliament. Questions have been rightly asked about Goldsmith’s source for the claims – the Mail journalist Guy Adams suggests it was like to be either Chris Fay or Mike Broad (Fay has e-mailed me to indicate that he has never met nor had any contact with Goldsmith). Furthermore, Goldsmith participated in an Australian documentary Spies, Lords and Predators, broadcast in July this year and heavily influenced by the reporting of Exaro, which has come under severe criticism.

5. The Conservative MP and HASC member Tim Loughton, who has in the last few days started charging Watson with setting himself up as ‘judge, jury, and executioner’ over individual cases, himself threatened in July 2014 to use what he called the ‘nuclear option’ to name suspected paedophiles in Parliament. He also called for action from the inquiry in November 2014 following allegations from Exaro about MPs throwing sex parties involving the abuse of children, murder, and more.

Many of these are stronger claims or threats than anything by Tom Watson, who in a November 2014 interview with Guardian journalist Decca Aitkenhead said just that at least one politician had abused children.

HASC needs to speak to Mann, Danczuk, Hood, Goldsmith, and Loughton.


Allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring

It is often claimed that Tom Watson has alleged the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring. This would be truer of Danczuk (I am not absolutely sure if he has specifically used the term, but will check); Watson’s question to the Prime Minister on October 24th, 2012 contained the following words:

The evidence file used to convict paedophile Peter Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring. One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad. The leads were not followed up, but if the file still exists I want to ensure that the Metropolitan police secure the evidence, re-examine it and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No. 10.

A network which is linked to Parliament and No. 10 is not the same thing as a Westminster paedophile ring. There is no doubt that a network existed around Righton, at the very least featuring other committee members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, such as Charles Napier, convicted and sentenced last December to 13 years for hundreds of sexual assaults upon young boys, or Righton’s partner Richard Alston, jailed in September for 21 months for child abuse charges, in a trial at which claims emerged of sessions involving Alston, Righton and Napier together.

The link to Parliament and No. 10 rests upon claims made in a document about which I am not at liberty to write now. Tom Watson’s source for his original PMQ was retired child protection worker Peter McKelvie, who last week resigned from the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel to the inquiry.

Scapegoats are being made of McKelvie and Watson in a bid to stop further investigation of a wide range of claims about politicians of which both are aware. It is vital that HASC also summon McKelvie and ask him about this specific claim mentioned by Watson in 2012.

If HASC will deal seriously with these claims, they will be carrying out their proper role, and not serving simply as a front for political point-scoring. The issue of high-level child abuse is far too serious for this, and it would be a tragedy if the cross-party consensus which was previously built on this were now to be abandoned.

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Peter Righton – Counselling Homosexuals (1973)

The following is the publication Counselling Homosexuals: A study of personal needs and public attitudes (London: Bedford Square Press, 1973) by Peter Righton. It includes his public thoughts on the relationship between homosexuality, pederasty and paedophilia.

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Peter Righton’s writing on child abuse in Child Care: Concerns and Conflicts – his cynical exploitation of a post-Cleveland situation

In light of the conviction yesterday of Peter Righton‘s lover Richard Alston on child abuse charges, in which information was brought to the court’s attention about Alston and Righton abusing a boy together, I intend to update my blog posts on Righton (who was on the executive committee of the Paedophile Information Exchange, and wrote openly about paedophilia) to include more information about Alston, which I previous omitted as he was still awaiting trial which I would not have wished to prejudice. I also plan to blog some more information specific to Alston. But here is another essay from Righton which I am blogging here for the first time.

Peter Righton in 1992.

In 1976 Righton co-edited with Sonia Morgan a collection of essays entitled Child Care: Concerns and Conflicts (London: Hodder Education, 1989), a revised edition of which appeared in 1989, for which Righton also wrote an introduction, which I have reproduced below.

In this introduction, Righton writes first on the family, which he portrays primarily as a site of conflict and tension in light of increasing rates of divorce, remarriage and single-parent families, and advocates a greater degree of sharing of care responsibilities between families and agencies in such situations. It is not difficult to see how this constitutes a strategy on the part of Righton and other paedophiles to increase the availability of deeply vulnerable children for exploitation.

Then Righton includes a section on Child Abuse (following a brief mention of it in the section on the family). Whilst at first he is very keen to stress how the majority of child abuse occurs in the family (which while true is something often flagged up by non-familial paedophiles to take the attention of them), and then draws attention to the 1987 Cleveland Child Sexual Abuse Case, in which 121 diagnoses were made during a five month period leading to children being taken away from their parents and placed in care or hospital on grounds of suspected abuse. The subsequent inquiry, chaired by Lord Justice Butler-Sloss, concluded that most of the diagnoses were inaccurate, and most of the children were returned to their parents. Righton cites this case in order to highlight the danger of false allegations, and goes on (in a manner which is most familiar from PIE and other paedophile publications) to argue that the damage done to children by investigations by social workers and others can be as great or greater than the damage of abuse itself. Righton evokes the idea of a boy or girl who ‘has denied that he or she has been subject to molestation by a parent, yet knows that denial is not believed’, as if this were the primary form of disbelief about which one should be worried.

I do not intend here to express a view on the validity or otherwise of the particular reflex anal dilation test which (nor am I in any sense qualified to do so) by Dr Marietta Higgs and Dr Geoffrey Wyatt. But I offer this to show just quite how cynically a paedophile like Righton could snap up any chance available to portray over-zealous social workers intervening in cases of suspected child abuse. Ultimately, what Righton wanted was least intrusion as he and his networks continued to abuse children in the most hideous manner. That he was able to obtain a position of such respect in the social work profession, and use this to propagate his insidious propaganda, is deeply disturbing.

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Reports from the Richard Alston Trial

[EDIT: Now that a verdict has been reached in this trial, I can mention that in many of my earlier blog posts on Peter Righton, I have deliberately omitted anything relating to Richard Alston, New Barns School, and so on, as he was facing trial, which I did not want to prejudice. I intend soon to update most of these accordingly – mostly importantly this post and this one. Richard Alston contributed to various books written or edited by Donald Mitchell, Benjamin Britten’s publisher and later director of the Britten Estate. There is undoubtedly much more to be revealed about the relationship between Alston, Righton and Mitchell.]


Press Association Mediapoint
, August 17th, 2015
Nina Massey, ‘Remedial School Teacher ‘Groomed 11-Year-Old Boy’
(Versions of this printed in Daily Mirror and some regional newspapers)

A former teacher at a remedial school molested an 11-year-old boy at a school camp and spent years grooming him with his boyfriend, a court has heard.

Richard Alston, 70, met the alleged victim while working as a teacher at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

But after starting to touch the youngster inappropriately on school grounds, Alston invited him up to the flat he shared with his partner, Peter Righton.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Alston began molesting the youngster after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Prosecutor Peter Clement said: “If he said anything, it could be explained away – ‘I was doing nothing but comforting the boy who had just fallen’.

“If he didn’t say anything then that boy was susceptible to more serious sexual conduct.”

Mr Clement said that Alston touched the boy over his clothing to “gauge” his reaction.

He added: “The Crown suggest that at the first indecent assault the defendant realised that there was little or no prospect of complaint and he exploited that.”

Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant’s tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.

Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old’s tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him goodnight after “story time”.

Alston, who as a teacher was in a position of trust, is alleged to have started grooming the boy after realising that the youngster would deliver milk to his address as part of his milk round.

“It is here that the defendant and his then partner further groomed and acted indecently towards that boy,” said Mr Clement.

Jurors heard that they would tip the youngster 75p, and regularly started inviting him up to their flat, offering him beer, cigarettes and other gifts.

On one occasion Righton – now deceased – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and “parade” in front of himself and Alston.

Mr Clement said: “He did as he was asked. It was a purposefully quasi-sexual act.”

