Connect with us

Conservative Party

Late PM #Heath had questions to answer over child sex abuse claims say police

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Edward Heath (pictured), British prime minister from 1970 to 1974, would have been questioned about claims he sexually abused boys if he were alive today, police said after a two-year investigation into the allegations, writes Michael Holden.

Heath, who died 12 years ago, would have been interviewed under caution over seven allegations including raping an 11-year-old boy and indecently assaulting men and other boys, one aged 10.

The alleged incidents occurred from 1956 to 1992 while he was a Member of Parliament but not prime minister, said Wiltshire Police, the force in western England which headed the national investigation named Operation Conifer.

Advertisement

Supporters of Heath, who never married, have said the investigation was an expensive, flawed witch-hunt.

“In the case of seven individual disclosures, if Sir Edward Heath had been alive today, it has been concluded he would have been interviewed under caution in order to obtain his account in relation to the allegations made against him,” Wiltshire Police said in a statement.

“No inference of guilt should be drawn by the decision to interview under caution. The account from Sir Edward Heath would have been as important as other evidence gathered as part of the investigation.”

Advertisement

In total, 40 individuals came forward with accusations against the former British leader. Of these, evidence undermining the claims were found in 19 cases and three accusers later concluded they were mistaken in naming Heath.

In 10 other cases, the claims were made by a third party while three were made anonymously, so police said no findings had been concluded in these incidents.

Heath became prime minister in 1970 and most notably negotiated Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community which later became the EU. He was ousted from Downing Street in 1974 when he lost two elections after a miners’ strike helped bring down the government.

He then lost the leadership of the Conservative Party to Margaret Thatcher in 1975, whom he never forgave and repeatedly criticized in what detractors described as “the longest sulk in history”. He remained a lawmaker until 2001 and died in 2005 aged 89.

An artillery officer in World War Two, he was very private and was widely regarded as an awkward, prickly man with little gift for small talk.

He was passionate about music and also shone as a yachtsman, owning five racing yachts named Morning Cloud, and once winning the Sydney to Hobart race.

He even took part in competitions while prime minister, skippering the British team to victory in the 1971 Admiral’s Cup, a five-day yacht race off southern England and Ireland.

Heath’s godson, artist Lincoln Seligman who knew the former Conservative leader for 50 years, said the police investigation had cast a stain over a man who could not defend himself.

“If allegations are out there he might easily have been called in for questioning,” he told BBC radio. “But ... that’s a very low bar and in the case of a dead man it’s practically no bar at all. So yes they had to question him but that tells us nothing.”

Britain has been rocked by a series of child abuse scandals in recent years with the most notable involving the late TV and radio presenter Jimmy Savile.

A five-year public inquiry is now looking into whether powerful figures in politics, churches, or local government helped cover up abuse, but other investigations into historical claims have been damned.

A scathing report last November said police were guilty of serious failings in a major inquiry into alleged child sex abuse by high-profile figures based on claims from a man known only by the pseudonym of “Nick”.

These claims were later rejected by detectives, leading to personal apologies from London’s police chief to those involved: ex-lawmaker Harvey Proctor, former army chief Edwin Bramall and the widow of Leon Brittan, a former minister in Thatcher’s government who died without knowing he had been cleared.

“As a result of the Jimmy Savile affair, the pendulum has swung so far the other way, in that there’s now an order out there that victims should be believed, that seems to undermine any investigation,” Seligman said.

“So in (Heath‘s) case ... a proper investigation should’ve taken place and that’s not what happened.”

ECR Group

Italian MEP Vincenzo Sofo joins the ECR Group

Published

on

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament has decided to take on Italian MEP Vincenzo Sofo as a new member.

Mr Sofo was elected to the European Parliament in 2019. He was one of the three Italian candidates suspended pending the exit of the British Members. On February 1st 2020, Mr Sofo officially took his European Parliament seat. The ECR Group now holds 63 seats in the European Parliament.

After the meeting, ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto said: “I’d like to welcome Mr Sofo to our Group. He is a trained and competent colleague who has made a political choice consistent with his political path. We are sure that Mr Sofo MEP will be able to make a decisive contribution to the work of our Group, and to our alternative vision of the future of Europe, that is, a community of homelands and nations that cooperate in respect of our different identities and peculiarities.”

