Secret file on ‘unnatural’ sex at Westminster

A file concerning past "unnatural sexual" behaviour at Westminster has been discovered among the National Archives. Picture: PA
A file concerning past "unnatural sexual" behaviour at Westminster has been discovered among the National Archives. Picture: PA
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ALLEGATIONS of “unnatural sexual” behaviour at Westminster are contained in a previously top-secret file found at the National Archives.

University lecturer Dr Chris Murphy uncovered the once-classified document late last year at the archives in Kew, London.

Dr Murphy said he was shocked to come across the file in November, entitled: “PREM19/588 – SECURITY. Allegations against former public [word missing] of unnatural sexual proclivities; security aspects 1980 Oct 27 – 1981 Mar 20.”

“I think I did a double-take and then started wondering what the potential implications of the title, which is a little vague, could be,” he said.

The “PREM” category of files covers documents and correspondence that passed through the prime minister’s office. Sir Bernhard Ingham, former press secretary of then PM Margaret Thatcher, told reporters he could not recall the file.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “In this case, the file was kept closed as it contained information from the security services and advice from law officers. These classifications are reviewed periodically.”

Asked whether it would be released to a current institutional child sex abuse inquiry, the spokeswoman added: “We are clear that any files that are pertinent to the inquiry will be made available to the panel.”

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Home Secretary Theresa May set up the inquiry to find out whether public bodies had neglected or covered up allegations of child sex abuse in the wake of claims paedophiles had operated in Westminster in the 1980s.

Mrs May announced the inquiry in July but it has been beset by problems following the resignations of the government’s first two choices for chairman and doubts over plans to give it extra powers.

Previous appointments to chair the inquiry, Fiona Woolf and Baroness Butler-Sloss, resigned following claims about their perceived closeness to establishment figures.

Meanwhile, Sharon Evans, a child abuse survivor and member of the panel, last night told MPs she had been “bullied” by the barrister for the embattled inquiry, Ben Emmerson QC.

Mr Emmerson said Ms Evans’ allegations were “entirely baseless”.

Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, said it would call the barrister to give evidence.

“These developments must be leaving the survivors aghast,” Mr Vaz said.

In November, a report by NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless and barrister Richard Whittam QC, into how the Home Office handled paedophile ring allegations in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, was released.

It found no evidence of a cover-up but warned it was impossible to draw firm conclusions.

Liz Dux, abuse lawyer at Slater & Gordon, which represents more than 800 victims, said: “Yet again – as in so many historical abuse cases – we appear to be seeing a missed opportunity where allegations were brushed under the carpet.

“It is an outrage that this file was seen at prime ministerial-level and we are only finding about it now.”