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Jurors were told that while the youngster saw the two adults as “friends”, their motivation was to indecently assault him.

“He regarded both adults as friends who paid him attention and gave him treats.

“By this point, the defendant, together with his partner, had something of a hold over this boy,” said Mr Clement.

Although the youngster said nothing of the alleged abuse at the time, when he was 16 he confronted Righton about what he had been subjected to, jurors were told.

Mr Clement said: “Peter Righton dismissed this complaint and told him he had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence and that no-one would believe him.

“And that worked because it meant that he did not say anything for many many years.”

Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, denies six counts of indecent assault, and four counts of indecency with a child, in the late 1970s.

Giving evidence, the complainant described Alston and Righton as “really nice guys”.

When asked why he had not said anything after the first incident in the playground, he replied: “I was embarrassed. I didn’t think I would be believed – all series of emotions, really.”

The alleged victim also told jurors that he had introduced other boys to Alston and Righton.

Mr Clement asked if he went to the flat alone.

The witness replied: “I wasn’t always alone, no, I introduced other boys to Peter and Richard, they kept asking if I knew any friends.”

Recalling how the couple had given him 75p tips for delivering milk, he added: “Back in the ’70s, at 11 years old, that was a lot of money. That was a lot of money in those days.”

Asked about his visits to the flat, the complainant said: “I was fine with going to their house. They seemed like really nice guys.

“In a word I wouldn’t want for anything, I could get whatever I liked – toys, sweets, anything, money – they were always very generous.”


Press Association Mediapoint
, August 18th, 2015
Nina Massey, ‘Accused Ex-Teacher ‘Romped with Children’ on Classroom Mattress’

A former teacher who allegedly molested an 11-year-old pupil kept a mattress in his classroom on which he “romped with children”, a court has heard.

Richard Alston, 70, is accused of repeatedly indecently assaulting the youngster at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

The attacks are said to have taken place on school grounds, during a school camp and at the flat Alston shared with his then boyfriend, Peter Righton.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard evidence from Wendy Doyle, who worked as a teaching assistant at the school for maladjusted boys at the same time as Alston.

She said “overbearing” Righton had been a governor at the school, but Alston did not really have much personality.

When asked by prosecutor Peter Clement if there was anything unusual about Alston’s teaching, she replied: “There was a mattress that they kept in the cupboard. It was small, just a rolled-up, flat mattress.

“If you wanted to go into the classroom, you couldn’t really push the door open anyway, because the mattress was down, with the furniture pushed back.”

She added that she thought it was “odd” but did not say anything to the headteacher at the time.

Simon Spence, defending, asked Mrs Doyle what she meant when she said she “imagined” Alston and the children had been “romping” on the mattress.

She answered: “Richard and the children were in the classroom. I could see from his reaction when he came out – he was hot and bothered, if you like.”

Alston denies six counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child against one complainant in the late 1970s.

He allegedly first molested the then 11-year-old after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant’s tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.

Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old’s tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him goodnight after “story time”.

On one occasion Righton – now deceased – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and “parade” in front of himself and Alston, jurors heard.

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is on bail and denies all charges against him.

Jurors also heard from Alston, who took to the witness box to give evidence.

He said he had realised he was gay as a young adult, and met Righton – 19 years his senior – when he was just 16.

However, Alston told the court that he did not start a physical relationship with Righton until he was about 22, and they moved in together in 1971.

Mr Spence asked his client: “Was it a full-time, committed monogamous relationship?”

Alston replied: “Not necessarily absolutely monogamous. Like a marriage with a fairly liberal interpretation of the marriage.”

Mr Spence also asked if Alston, “as a homosexual”, had ever had any interest in younger men or boys.

Alston answered: “Younger men, possibly. But not boys.”

When asked how young, he responded: “Around 16.”

Alston told the court he remembered the complainant from Cavendish School, and that he had interviewed him, along with four other boys, as part of a study he was conducting.

However, when asked repeatedly if he had ever indecently assaulted the pupil, the defendant asserted “No”.

He also denied he had ever given the youngster beer or other gifts.

Mr Spence asked: “Were you present when he was given a pair of silk swimming trunks (by Righton)?

“Were you aware of him being provided with a remote control plane or a truck?

“Did you ever see him smoking cigarettes?”

To each of these, Alston replied “No”.

The accused was then quizzed further about his relationship with his deceased partner.

Mr Clement asked if Righton had acted indecently towards the complaintant.

Alston replied: “I don’t know.”

Mr Clement continued: “Might he have done?”

“It is possible,” said Alston.

He also admitted that he and Righton would watch pornography at home, on cinefilm. But denied that this had ever been shown to the complainant.

Alston added that he thought the movies had come from Amsterdam, and could not remember if Charles Napier had brought them back from Scandinavia.

He went on to say that he was the only person with Righton when he died in 2007 and that he had been aware of a 1994 BBC documentary on his former partner.

The court heard that in January 1979 in Aberdeen, Scotland, Alston was admonished – the equivalent of a caution in English law – after admitting one count of lewd, indecent, libidinous practices, namely placing his hand on a boy’s thigh in the cinema.

Alston told jurors that he did not disclose the conviction to the school or local education authority because he hoped to be able to carry on with his work.

But he conceded that the act was an “attempt at a sexual approach” towards a boy who was of an age that he was attracted to – 16 or 17.

The trial continues.


ITV News Report
, August 18th, 2015
‘Former teacher ‘romped with children on classroom mattress”

A former teacher accused of molesting an 11-year-old pupil kept a mattress in his classroom on which he “romped with children”, it has been claimed.

Richard Alston, 70, is accused of assaulting the youngster repeatedly at a school in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

The attacks are said to have happened on school grounds, during a school camp and at a flat shared with the teacher’s former boyfriend, Peter Righton.

Righton, now deceased, was a former governor at the school.

Southwark Crown Court heard evidence from Wendy Doyle, a teaching assistant at the school at the time in question, who said she thought it was a “odd” that a mattress was kept in the cupboard.

It was a small, just a rolled-up, flat mattress.

If you wanted to go into the classroom, you couldn’t really push the door open anyway, because the mattress was down with the furniture pushed back.

Richard and the children were in the classroom. I could see from his reaction when he came out – he was hot and bothered, if you like.

– WENDY DOYLE

Simon Spence, defending, asked Mrs Doyle what she meant when she said she “imagined” Alston and the children had been “romping” on the mattress.

She answered: “Richard and the children were in the classroom. I could see from his reaction when he came out – he was hot and bothered, if you like.”

Alston denies six counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child against one complainant.

He allegedly first molested the then 11-year-old complainant after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Two more incidents are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant’s tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is on bail and denies all charges against him.

The trial continues.


East Anglian Daily Times
, August 18th, 2015
PR Import – PA, ‘Former teacher denies ‘grooming’ 11-year-old remedial school pupil’

A former teacher who worked at a remedial school allegedly molested an 11-year-old boy at a school camp and spent years grooming him with his boyfriend, a court has heard.

Richard Alston, 70, who now lives in Bury St Edmunds, met the alleged victim while working as a teacher at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

But after starting to touch the youngster inappropriately on school grounds, Alston invited him up to the flat he shared with his partner, Peter Righton.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Alston allegedly began molesting the youngster after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Prosecutor Peter Clement said that Alston touched the boy over his clothing to “gauge” his reaction. He added: “The Crown suggest that at the first indecent assault the defendant realised that there was little or no prospect of complaint and he exploited that.”

Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp. Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old’s tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him good night after “story time”.

Alston, who as a teacher was in a position of trust, is alleged to have started grooming the boy after realising that the youngster would deliver milk to his address as part of his round. Jurors heard that Alston and Righton would tip the youngster 75p, and regularly started inviting him up to their flat, offering him beer, cigarettes and other gifts.

On one occasion Righton – who has since died – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and “parade” in front of himself and Alston.