ECR Co-Chairman Ryszard Legutko said: “The decision of Mr Sofo shows that our political project, together with the strength of our ideas and our values, is credible and attractive, and from today even stronger and more able to give concrete answers to our citizens in terms of well-being, wealth and security.”

Following the decision, Sofo said: “The European Union is going through one of the most difficult periods in its history, not only from an economic point of view but also from a social and cultural point of view. Surely, it must be profoundly changed to be preserved. Considering the political forces grouped in the European Conservatives and Reformists, they are the ones most able to carry out this task.

“The Conference on the Future of Europe will be a crucial appointment for our Continent and the work that conservative forces will be able to do to correct the mistakes of the European project will be fundamental to straightening its path by strengthening our Nation states and values that have forged its spirit.”

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Brexit

Brexit causing supply problems for small UK manufacturers: survey

Published

on

By

New post-Brexit trade restrictions have pushed up the cost of parts and raw materials for two thirds of small British manufacturers surveyed last month, and a majority reported some level of disruption, writes David Milliken.

The survey of nearly 300 firms, by consultants South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme, a government and European Union-funded initiative providing support to small firms, adds to the picture of disruption from new customs checks that came into force on Jan. 1 for goods trade with the EU.

“Price hikes in the supply chain have been immediate, and we are hearing tales of lead times being extended on raw materials,” said Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS.

Some 65% of manufacturers reported higher costs, and 54% said they had greater difficulties exporting goods to the EU.

Advertisement

Around a fifth of manufacturers thought they might gain from customers bringing work back to Britain from the EU.

Britain’s government has said many of the difficulties are “teething troubles” and last week said it would make 20 million pounds ($27.7 million) available to help small firms get used to the new rules. Further restrictions are due to take effect later this year.

Earlier this month the Bank of England forecast that Brexit-related trade disruption would reduce economic output by 1% during the current quarter - equivalent to about £5 billion - and it expects trade to fall by 10% in the long term.

Advertisement




Brexit supporters say Britain will gain long-term advantages by setting its own trade rules with countries outside Europe, as well as from greater control over domestic regulation.

Continue Reading

Brexit

UK says it's not yet at 'gin and tonic' stage with EU after Brexit

Published

on

By

Britain said on Tuesday (9 February) its relations with the European Union after Brexit had been problematic due to differences over everything from vaccines and Northern Ireland as well as a row over the status of London’s top diplomat in Brussels, writes .

The United Kingdom left the EU in January last year, and fully exited the bloc’s economic orbit on 31 December 2020, though the European Commission sent shockwaves through the British province of Northern Ireland last month by threatening to restrict vaccine exports through Ireland’s land border.

“It has been more than bumpy to be honest in the last six weeks: I think it has been problematic and I hope we’ll get over this,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s EU adviser, David Frost (pictured), told a House of Lords committee.

“The EU is still adjusting somewhat to the existence of a genuinely independent actor in their neighborhood,” he said. “It is going to require a different spirit, probably, from the EU.”

Advertisement

Michael Gove, Johnson’s top minister on Brexit affairs, compared the relationship to turbulence on an aircraft after takeoff.

“You sometimes get that increased level of turbulence, but then eventually you reach a cruising altitude and the crew tell you to take your seatbelts off and enjoy a gin and tonic and some peanuts,” Gove said. “We’re not at the gin and tonic and peanuts stage yet, but I’m confident we will be.”

Britain has been seeking to etch out concessions from the EU since the Commission sought briefly to prevent vaccines from moving across the open border between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Commission cited a shortfall of vaccines promised for the EU, but reversed its move after an uproar.

Advertisement




Gove, who is due to meet Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic on Thursday (11 February), said he would press the EU for practical changes on the ground to the implementation of the protocol governing Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade with Ireland.

“I want the protocol to work and I think there are ways in which we can do that by making practical changes on the ground,” Gove said.

The Commission informed London that the EU would need more time to ratify the 24 December 2020 deal on future British-EU relations and Frost scolded the bloc for what he said was its restrictions imposed on the activities of Britain’s envoy to Brussels.

“I’m even more sorry there’s a restriction on the activity of our ambassador and some of his team in Brussels,” Frost said. “I don’t think it is quite tit-for-tat because we are not putting any restriction on the operation of the EU mission in London.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending