Monday, July 28, 2014

The scandal of Sir Peter Morrison

Margaret Thatcher’s personal bodyguard Barry Strevens has told of how he warned the Prime Minister of allegations that one of her top aides was involved in sex parties with under-age boys.
Perhaps you don't believe this report in the Independent? I don't believe all the stories that have emerged about the abuse of children by politicians in recent weeks.

But in the case of Sir Peter Morrison you just have to take the word of his parliamentary colleagues.

Gyles Brandreth wrote in his published diary Breaking the Code - a surprisingly good book, incidentally - that he and his wife Michele had "been told several times on the doorstep – in no uncertain terms – that the MP is ‘a disgusting pervert".

In her diary, Edwina Currie - Ian Pace had reproduced the page - wrote:
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!
And Norman Tebbit has confirmed this story, as the Mirror reported the other day:
Norman Tebbit yesterday admitted he had been told Sir Peter Morrison was a paedophile more than a decade before the truth about the notorious Tory was exposed. The ex-party chairman said “rumours had got to my ears” that Morrison had sex with underage boys before he became Margaret Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990.
But then we all heard rumours about Morrison in those days.

I can remember being told that Cheshire Police were tired of picking him up for pestering young men in public lavatories and had told him that the next time this happened charges would be brought. The parties, my informant added, were busy selecting candidates for the inevitable by-election.

A different version of this story surfaced in the Guardian column of the late Simon Hoggart in November 2012:
Grahame Nicholls, who ran the Chester Trades Council when Morrison was the local MP, wrote describing how he'd often met Morrison, who was by the 1980s pretty well constantly drunk. 
"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."
The version I heard made no mention of under-age boys, but then the age of consent for gay sex in those days was 21. It was the state, as much as the Paedophile Information Exchange, that served to blur the distinction between man and boy.

Still, Edwina Currie was in little doubt: she called Morrison a pederast, which suggests she believed the boys were younger than 16.

And the former Conservative minister Rod Richards told the Daily Mail in 2012:
"What I do know is that Morrison was a paedophile. And the reason I know that is because of the North Wales child abuse scandal."
He went on to explain:
"It fell to me to decide initially whether to hold a public inquiry. So I saw all the documentation and the files. Morrison was linked. His name stood out on the notes to me because he had been an MP. He and [the other man] were named as visitors to the homes."
All of which suggests that the Morrison saga should be put down as an unlovely example of the way that churches and political parties will protect their own rather than expose wrongdoing.


crewegwyn said...

I wonder why I see 5 stories about the late Sir Cyril Smith for every 1 story about the late Sir Peter Morrison?

Actually, the ratio is greater than 5 ...

Anonymous said...

This is a very good summary of information in the public domain regarding Peter Morrison

Anonymous said...

Rather than establishing the truth about Morrison, this just shows how hard it is to pin down any facts in such cases. Determining what Morrison did is difficult. Currie said she thought all his partners were over 16. In common parlance, 'boy' could mean any age from 5 to 25. 'Underage' could mean all of 20 when Morrison was active. So we're left with a piece of gossip about Morrison being caught cottaging, perhaps with a young man, perhaps with 15 year old - who knows, when the story has passed through such a long process of Chinese whispers.
The Rod Richards story is the oddest of the lot. He said the Morrison allegation appeared on the Jillings report on abuse in the care system. Jillings denied it. Richards then made a vague reference to having seen it in some file or other. What's odd is that Richards was a senior politician, instrumental in setting up the Waterhouse inquiry which was supposed to inquire into these very cases of abuse, yet he didn't do or say anything about it till years later. I thought it seemed strange that he was so vocal about a story damaging to his own party, but perhaps his departure for UKIP tells us something.