Questions: Ivor Frank, Sir Malcolm Evans, Alexis Jay, Drusilla Sharpling (l-r)
By Mark Watts
Key passages from MI5’s files about paedophile allegations against nine ‘people of public prominence’ for the inquiry into child sexual abuse can be revealed today.
Among the 10 VIPs named in MI5’s paedophile files passed to the inquiry panel, chaired by Alexis Jay and pictured above, are six MPs. The quotes, shown in bold italic, replicate the styling of the originals:
“In the mid-1980s MI5 received information from two sources that Peter Morrison ‘has a penchant for small boys’.”
In 1990, Sir Peter Morrison, still a Conservative MP, became parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Lady Thatcher when she was prime minister.
A corporate witness for MI5 tells the Westminster investigation of the inquiry in a statement: “MI5 was made aware of allegations relating to Peter Morrison in November 1986.”
A Conservative party agent for Westminster “had informed a member of MI5 about the allegations,” he says.
The then director general of MI5, the late Sir Antony Duff, was unclear whether the report concerned similar allegations from 1983, according to the MI5 witness.
“No information relating to allegations made about Peter Morrison in 1983 has been found on MI5’s corporate record.”
The Cabinet Office, although not MI5, found a letter from Duff to Lord Armstrong, then cabinet secretary, saying that Morrison had been “picked up by the police for importuning”. The letter says that neither the office of the director of public prosecution (DPP) nor Special Branch was able to substantiate the rumours.
The statement continues: “In November 1986, Morrison has already served as minister of state for employment… and minister of state for trade and industry.”
“It is likely that in these posts Morrison would have had access to sensitive information.
“MI5’s particular concern would have been that, if the allegations were true, they would have rendered Morrison liable to blackmail or other forms of pressure by hostile foreign intelligence services.”
Duff expressed this concern in a letter of November 4, 1986 to Armstrong:
“There must… be a real possibility that Morrison will be a candidate for office again at some sage, and we should then be confronted by the need to consider these stories in the security context.”
“The risk of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger.”
Duff suggested to Armstrong that either the chief whip “might think it appropriate” to question the Conservative party agent who was the source of the information, or MI5 could do it.
The MI5 witness explains to the inquiry the role of Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, who then held a post in MI5’s secretariat team, which worked to the director general and his deputies. She became director general in 2002 for five years.
In a memo to the director general dated November 11, 1986, according to the witness’s statement, “Dame Eliza stated that ‘a friend’ had told her about a newspaper article which appeared in The Star on November 3, 1986. She said that Morrison was being ‘hounded’ by the media as a result, and that he had vehemently denied all claims to ‘another friend’.”
The documents suggest that Manningham-Buller had passed information about Morrison to Duff.
The statement continues: “The exact nature of Dame Eliza’s relationship with Morrison is not clear from MI5’s corporate record.”
Another note from her to Duff about Morrison, of November 13, “indicates that she was close enough to him and his father to socialise with them and to discuss personal details of his life.”
A further letter from Duff to Armstrong says, according to the statement of the MI5 witness, “Morrison hoped the allegations would be published so he could take legal action.” Duff added:
“In the circumstances, there would seem to be little point in carrying this further.”
Armstrong responded in agreement.
The documents suggest that Duff decided to take no further action together with the director who was responsible for domestic surveillance and subversion.
The witness statement says: “The decision appears to have been based on Morrison’s statement (recorded in Dame Eliza’s note) that the prime minister was aware and was supporting him, and that he wished the Press would publish the allegations so he could sue them.
The purpose of MI5’s interest was to ensure the prime minister could make an informed decision about ministerial appointments, and if she was already aware, and supportive of Morrison, it may have been considered there was no requirement for MI5 to take further steps in the matter.”
“Regrettably,” the statement adds, “nothing has been found on MI5’s corporate record to indicate that the risk to children was considered.”
“Over a number of years MI5 received information on several occasions that Irving was homosexual.
“In 1984, MI5 received information that whilst overseas Irving had rented a hotel room ‘to take boys’.”
Tony Daly, in his book, ‘Playland’, says that after being trapped into working as a 20-year-old male prostitute in 1975 as part of the ‘Dilly’ scene in Piccadilly Circus in London, he was pimped out to a series of establishment figures and Sir Charles Irving, a Conservative MP, was the first.
Daly said that Irving invited him to a party organised by the Monday Club to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s election as leader of the Conservative party. He recalled what Irving said to him: “It’s a great opportunity for you to be presented.”
The party was within earshot of Big Ben, Daly said. Men in suits and formal evening wear mixed with teenage boys aged from about 16, some in flamboyant clothes and wearing rouge and eyeliner, Daly recalled. There were no women. Morrison was there.
Daly also said that Irving took him to a party at a house in Essex, where “elderly statesmen” mixed with “Dilly boys”. One boy there was no older than 12, he said.
“In 1981, MI5 received information that suggested that Tom Driberg had engaged in sexual activities with young boys.”
MI5 says that under its recently-introduced child-protection policy that this information would be passed to the police.