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Although the youngster said nothing of the alleged abuse at the time, when he was 16 he confronted Righton, jurors heard.

Mr Clement said: “Peter Righton dismissed this complaint and told him he had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence and that no-one would believe him. And that worked because it meant that he did not say anything for many many years.”

Alston denies six counts of indecent assault, and four counts of indecency with a child, in the late 1970s.

The case continues.


Bury Free Press
, August 18th, 2015

‘Special needs teacher from Bury St Edmunds is accused of molesting vulnerable’ pupil’

A teacher at a special needs school groomed an 11-year-old boy for sex with gifts of beer, cigarettes and silk swimming trunks, a court has heard.

Richard Alston, 70, of Robin Hood Court, Bury St Edmunds, first molested the pupil after he fell from a climbing frame in the grounds of a Middlesex school in the late 1970s, it is alleged.

Over the next three years Alston abused the vulnerable’ and needy’ child at whim with his paedophile boyfriend Peter Righton, who has since died, Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday.

When the boy turned 16 he decided to confront the pair but was scared into silence after Righton boasted of his connections to powerful people’, jurors were told

In his opening address to jurors, prosecutor Peter Clement said: “The case is about indecent assault and indecency with and towards the same person dating back some 30 years.

“At the time the complainant was a child. By virtue of not only his age – he was aged around 11 when this sequence of events begins – but also his personal circumstance, the prosecution suggest that the complainant was vulnerable.

“This defendant was in a position which brought with it a considerable degree of trust, not only of the child who he was charged with caring and educating but also the child’s parents and also the trust of colleagues at the same school.

“This defendant exploited and breached that trust that came with his position and he breached it for his own sexual gratification.

“It is indicative, the prosecution suggests, of what is commonly referred to and understood as the grooming of that child.

“Grooming so as to enable the abuse to take place and to ensure that boys silence for many, many years continuing into adulthood.

“It was all under the guise of caring for and being kind to the complainant.”

Alston forced the boy to perform sex acts and also involved his partner in the abuse, the court heard.

“On occasions the defendant’s then partner, now deceased, a man called Peter Righton, was actively involved – two men acting indecently towards that same boy,” said Mr Clement.

The court heard that the school’s regime was relaxed’ with students relatively free to roam around the school grounds’ and pupils calling teachers by their first names.

Mr Clement said Alston by all accounts was a popular, well liked, successful teacher’.

He added: “That boy, described by one form teacher as a needy child, was at that point expected to refer to his teachers by their first names and he grew to regard them as friends.

“The boy found the defendant to be friendly and approachable but he was to describe him as touchy-feely.

“There were boundaries in the 1970s and there are today – this defendant crossed them deliberately for his own sexual gratification.”

Alston first touched the child while comforting him following a fall from a climbing frame at the school, jurors heard.

Mr Clement said: “Richard Alston went over purportedly to comfort him by hugging him, embracing him, but in doing so he ran his hands over the boy’s back and over his genitals over his clothes.

“It was a deliberate touching of that boy’s genitals.”

Alston was attempting to gauge the reaction’ of the child and to see if he would say anything, jurors heard.

He later plied the boy with gifts of beer and cigarettes and tipped him generously when he, as a paperboy, delivered to his door, the court was told.

It is claimed that when Righton, who was Alston’s boyfriend at the time, gave the boy a pair of silken swimming trunks’, the couple asked him to parade in front of them.

“It was a purposefully quasi-sexual act in the mind of both the defendant and his then partner,” said Mr Clement.

It is alleged the victim was also shown pornographic films and would watch the screen as the couple, and a friend, looked on.

“By this point the prosecution suggest this defendant and his partner had something of a hold over this boy,” said Mr Clement.

The boy decided to confront the pair at their home shortly after his 16th birthday but Righton scared him into keeping his silence, the court heard.

“He confronted him about what he had been subjected to but Peter Righton dismissed his complaint and told him that he, Righton, had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence and that no-one would believe him and that worked because the complainant didn’t say anything for many, many years,” said Mr Clement.

It was only when researching a book that the alleged victim stumbled across an article about Righton asking for information and plucked up the courage to contact investigators.

Alston denies six charges of indecent assault and four charges of indecency with a child.

The trial continues.


Sunday World
, August 18th, 2015

‘Teacher had classroom mattress for “romping with children”’

A former teacher who allegedly molested an 11-year-old pupil kept a mattress in his classroom on which he “romped with children”, a court has heard.
Richard Alston, 70, is accused of repeatedly indecently assaulting the youngster at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

The attacks are said to have taken place on school grounds, during a school camp and at the flat Alston shared with his then boyfriend, Peter Righton.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard evidence from Wendy Doyle, who worked as a teaching assistant at the school for maladjusted boys at the same time as Alston.

She said “overbearing” Righton had been a governor at the school, but Alston did not really have much personality.

When asked by prosecutor Peter Clement if there was anything unusual about Alston’s teaching, she replied: “There was a mattress that they kept in the cupboard. It was small, just a rolled-up, flat mattress.

“If you wanted to go into the classroom, you couldn’t really push the door open anyway, because the mattress was down, with the furniture pushed back.”

She added that she thought it was “odd” but did not say anything to the headteacher at the time.

Simon Spence, defending, asked Mrs Doyle what she meant when she said she “imagined” Alston and the children had been “romping” on the mattress.

She answered: “Richard and the children were in the classroom. I could see from his reaction when he came out – he was hot and bothered, if you like.”

Alston denies six counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child against one complainant in the late 1970s.

He allegedly first molested the then 11-year-old after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant’s tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.

Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old’s tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him goodnight after “story time”.

On one occasion Righton – now deceased – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and “parade” in front of himself and Alston, jurors heard.

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is on bail and denies all charges against him.


East Anglian Daily Times
, August 19th, 2015
PR Import – PA

A former teacher who allegedly molested an 11-year-old pupil kept a mattress in his classroom on which he “romped with children”, a court has heard.

Richard Alston, 70, who now lives in Bury St Edmunds, is accused of repeatedly indecently assaulting the youngster at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s. The attacks are said to have taken place on school grounds, during a school camp and at the flat Alston shared with his then boyfriend, Peter Righton.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard evidence from Wendy Doyle, who worked as a teaching assistant at the school for maladjusted boys at the same time as Alston. She said “overbearing” Righton had been a governor at the school, but Alston did not really have much personality.

When asked by prosecutor Peter Clement if there was anything unusual about Alston’s teaching, she replied: “There was a mattress that they kept in the cupboard. It was small, just a rolled-up, flat mattress.

“If you wanted to go into the classroom, you couldn’t really push the door open anyway, because the mattress was down, with the furniture pushed back.”

She added that she thought it was “odd” but did not say anything to the headteacher at the time.

Simon Spence, defending, asked Mrs Doyle what she meant when she said she “imagined” Alston and the children had been “romping” on the mattress. She answered: “Richard and the children were in the classroom. I could see from his reaction when he came out – he was hot and bothered, if you like.”

Alston denies six counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child against one complainant in the late 1970s.

He allegedly first molested the then 11-year-old after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant’s tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.

Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old’s tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him goodnight after “story time”. On one occasion Righton – now deceased – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and “parade” in front of himself and Alston, jurors heard.

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Alston is on bail and denies all charges against him.

Court News, August 27th, 2015

The long term lover of a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange is facing jail for the abuse of an 11-year-old boy in the 1970s, it can be revealed.

Richard Alston, 70, taught at the Cavendish School for ‘maladjusted children’ in Greenford, Middlesex, even though he had a previous conviction for sexual assault.

He groomed the ‘needy’ and ‘vulnerable’ child with his boyfriend, the notorious paedophile Peter Righton.

Together they plied the boy with gifts including beer, cigarettes, silk swimming trunks and a remote control plane before abusing him.

