Monday, September 25, 2017

Andrew Bridgen, Edward Heath and Wiltshire police

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North West Leicestershire's Andrew Bridgen is the ultimate rent-a-quote backbench Conservative MP, ready with an ill-informed right-wing opinion on any topic at the drop of a hat.

Only last week he was in the Daily Mail complaining about a National Trust exhibition at Kingston Lacy:
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said of the Kingston Lacy exhibition: "This is totally inappropriate. It’s not what people visit the National Trust for. If I want moral guidance I go to church – not the National Trust."
Perhaps Bridgen should have spent more time in church, because today his excruciating performance at a family court hearing has been all over the papers.

My readers are, of course, much too sophisticated to be interested in such matters - I recommend Fleet Street Fox in the Mirror for the best account.

Even before that story broke, however, I was considering a post about Bridgen because of the extraordinary context in which his name cropped up on Sunday.

A Sunday Times report headed "Fresh doubt over Heath sex inquiry" contained this passage:
The Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who has seen an early draft of Wiltshire police’s report on Heath, described its findings as "credible and disturbing". 
The MP for North West Leicestershire said: "I have never known any other police investigation that has got as much media attention and where such efforts have been made to discredit it before publication. 
"I have the utmost confidence in his [Veale’s] integrity and the professionalism of his team, and I would urge people to reserve judgment until they have read the report."
It is right that accusations against of sexual abuse Edward Heath should be investigated. But if it is true that this investigation has failed to contact Sir Timothy Kitson, who knew Heath for 35 years and was his parliamentary private secretary during his time at No 10 from 1970-74, it is hard not to be sceptical about it.

Above all, you wonder who decided to give Andrew Bridgen a copy of the the report, particularly as it seems that this report will remain confidential.
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I hope the journalists reporting the publication of a redacted version of the report on 5 October will ask that question.

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