That seems doubtful, though, given that Driberg died in 1976.
Tom Driberg had been a Labour MP, a former chairman of the party, and has been named as an MI5 agent while working as a journalist on the Daily Express before turning to politics. The MI5 files passed to the inquiry appear not to mention this. He became a Lord in 1975.
Simon Danczuk, the former Labour MP who campaigned to expose evidence of child sexual abuse by MPs and of cover-up, named Driberg in 2015 as having escaped prosecution for such offences in 1968 after a former detective came forward to him.
Danczuk has provided a statement to the inquiry, mainly about Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP, but also about Driberg.
“In 1973, the police passed MI5 information about an alleged video recording that showed Lambton involved in sexual activities with a boy.”
Antony Lambton resigned as a defence minister and as a Conservative MP the same year after the News of the World published pictures of him smoking marijuana in bed with two women who were prostitutes.
He had disclaimed his father’s hereditary peerage in 1970 in order to remain an MP, but liked to be called Lord Lambton.
William van Straubenzee
“In 1982, MI5 received information that suggested that Van Strauenzee engaged in sexual activities with young boys whilst in Northern Ireland. This information was shared with the Cabinet Office, who shared it with the Prime Minister.”
Sir William van Straubenzee was a minister in Northern Ireland from 1972 to 1974. He remained a Conservative MP until 1987.
“In 1973, the DPP’s office informed MI5 of rumours that Christopher Chataway engaged in sexual activities with children.”
Christopher Chataway was a minister in what was then the Department of Trade and Industry. But he took early retirement from politics at the age of 43 when he stood down as an MP in the second general election of 1974.
He had been the MP for Chichester since 1970, although he was MP for North Lewisham from 1959 to 1966 when he lost his seat. He previously had been an Olympic athlete and television reporter.
“In the mid-1980s, MI5 received information one afternoon that suggested that Leon Brittan or a close MP associate of Brittan engaged in sexual relations with teenagers. Further information was received the next morning clarifying that the information did not in fact relate to Brittan, but was rumoured to relate to the MP associate. Further information was received later in the week that clarified that the rumour had been started by a prisoner turned down for parole out of vindictiveness.”
This is a remarkable entry if only because Sir Leon, later Lord, Brittan was home secretary from 1983 to 1985, giving him ministerial oversight over MI5, and then trade secretary until 1986 when he was forced to resign following a cabinet clash over the future of Westland Helicopters. He has not been counted in the group of six MPs mentioned at the head of this article.
‘VIPs’ others than MPs
The inquiry is also expected to unveil what MI5 knew about three other ‘VIPs’:
“In 1980, MI5 received information that suggested that Peter Hayman engaged in sexual activities with young boys.”
“Peter Hayman first came to the attention of the police and prosecutors in 1978, following the recovery of a parcel of obscene material discovered on a bus. Hayman was not prosecuted for any offences relating to this incident. MI5 were not informed about the police investigation at the time, and it did not come to MI5’s notice until it was reported in the press in 1980. Following this, it was decided that MI5 should investigate whether anything more was known or suspected about Hayman’s activities whilst serving in the Diplomatic Service, in order to determine whether there was any reason to suppose that security had been compromised or any evidence of pressure being placed on Hayman by a hostile foreign intelligence service. MI5 was given access to the DPP’s evidence relating to Hayman’s activities between 1966 to 1978, and made notes based on this.”
“MI5 conducted a series of interview with colleagues of Hayman and with Hayman himself. Two of his colleagues raised concerns, one relating to an allegation of possible child sexual abuse. This colleague stated that they had been informed by a foreign diplomat that local boys had visited Hayman’s house, by implication for homosexual purposes, whilst he was in Baghdad. The age of the boys is not recorded.
“MI5 put this incident to Hayman during a security interview. Hayman was asked about his time in Baghdad and specifically about reports of local boys visiting his house (plus allegations of homosexuality against diplomats he had known there). He laughed as if the suggestion was absurd and said ‘No’. Hayman was then asked if there were circumstances which had brought boys to the house for innocent purposes. Hayman said not. He then said ‘I am not interested in boys. Has someone reported I was interested in Arab boys in Baghdad? Is it in my file? Why has no-one mentioned this before?
“Hayman was asked if he had been blackmailed or threatened. He replied, ‘I have never paid any money for blackmail.’ He was then asked if, leaving money aside, he had been menaced or pressured. Hayman replied, ‘write down that I have never been blackmailed or threatened by anyone’.
“Hayman said he would like to make a statement that his marriage was happy and fulfilled. The interviewer pointed out that he had described his wife as ‘cold’ in a letter. Hayman replied, ‘that’s the kind of thing you write’. Hayman stated that the press revelations had filled him with shame and horror, but he wanted to make the point that at no time had he been subjected to pressure on account of his behaviour.
“Hayman told the interviewer that he understood the diaries had been shredded. He said he had been given immunity from prosecution by the DPP on the ground that his offence did not warrant such punishment, adding ‘though I have been punished by the press’. The interviewer replied that he had no knowledge of DPP’s considering whether to prosecute or not to prosecute.