Shortly after his sixteenth birthday the victim plucked up the courage to confront Righton but he was scared into silence after the abuser boasted of the couple’s ‘connections to powerful people’.

Last Thursday a jury panel of eight men and four women found Alston guilty of one counts of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault.

He was cleared of a further four counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.

The jury were unable to reach a verdict on a remaining count of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child.

The verdicts can now be published after the CPS opted not to pursue to retrial on the outstanding counts in a secret hearing.

White haired and rail-thin Alston, who was supported during the trial by his brother from the public gallery, did not react as the verdicts were read.

Oxford alumni Alston had insisted to jurors that he never touched the child but said ‘it is possible’ Righton, who he was in a relationship for 40 years, abused the boy.

Righton, who died in 2007, was convicted in September 1992 for possession of child porn and is widely believed to have been influential in a powerful network of child abusers.

Prosecutor Peter Clement said: ‘This defendant was in a position which brought with it a considerable degree of trust, not only of the child who he was charged with caring and educating but also the child’s parents and the trust of colleagues at the same school.

‘This defendant exploited and breached the trust that came with his position and he breached it for his own sexual gratification.’

Alston was convicted of performing a sex act on the victim and forcing the victim to perform a sex act on him at his flat.

The victim was forced to parade in front of the paedophile couple, who he believed to be ‘really nice guys’, in a pair of silk swimming trunks they gave him.

He told jurors he was bowled over after receiving a 75 pence tip for delivering milk to the couple’s home.

‘Back in the ’70s at 11 years old that was a lot of money, that was a lot of money in those days,’ he said.

‘I was fine with going to their house, they seemed to be really nice guys. ‘In a word I wouldn’t want for anything, I could get whatever I liked – toys, sweets, anything, money –they were always very generous,’ he said.

‘I was going through a bad patch at home and needed somebody else to talk to about the problems so I decided to ring them up as normal to go to their home,’ the complainant told jurors.

‘I was given some alcohol which I didn’t like the taste of and they put some lemonade in to make it taste better… ‘

After the drink I wasn’t feeling very well and I fell asleep and I woke up some time later on a bed,’ he said.

‘Were you clothed,’ asked Mr Clement.

‘Yes I was clothed,’ replied the alleged victim welling up with tears in the witness box.

The victim was also shown pornographic films imported from Amsterdam during sessions that were also attended by convicted paedophile and former PIE treasurer Charles Napier.

Napier, who is the half-brother of Tory MP John Whittingdale, was locked up for 13 years in December last year after admitting 28 charges concerning 21 boys aged eight to 13 between 1967 and 1972.

‘By this point the prosecution suggest this defendant and his partner had something of a hold over this boy,’ said Mr Clement.

The boy decided to confront the pair at their home shortly after his 16th birthday but Righton scared him into keeping his silence, the court heard.

‘He confronted him about what he had been subjected to but Peter Righton dismissed his complaint and told him that he, Righton, had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence and that no-one would believe him and that worked because the complainant didn’t say anything for many, many years,’ said Mr Clement.

It was only when researching a book the alleged victim stumbled across an article about Righton that he plucked up the courage to contact investigators.

While giving evidence Alston admitted he hid a conviction for groping a teenager in an Aberdeen cinema from the authorities in 1978.

He stroked the thigh of a boy, who he guessed to be 16 or 17, in an ‘attempt at a sexual approach’ but the youth reacted ‘aggressively’ and pushed the teacher into a nearby alley where his friends threatened him with a broken bottle unless he handed himself into the police.

He received the equivalent of a caution after admitting touching the boy.

Alston, of (4) Robin Hood Court, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was convicted of one charge of indecent assault and one charge of indecency with a child.

He was cleared of four charges of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.

Jurors were unable to reach verdicts on further charges of indecency with a child and indecent assault.

He will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court tomorrow.
ends


Press Association
, August 27th, 2015
Nina Massey, ‘Remedial School Teacher Richard Alston Guilty of Molesting Pupil, 11’

A former remedial school teacher and long term partner of one of the founders of the Paedophile Information Exchange has been found guilty of molesting an 11-year-old boy, it can be revealed.

Richard Alston, 70, met the victim while working at Cavendish School for “maladjusted boys” in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

Together with his partner, Peter Righton, the pensioner forced the youngster to watch pornography and then perform sex acts on him.

It was the investigation into Righton, who was convicted of importing child pornography in 1992, that led to MP Tom Watson using parliamentary privilege in 2012 to allege that there was “clear intelligence” of a VIP child sex abuse ring.

Righton was also a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange – a notorious group set up in the 1970s that campaigned to lower the age of consent.

He and Alston were together for 40 years, and although the teacher denied indecently assaulting the schoolboy, while giving evidence he conceded it was “possible” his lover may have done.

Giving evidence, Alston explained that he realised he was gay as a young adult, and met Righton – 19 years his senior – when he was just 16 years old.

Despite being cleared of a number of offences, he was convicted of incidents that took place when Righton was present and a participant.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London cleared Alston of molesting the youngster on school grounds and during a camping trip when he was alleged to have crept into his tent after “story time”.

The verdicts were reached last week, but can only be reported now for legal reasons.
Alston, who was in a position of trust as a teacher, was found guilty of one count of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child, showed no emotion as he was convicted.

Jurors found that he and Righton groomed the schoolboy after he began visiting them at their flat, plying him with alcohol and buying him gifts such as cigarettes and toys.
Prosecutor Peter Clement said: “It is here that the defendant and his then partner further groomed and acted indecently towards that boy.”

Jurors were told that while the youngster saw the two adults as “friends”, their motivation was to indecently assault him.

“He regarded both adults as friends who paid him attention and gave him treats.

“By this point, the defendant, together with his partner, had something of a hold over this boy,” said Mr Clement.

On one occasion Righton – who died in 2007 – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to “parade” in front of himself and Alston.

Giving evidence, the complainant said: “I was fine with going to their house. They seemed like really nice guys.

“In a word I wouldn’t want for anything, I could get whatever I liked – toys, sweets, anything, money – they were always very generous.”

Although the youngster said nothing of the alleged abuse at the time because he was “embarrassed”, when he was 16 he confronted Righton about what he had been subjected to.

Mr Clement said: “Peter Righton dismissed this complaint and told him he had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence, and that no-one would believe him.

“And that worked because it meant that he did not say anything for many many years.”

Alston was found to have made the schoolboy watch pornographic films and then ask him to perform sex acts on him and Righton.

The court heard that their friend Charles Napier – now a convicted paedophile – would also be present for some of these viewings.

Last December, Napier, the half-brother of senior Conservative MP John Whittingdale, was jailed for 13 years for carrying out hundreds of sexual assaults on young boys.

He was convicted of conducting a “campaign of abuse” at the school where he worked in the late 1960s and early 1970s, grooming and assaulting 21 victims aged as young as eight on scores of occasions.

He pleaded guilty to 28 counts of indecent assault – including many covering “multiple incidents” – and one indecency charge in relation to those crimes, as well as two further separate historical allegations of indecent assault against two 13-year-old boys after he left the school, the first in 1979 and the second in 1983.

Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was cleared of four counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child. The jury was unable to reach verdicts on one count each of the same offences.

The verdicts can now be reported after the CPS took the decision in private not to pursue a retrial on the outstanding charges.

In January 1979 in Aberdeen, Scotland, he was admonished – the equivalent of a caution in English law – after admitting one count of lewd, indecent, libidinous practices, namely placing his hand on a boy’s thigh in the cinema.

Alston is due to be sentenced on September 28.


East Anglian Daily Times
, August 27th, 2015

Colin Adwent, ‘Former teacher Richard Alston from Bury St Edmunds guilty of molesting 11-year-old boy’

A former remedial school teacher from Suffolk and long-term partner of one of the founders of the Paedophile Information Exchange has been found guilty of molesting an 11-year-old boy, it can be revealed.

shares
Richard AlstonRichard Alston

Richard Alston, 70, of Vinery Road, Bury St Edmunds, met the victim while working at Cavendish School for “maladjusted boys” in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

Together with his partner, Peter Righton, Alston forced the youngster to watch pornography and then perform sex acts on him.

It was the investigation into Righton, who was convicted of importing child pornography in 1992, that led to MP Tom Watson using parliamentary privilege in 2012 to allege that there was “clear intelligence” of a VIP child sex abuse ring.

Righton was also a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange – a notorious group set up in the 1970s that campaigned to lower the age of consent.

He and Alston were together for 40 years and lived in Thornham Magna after Righton’s conviction.

Although Alston denied indecently assaulting the schoolboy, while giving evidence he conceded it was “possible” his lover may have done.

Giving evidence, Alston explained that he realised he was gay as a young adult, and met Righton – 19 years his senior – when he was just 16 years old.

Despite being cleared of a number of offences, he was convicted of incidents that took place when Righton was present and a participant.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London cleared Alston of molesting the youngster on school grounds and during a camping trip when he was alleged to have crept into his tent after “story time”.

The verdicts were reached last week, but can only be reported now for legal reasons.

Alston, who was in a position of trust as a teacher, was found guilty of one count of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child, showed no emotion as he was convicted.

Jurors found that he and Righton groomed the schoolboy after he began visiting them at their flat, plying him with alcohol and buying him gifts such as cigarettes and toys.

On one occasion Righton – who died in 2007 – gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to “parade” in front of himself and Alston.

Alston was found to have made the schoolboy watch pornographic films and then ask him to perform sex acts on him and Righton.

The court heard that their friend Charles Napier – now a convicted paedophile – would also be present for some of these viewings.

Alston was cleared of four counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child. The jury was unable to reach verdicts on one count each of the same offences.

The verdicts can now be reported after the CPS took the decision in private not to pursue a retrial on the outstanding charges.

In January 1979 in Aberdeen, Scotland, he was admonished – the equivalent of a caution in English law – after admitting one count of lewd, indecent, libidinous practices, namely placing his hand on a boy’s thigh in the cinema.

Alston is due to be sentenced on September 28.

Last December, Napier, was jailed for 13 years for carrying out hundreds of sexual assaults on young boys.

He was convicted of conducting a “campaign of abuse” at the school where he worked in the late 1960s and early 1970s, grooming and assaulting 21 victims aged as young as eight on scores of occasions.


Tim Tate’s Questions to Lord Armstrong, and Armstrong’s Answer

Following my updated blog on Peter Morrison, including the latest information about correspondence in November 1986 between Sir Antony Duff, then head of MI5, and Sir Robert Armstrong (now Lord Armstrong), then Cabinet Secretary, I am publishing some questions ent by investigative journalist Tim Tate to Lord Armstrong about these matters, and Armstrong’s reply.

With thanks to Tim Tate for providing me with this material and giving permission to post it. For more detail, see Tate’s blog on this.


(Thursday July 23rd)

Dear Lord Armstrong

I am a freelance journalist with a lengthy career-history of investigating child sexual abuse.

I am writing to you about this morning’s revelations, that in 1986 while serving as Cabinet Secretary you received a letter from Sir Anthony Duff, then director-general of MI5, advising you that allegations had been made that a Conservative MP had “a penchant for small boys”.

I’m currently preparing an article for publication concerning this matter: Could I therefore please ask you:

1. Whether you recall receiving this letter ?
2. What you did with the information ?
3. Whether you passed on the allegations concerning this MP in question to the Prime Minister and/or the Chief Whip ?
4. Whether you made any attempt to speak with MP yourself about the allegations ?
5. Whether, in more recent times, you informed the Home Office and/or its recent internal enquiries about the existence of this letter ?

I look forward to hearing from you


HIS REPLY:


(Sunday July 26th)

Dear Mr. Tate,

Thank you for your e-mail of 23 July.

I am afraid that I do not remember receiving Sir Antony Duff’s letter, or what I did when I received it. It is now a long time ago, and there were a lot of other things going on at the time.

Yours sincerely,

Armstrong of Ilminster


Peter Morrison – the child abuser protected by MI5, the Cabinet Secretary, and Margaret Thatcher – updated July 2015

[With great thanks to @Snowfaked and @MySweetLandlord on Twitter for finding some extra pieces of information, especially relating to Morrison and Islay, and the picture of Thatcher, Morrison and Brittan]

Peter Morrison 1

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 agent in question was Frances Mowatt. A 192 search reveals that there is now a Frances Mowatt, aged 65+, living in Billericay in Essex, Teresa Gorman’s old constituency. She may be the same person who is a Local Authority Governor for St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Billericay.

In 1982, a boy who would then have been around 14 (the same age as I was at the time) has given a vivid account of his experiences at the hands of Morrison (Bill Gardner, ‘Westminster paedophile ring: ‘I allowed my son to go with him. You trusted people more in those days”, Daily Telegraph, January 3rd, 2015). This boy encountered Morrison, dressed in a pin-striped suit in the village of Harting, West Sussex; Morrison told him his car had broken down, offered him money to help him start it, then invited the boy to his ‘nice big house in London for the weekend’. The boy said he couldn’t come, but gave Morrison his phone number when he asked, and then received repeated phone calls imploring him to come, eventually saying yes after refusing repeatedly. Morrison came down to Sussex with a driver, told the boy and his father he had homes in Chester and London, but not that he was an MP (he said he was a barrister). To the boy’s father’s great regret, he let him go; almost immediately on the journey, Morrison began to sexually assault the boy, who said:

He’d leave me alone for a little bit, and then he’d come at me again. . . . Before long, he had my trousers off. At one point we stopped for petrol, and I thought about running out of the car, but I realised the doors had some sort of child lock and I couldn’t get out. I was so frightened.

Matters got worse: Morrison gave beer and wine to the boy and then took him to a house, which the boy (now a man in his mid-40s) thinks was Elm Guest House. There were seven or eight men around the house, and Morrison took him upstairs, stripped him, and raped him for at least an hour; the man says ‘It was the most horrendous experience of my life.’ Morrison then told him they would be going to the sauna together, visiting a ‘party’, and he would be sleeping in Morrison’s bed later. The boy managed to sneak out of the house unseen, get back on a train to Harting, and tell his father what had happened. A local policeman was called, and the boy was taken to a police doctor, with medics telling the father afterwards that his son had ‘certainly been sexually abused’. Two detectives from Scotland Yard took a full statement from the boy, who soon afterwards received calls at home from various men in London asking where he was, which he attributed to Morrison panicking after he had disappeared. Nothing more happened until two Scotland Yard officers arrived on the family’s doorstep a year later, with the boy’s clothes in a bag, saying that the man in question had been convicted in a Chelsea court, had been imprisoned for two years, and nothing else was to worry about. Only years later did the victim recognise Morrison as a prominent MP in the Thatcher government. Operation Fairbank continue to investigate this story (Bill Gardner, ‘Thatcher confidant raped boy and police covered crime up’, Daily Telegraph, January 5th, 2015). The man now says that:

I believe that Morrison was a high-profile guy so he got away with it. Either the police were paid off or they hushed it up because he was an MP.

“I was never the same after what happened – he ruined my life really. I left school soon afterwards because I lost all my confidence. I couldn’t handle what had happened to me.

Scotland Yard, in January 2015, were unable to confirm whether Morrison had been investigated at the time (Rebecca Camber, ‘Tory MP who was Thatcher’s confidant ‘raped my 14-year-old son at paedophile guest house’, Daily Mail, January 4th, 2015). More ominously, it was revealed that the body of the murdered Vishal Mehortra was found in woodland in Rogate, less than two miles from Harting (‘Thatcher aide could be linked to body found in Rogate’, Midhurst and Petworth Observer, January 10th, 2015).

However, since then reports have alleged that Morrison was arrested twice for picking up men at the toilets at Piccadilly tube, taken to West End Central police station in Savile Row and let off with a caution each time (a second caution is very unusual); the Met are trying to track down officers who were involved with the arrests. There are also rumours of Morrison’s having been caught making similar approaches at toilets in Crew railway station in Cheshire. These have all led to a probe into police corruption and high-level cover-up (Nick Dorman, ‘Probe over claims Margaret Thatcher aide escaped prosecution because of Establishment links’, Sunday People, July 18th, 2015; Martin Beckford, ‘Met launch probe into Maggie aide and its own cover up’, Mail on Sunday, July 19th, 2015). A later report made clear that one of the offences for which Morrison was arrested involved a 15-year old boy (Matt Chorley, ‘Senior Westminster figures from 1970s and 1980s including former Home Secretary Leon Brittan named in government child abuse files’, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2015).

Peter Morrison 3

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).

Christine Russell

Former MP for Chester (1997-2010), Christine Russell

This week, it has emerged that previously undiscovered files exist on Morrison (and Leon Brittan, former Wokingham MP Sir William van Straubenzee, and others including a figure named only as ‘Vanessa the Undresser’) which are thought to relate to abuse, and were not seen by Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC when preparing their earlier report (a supplement has been published here) (Tom Parmenter, ‘Key Westminster Figures in Child Abuse Papers’, Sky News, July 23rd, 2015). A report in The Times has named Morrison as an MP about whom communications took place in November 1986 between the late Sir Antony Duff (1920-2000), then head of MI5, and Sir Robert Armstrong, then cabinet secretary. Two sources had approached senior officials with reports that Morrison had ‘a penchant for small boys’. He was questioned about these but the security services accepted his claims that the allegations were false (Daniel Martin, ‘Secret files ‘show MI5 let abuse claim MP off hook’: Security chief said the case would ’embarrass the Government”, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2015). Duff concluded ‘The risks of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger’ (clearly the interests of the victims did not even filter into Duff and Armstrong’s calculations, as has been commented upon by many, including Wanless and a spokesperson for NSPCC) (Sean O’Neill and Gabriella Swerling, ‘Child abuse suspect was Thatcher aide’, The Times, July 24th, 2015 [see below]; Daniel Martin, ‘Secret files ‘show MI5 let abuse claim MP off the hook’: Security chief said the case would ’embarrass the Government’, Daily Mail, July 22nd, 2015; ‘Child abuse: PM Tells Police – No Limits’, Sky News, July 23rd, 2015; Joseph Watts, ”Child abuse’ files must give justice to victims, says NSPCC chief’, Evening Standard, July 23rd, 2015). Approached a few days ago by The Times, Armstrong had the following to say:

My official business was the protection of national security. I have to stress that there was nothing like evidence in this case. There was just a shadow of a rumour. It’s impossible to take investigative action on shadows of rumours. . . If there is some reason to think a crime has been committed, then people like the cabinet secretary are not to start poking their noses into it. It’s for the police to do that.

To the Mail, Armstrong (who would not name Morrison to them), said:

I thought MI5’s actions were correct at the time. I think they were right to report the rumour, they were right to make what inquiries they could and they were right to come to the conclusion they did. I think if there was evidence it would have been properly examined at the time. I don’t think this is a matter of important people being protected. You can’t pursue inquiries unless you have evidence on which you can base the enquiry. A shadow of a rumour is not enough.

He went on to say ‘I think he [Morrison] was interview but he denied it. It is not my position to name him’, and did not know if Thatcher was made aware of the MI5 decision, which drew a furious response from Rochdale MP and long-term campaigner against child abuse Simon Danczuk (Vanessa Allen, Claire Ellicott and Daniel Martin, ‘I won’t name child abuse MP; Fury as Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet chief defends failure to act over senior Tory’, Daily Mail, July 24th, 2015). See also Armstrong’s non-committal response to questions sent to him by investigative journalist Tim Tate, and Tate’s own blog on this.

Armstrong, who once became notorious for using the phrase ‘economical with the truth’ when involved in trying to prevent the publication of Peter Wright’s Spycatcher (Sue Reid, ‘Mandarin who can’t help being economical with truth: Lord Armstrong at centre of accusations of child abuse cover-up’, Daily Mail, July 24th, 2015), also has past form in terms of his dismissive responses to the entreaties by pianist and whistleblower Martin Roscoe for the Royal Northern College of Music, of which Armstrong was the chair of the board of governors in 2002, not to employ violinist Malcolm Layfield as their Head of Strings, after his record of sexually exploiting girls at Chetham’s School (see Charlotte Higgins, ‘After Michael Brewer: the RNCM teacher’s story’, The Guardian, February 13th, 2013; ‘Correspondence over appointment of Malcolm Layfield at Royal Northern College of Music’, The Guardian, February 8th, 2013).

On top of everything else, the Labour MP John Mann published a series of important tweets: ‘In 1984 Geoffrey Dickens gave Leon Brittan as Home Secretary a further list of alleged paedophiles linked directly to Peter Morrison’; ‘What happened to the list of Peter Morrison linked paedophiles given to Home Secretary in 1984? And why was no action taken?’‘I have just met person who gave list of Peter Morrison linked paedophiles to Geoffrey Dickens. Astonishing developments and cover ups’; ‘The new list of Dickens names was entirely different to first. It was given to him precisely because of publicity about his initial action’ all of which suggests new dimensions to the files supplied by Dickens to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan.

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 Tebbit. His sister, Dame Mary Morrison, became a lady-in-waiting to the Queen (Gyles Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’: In a brave and haunting account, TV star and ex MP Gyles Brandreth reveals the years of abuse he endured at prep school’, Daily Mail, September 12th, 2014).

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); Thatcher stayed there after her 1979 election victory, together with Morrison and also Leon Brittan (see the image below of the three of them, from Tom Shields, ‘Mrs T weathers rainy day blues’; Glasgow Herald, August 17th, 1979; see also Michael White’s his obituary of Brittan on how he helped to ‘keep her entertained during her reluctantly taken holidays’; Michael White, ‘Leon Brittan: Thatcher’s protege turned scapegoat’, The Guardian, January 22nd, 2015) Lord Margadale had previously entertained Princess Alexandra, Harold Macmillan and Ted Heath there. Morrison himself said in 1979 that Thatcher likely knew the people of Islay better than any others, except for in her constituency of Finchley (Tom Shields, ‘Not even on Islay can Mrs Thatcher get away from it all’, Glasgow Herald, August 16th, 1979; Tom Shields, ‘Islay estate sacks half its workers’, Glasgow Herald, August 2nd, 1982).

Thatcher Morrison Brittan

After being appointed as Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990, Morrison 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).

Recently, the former editor of the Sunday Mirror, Paul Connew, has revealed how he was told in 1994 by House of the stories concerning Morrison. Connew has revealed that it was a police officer who was the source, dismayed by the lack of action after Morrison had been arrested for sexually molesting under-age boys; the officer revealed how Morrison had attempted to ‘pull rank’ by demanding to see the most senior officer, and announcing proudly who he was. All the paperwork relating to the arrest simply ‘disappeared’. Connew sent a reporter to confront Morrison at his Chester home, but Morrison dismissed the story and made legal threats, which the paper was not able to counter without naming their police source, which was impossible. The story ultimately died, though Connew was able to establish that in the senior echelons of Scotland Yard, Morrison’s arrest and proclivities were no secret; he had been arrested on multiple occasions in both Chester and London, always hushed up (Paul Connew, ‘Commentary: how paedophile Peter Morrison escaped exposure’, Exaro News, September 26th, 2014).

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 the Wrexham area of 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; see also Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’).

Rod Richards

Rod Richards

The owner of Bryn Alyn and other homes, John Allen, was sentenced to life in December 2014 for sexual abuse of 18 boys and one girl there (‘Children’s home boss John Allen jailed for life for campaign of sex abuse’, Daily Telegraph, December 1st, 2014), and was revealed to be a friend of Michael John Carroll, who was abusing children in homes in the London borough of Lambeth (Tom Pettifor and Elwyn Roberts, ‘Two notorious paedophiles at centre of nationwide network of abusers including Tory and Labour politicians, Daily Mirror, December 1st, 2014). The implications – that Morrison was connected not just to abuse in North Wales but also to a wider ring of abusers – are almost too horrifying to contemplate, but must be considered (see also my collection of reports on abuse in Lambeth, which I will update soon).

John Allen

John Allen

More stories and allegations have emerged about a Wrexham paedophile ring operative in the 1970s and 1980s, and trials are ongoing, so I will just link to a few articles about these (James Tozer, ‘Police probe into historic paedophile ring reveals 140 victims allege abuse by 84 people at 18 care homes across North Wales’, Daily Mail, April 29th, 2013; David Holmes, ‘Chester man alleges his child abuse claims were ignored for more than a decade’, The Chester Chronicle, December 3rd, 2014; Steven Morris, ‘Wrexham paedophile ring preyed on boys in north Wales, court told’, The Guardian, April 21st, 2015; ”Predatory’ paedophiles abused boys in Wrexham in the 1980s’, BBC News, April 21st, 2015; ‘Historic Predatory Paedophile Ring In Wrexham Convicted’, Wrexham.com, July 2nd, 2015; Steven Morris, ‘Five men found guilty of being members of ‘predatory paedophile ring”, The Guardian, July 3rd, 2015). As far as those who have been convicted is concerned, it is a matter of paramount importance to establish whether Morrison was acquainted with any of them. The 2000 Waterhouse Inquiry Report concluded that there was a paedophile ring operative in Chester and Wrexham (‘Waterhouse Inquiry: recommendations and conclusions’, The Telegraph, November 6th, 2012), thus linking North Wales abuse to Morrison’s own constituency.

Morrison’s successor as MP for Chester, Gyles Brandreth, told the press 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). This appeared in Brandreth’s book, Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries (London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), p. 54, in the entry for September 12th, 1991 (taken from the entry ‘Brandreth on the child abuser Peter Morrison MP’, cathyfox blog, July 26th, 2015):

morrisonbrandreth

In a build-up to the launch of a new edition of Brandreth’s book (London: Biteback Publishing, 2014), which suggested major new revelations but delivered little, Brandreth merely added that when canvassing in 1991 ‘we were told that Morrison was a monster who interfered with children’, and added:

At the time, I don’t think I believed it. People do say terrible things without justification. Beyond the fact that his drinking made Morrison appear unprepossessing — central casting’s idea of what a toff paedophile might look like — no one was offering anything to substantiate their slurs.

At the time, I never heard anything untoward about Morrison from the police or from the local journalists — and I gossiped a good deal with them. Four years after stepping down, Peter Morrison was dead of a heart attack.

Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth.


What did Mrs Thatcher know of his alleged dark side? When I talked to her about him, I felt she had the measure of the man. She knew he was homosexual, and she knew he was a drinker. She was fond of him, clearly, but told me that he had ruined himself through ‘self-indulgence’ — much as Reginald Maudling had done a generation earlier. (Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’)

Brandreth did however crucially mention that William Hague had told him in 1996 that Morrison’s name might feature in connection with the inquiry into child abuse in North Wales, specifically in connection to Bryn Estyn, thus corroborating Rod Richard’s account, though Brandreth also pointed out that the Waterhouse report made no mention of Morrison (Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’).

At present, William Hague (who retired from the Cabinet and Parliament quite suddenly, stepping down at the 2015 election, in circumstances which have never been fully explained) is expected to be heavily criticised in a forthcoming report on the North Wales abuse scandal, from the Macur inquiry, to which Rod Richards gave evidence (Glen Owen and Brendan Carlin, ‘Hague faces cover-up row over Thatcher ally’s link to care home abuse scandal: Former foreign secretary said to have been made aware of Sir Peter Morrison’s connections while working as Welsh secretary, Mail on Sunday, May 31st, 2015).

On top of all of this, Morrison’s name has surfaced in connection with another murder inquiry (as well as that of Vishal Mehortra), of Martin Allen, who disappeared on Bonfire Night 1979, and has never been found. Morrison was amongst those (together with Peter Hayman and Leon Brittan) who visited the cottage in Kensington of Allen’s father, who was chief chauffeur at the Australian High Commission (Don Hale, ‘Witness comes forward in Martin Allen case linked to Westminster paedophile ring’, Daily Star, April 12th, 2015).

The journalist Simon Heffer has also said that rumours about Morrison were circulating in Tory top ranks as early as 1988, whilst Tebbit 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?’); Tebbit, who has suggested that a cover-up of high-level abuse by politicians is likely, now concedes that he had been ‘naive’ in believing Morrison, and rejected Currie’s account of Morrison having admitted his offences to him (James Lyons, ‘Norman Tebbit admits he heard rumours top Tory was paedophile a decade before truth revealed’, Daily Mirror, July 8th, 2014). In a recent interview, Tebbit has given a slightly different rendition of things, claiming that he had ‘heard stories that Peter had an unhealthy interest in young men but not that it was with underage children. I confronted him about this, he denied it flat’ (Marie Woolf, ‘Tebbit quizzed MP on sex claims’, The Sunday Times, July 26th, 2015). He also refused to say who had told him about Morrison, saying somewhat cryptically:

There was no official contact. I choose my words carefully. I will just say that I was made aware. I was not sent a file.

Furthermore, Tebbit claimed he had had ‘no reason to believe Downing Street was aware of the allegation’, and had not contacted Thatcher about it, nor pursued the matter with the police, as he assumed they had no evidence and would not press charges (which raises the question of whether it was the police who told him).

Other Tory politicians recall John Wakeham, Chief Whip from June 1983 to January 1987 (see Wakeham’s profile at parliament.uk) telling them, after coming to him with reports of Morrison’s cottaging skirmishes, ‘If someone brings me some evidence I can do something about it, if required’. Another Tory said ‘It never got out, but people said ‘they’ll never be able to do that for Peter again’ (Michael White, ‘Politicians regret complacency over alleged establishment child abuse’, The Guardian, March 17th, 2015).

The novelist Frederick Forsyth, on the other hand, described Morrison as someone ‘who should have been exposed many years ago’, as well as being a politically incompetent alcoholic; however, as far as his sexual offences were concerned, Forsyth claimed Thatcher ‘suspected nothing’ (Frederick Forsyth, ‘Debauched and dissolute fool’, The Express, July 18th, 2014).  Later he called Morrison an ‘awful slut’ who was ‘now exposed at last as a ruthless boy-molester’ (Frederic Forsyth, ‘Mrs Thatcher should have chosen better’, Sunday Express, January 9th, 2015).

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her private secretary Peter Morrison arriving for the Ian Gow memorial service at St. Margaret's, Westminister, London.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her private secretary Peter Morrison arriving for the Ian Gow memorial service at St. Margaret’s, Westminister, London.

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; see also Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, ‘Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’’, The Independent, 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.