“During a further interview, Hayman was asked about the discovery of the package of obscene material on a bus. Hayman was specifically asked if he had left the material on the bus. Hayman replied he had not and did not know how it had reached the hands of the police – he seemed to suggest it had become open in transit. He had not continued to deal in pornography. Hayman did not consider himself a risk taker apart from keeping the diaries. He stated that he had never lost classified material in his care through carelessness. Hayman also stated that he had destroyed all pornography in his possession after his interview with the DPP, who had decided after consultation with the FCO to give him immunity from prosecution.
“The interview was written up as a report that the Cabinet Office used as the basis for a minute to the Prime Minister.”
Sir Peter Hayman, by this time aged 66, was a long-time officer for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), better known as MI6 and worked under diplomatic cover.
He was working in Baghdad between 1959 and 1961. He was the UK’s high commissioner to Canada from 1970 to 1974, and is then understood to have become deputy director of MI6.
While it is unclear when exactly he left MI6, Hayman is understood to have retired by the time of MI5’s “security interview” with him. He died in 1992.
Scotland Yard launched an investigation into Hayman in 1978 after a package of “obscene literature” was found on a bus in London and traced to him. The package is said to have been handed into police. It was addressed to him under an assumed name, “Peter Henderson”, at a rented flat in Notting Hill, central London.
Police raided the flat and found 45 volumes of obscene diaries in which Hayman described paedophile fantasies. They discovered that he was a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which promoted sex with children.
The then DPP, Sir Thomas Hetherington, advised against prosecuting Hayman.
Instead, Hayman was cautioned.
Geoffrey Dickens, the late Conservative MP, raised the case under parliamentary privilege and linked Hayman to PIE.
MI5 has supplied copies of some pages from Hayman’s diaries to the inquiry.
The MI5 ‘paedo-files’ describe Hayman simply as a “diplomat” and make no mention of his intelligence roles.
‘Playland’ by Tony Daly reveals Hayman’s interest in promoting a pro-paedophile agenda, especially in arguing to a cut in the age of consent.
“Chief of SIS
“In 1987, the Prime Minister informed the House of Commons that Sir Maurice Oldfield had told her in March 1980 that he had occasionally had homosexual encounters. His Positive Vetting clearance was withdrawn and MI5 conducted a lengthy investigation to determine whether Sir Maurice’s sexual activities posed a risk to national security by making him vulnerable to blackmail or other pressure. The investigation included many interviews with Sir Maurice in which he provided information about homosexual encounters with male domestic staff, referred to as ‘houseboys’, whilst serving in the Middle East in the 1940s and hotel stewards in Asia in the 1950s. The information was previously unknown to MI5 [and, it is understood, to MI6]. There is insufficient information in the records to deduce whether the term ‘houseboys’ is being used simply to describe domestic staff or to denote youth, leaving ambiguity over the ages of the other parties.”
Sir Maurice Oldfield was C, or chief of MI6 from 1973 to 1978.
The then prime minister, Margaret, later Lady, Thatcher called him out of retirement in October 1979 to act as security co-ordinator in Northern Ireland.
But he resigned in March 1980 after his homosexuality was revealed.
He has previously been linked to a cover-up of child sexual abuse at Kincora boys’ home in Northern Ireland.
“In 1968, MI5 received information from the FCO about the refusal of positive vetting clearance for Peters. This was due to Peters’ arrest in Naples the previous year on allegations of the criminal assault of three Italian boys and his admission that he had committed homosexual acts.”
Colin Peters is a former Foreign Office official and tax barrister, who prosecuted VAT cases for HM Customs & Excise.
The MI5’s paedophile files cannot be treated as definitive about the VIPs identified, although Colin Peters in 1989 was one of four men convicted at the Old Bailey of abusing boys. He was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to commit buggery, buggery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
He lured boys to his luxury flat in Bayswater, central London, and plied them with drugs and alcohol before abusing them in his private sauna.
Judge Henry Pownall told him: “By your own efforts, you found boys to satisfy your lust.”
The judge continued: “You were prepared to encourage drugs, and to lace drinks. You have made matters worse by trying to get witnesses not to attend court or to lie to save your own skin. That was disgraceful and you, of all people, must have known it.”
The group abused boys as young as ten over a five-year period. The court heard that up to 150 boys had been abused, with some becoming male prostitutes while others became abusers themselves.
Following his conviction, the Bar Standards Board expelled Peters as a barrister in 1990.
The police believed, the court heard, that the network stretched into Westminster and Whitehall.
Ahead of the start of the Westminster hearings of the inquiry last week, I revealed that the CSA inquiry is due to call Manningham-Buller and Armstrong about Morrison. They are set to appear on Tuesday, while the MI5 witness is to give evidence by video link tomorrow afternoon.
Mark Watts (@MarkWatts_1) is the co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre. This article was updated on 10.03.19, later on the day of first publication, to add some further details.
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