Strevens spoke again to the press in May 2015, to clarify further his account given in July 2014: he said that he had been told by a senior officer in Chester of rumours of under-aged boys attending sex parties at a home owned by Morrison. According to Strevens, Archie Hamilton ‘took notes and they thanked me’ (Hamilton recalls the officer being at Downing Street, but no mention of under-age boys), listened to him, and left it at that. Four years later, Thatcher recommended Morrison for a knighthood, which he received (Jonathan Corke, ‘Margaret Thatcher knew paedophile Tory’s sick secret but STILL secured him a knighthood; The former PM also recommended alleged abuser Leon Brittan and is claimed to have been aware of allegations about fellow knights Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith’, Sunday People, May 9th, 2015)

Barry Strevens

Barry Strevens

Barry Strevens with Thatcher

Strevens with Thatcher


Danczuk, who says that he met someone who alleges that Morrison raped him, made clear that in his view ‘There is little doubt in my mind that Margaret Thatcher turned a blind eye to known paedophiles from Peter Morrison to Cyril Smith and the rest.’ (James Lyons and James Gillespie, ‘Thatcher ignored Smith Abuse’, The Sunday Times, March 8th, 2015).

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).

Morrison is now widely believed to have been a central character in a network of high-level VIP abusers (see Keir Mudie, ‘VIP paedophile files: The sick web of high-powered and well-connected child abusers’, Sunday People, March 21st, 2015).

Further questions now need to be asked of Lord Tebbit, Teresa Gorman, Edwina Currie, William Hague and other senior Tories, and crucially of Frances Mowatt, not to mention Christine Russell and others in Chester Labour Party, of what was known and apparently covered-up about Morrison. Frances Maude (now Baron Maude of Horsham), the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, was PPS to Morrison from 1984-85 (see Maude’s biography at politics.co.uk), a crucial period, and also needs to be questioned on what he knew about his former boss’s activities. In March of this year, Maude, then Cabinet Minister, refused to make details of newly-found files public (Tom Parmenter, ‘Family Demands Names Of New Child Abuse Files’, Sky News, March 7th, 2015); it appears now that one of these files referred to his old boss Morrison. If money was involved in at least offers to Mowatt, as Currie alleges was told to her by Gorman, then the seriousness of the allegations is grave. In October 2014, Currie arrogantly and haughtily declared on Twitter:


@MaraudingWinger @DrTeckKhong @MailOnline I’ve been nicer than many deserve! But I take the consequences, & I do not hide behind anonymity.

@jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel @woodmouse1 I heard only tiny bits of gossip. The guy is dead, go pursue living perps. You’ll do more good

@woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel The present has its own demands. We learn from the past, we don’t get obsessive about it. Get real.

@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel And there are abusers in action right now, while you chase famous dead men.

@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel I’d rather police time be spent now on today’s criminals – detect, stop and jail them

@jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel @woodmouse1 Flattered that you think I know so much. Sorry but that’s not so. If you do, go to police

@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel They want current crimes to be dealt with by police, too. And they may need other help.

@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel Of course. But right now, youngsters are being hurt and abused. That matters.

Considering Currie also rubber-stamped the appointment of Jimmy Savile at Broadmoor (Rowena Mason, ‘Edwina Currie voices regrets over Jimmy Savile after inquiry criticism’, The Guardian, Thursday June 26th, 2014) and clearly knew information about Morrison, including claims of bribery of a political agent, known to at least one other MP (Gorman) as well as herself, it should not be surprising that she would want claims of abuse involving dead figures to be sidelined.

Edwina Currie

Edwina Currie

This story relates to political corruption at the highest level, with a senior politician near the top of his party involved in the abuse of children, and clear evidence that various others knew about this, but did nothing, and strong suggestions that politicians and police officers conspired to keep this covered up, even using hush money, in such a way which ensured that Morrison was free to keep abusing others until his death. This story must not be allowed to die this time round. The actions of Duff and Armstrong (and Thatcher) may have sealed the fate of further boys who Morrison went onto abuse. That is the highest dereliction of duty imaginable.



The Times, July 24th, 2015
Sean O’Neill and Gabriella Swerling, ‘Child abuse suspect was Thatcher aide’

The Westminster politician protected by MI5 when suspected of child abuse was the Conservative MP Peter Morrison, who became one of Margaret Thatcher’s aides, The Times has learnt.

A Whitehall investigation was carried out in the mid-1980s after two sources approached senior officials with reports that Morrison had “a penchant for small boys”.

MI5 officers questioned Morrison, the MP for Chester and deputy chairman of the party, and accepted his denials. It is understood that the allegations were not reported to police. Four years later, in July 1990, he was appointed Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS).

Files recently uncovered at the Cabinet Office revealed a note about the incident sent in November 1986 by Sir Antony Duff, head of the Security Service, to Sir Robert Armstrong, the cabinet secretary. It said there was no threat to national security but the claims did carry “the risk of political embarrassment to the government”.

Sir Robert, 88 – now Lord Armstrong of Ilminster – said last night: “My official business was the protection of national security. I have to stress that there was nothing like evidence in this case. There was just a shadow of a rumour. It’s impossible to take investigative action on shadows of rumours.”

He added: “If there is some reason to think a crime has been committed, then people like the cabinet secretary are not to start poking their noses into it. It’s for the police to do that.”

Morrison, who died in 1995, had been a whip and a junior minister before he was made Thatcher’s PPS. His Times obituary said that he “had clearly reached his ministerial ceiling [in 1990] and it was an act of kindness on the prime minister’s part to appoint him as her new PPS”.

He held the job for four months until November 1990, when he mismanaged the party leadership contest that led to Thatcher’s resignation.

The documents referring to Morrison are in four miscellaneous files discovered by a Cabinet Office team this year.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, who led a review into lost Whitehall documents on abuse scandals, said that the Duff memo revealed that “child safety came a poor second to preserving reputations of individuals or government departments”.

Writing in The Times today, he says: “It is plainly obvious . . . those at the highest level who once strode the corridors of power were putting their fear of political embarrassment above the risks to children.”

The documents have been sent to the Goddard inquiry into child sexual abuse which formally opened this month.


Call for All Political Leaders and Leadership Candidates to Pledge Full Co-operation with Abuse Inquiry

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is now underway. Despite two previous chairs rightly standing down due to some of their connections, and unpleasant politics between some other panel members and other individuals, resulting in the loss of several very good people, nonetheless what is now in place is strong, focused, and has real powers. I am very pleased at the access to intelligence files and also the pledge that no-one who comes forward will face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. And personally, I am especially pleased that the Terms of Reference make clear that music tuition will be an area of investigation, for which I have campaigned qnd lobbied for several years. The website is at:

https://www.csa-inquiry.independent.gov.uk/

Some survivors and campaigners have unfortunately expressed grave reservations about the inquiry. I would implore them to at least try engaging with it, difficult though this might be, in full recognition of the fact that they have more reason than anyone to be distrustful of any such venture. But I believe the chair and panel do wish to get to the bottom of this terrible factor afflicting our society for so long, and help to build a better society in its place.

In an interview I gave earlier today for Sky News:

I called for the leaders of all the major political parties to pledge full co-operation with this inquiry (and make all relevant documentation available) and want to repeat this now, and hope others will help with urging publicly not only current leaders, but also leadership and deputy leadership candidates, to do so. Much evidence has come to light suggesting that abuse by senior politicians in many parties was either ignored or actively covered up, and that other politicians had connections to paedophile organisations. It is paramount that this is fully investigated in order to understand better how high-level abuse could go on for so long with apparent impunity.

So I ask people, journalists, campaigners, bloggers, tweeters and others to help keep the pressure on the following politicians in England and Wales to give such a pledge, and if not, explain not.

Conservatives
Leader: David Cameron
Future Leadership Candidates: Boris Johnson, George Osborne, Theresa May

Liberal Democrats
Leader: Nick Clegg
Leadership Candidates: Tim Farron, Norman Lamb

Labour
Leader: Harriet Harman
Leadership Candidates: Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn
Deputy Leadership Candidates: Tom Watson, Stella Creasey, Ben Bradshaw, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint

UKIP
Leader: Nigel Farage

Greens
Leader: Natalie Bennett

Plaid Cymru
Leader: Leanne Wood