Margaret Thatcher has been accused of protecting a Conservative MP under suspicion of child abuse, according to disclosed MI5 files.
Documents disclosed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) revealed that MI5 had warned the Cabinet Office in 1986 that the late Chester MP Peter Morrison had a “penchant for small boys”.
MI5 officer Eliza Manningham-Buller, who would go on to become the service’s director general, reported that the Prime Minister was aware of the allegations and was supportive of Morrison, and the accusations were not passed to the police.
Mr Morrison subsequently served as the Conservative Party Deputy Chairman, and became Mrs Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in July 1990.
An anonymous member of MI5 told the IICSA committee today “with hindsight it is a matter of deep regret” that the intelligence service did not pass on their evidence to the police.
The inquiry heard that the security service were concerned of the allegations into Mr Morrison due to the fear that he could be blackmailed and therefore pose a threat to national security.
The MI5 member added: “If the prime minister knew of the allegations, was not particularly, on the face of it, concerned about them, if this is a true account of the situation - then there would be little point in MI5 investigating further.”
'Deal struck' between Labour and Conservative to cover up allegations
The inquiry also heard that Mr Morrison, who died in 1995, that a deal had allegedly been struck between Labour and the Conservatives after the MP was caught by police with a young boy at a railway station.
Trade unionist Graham Nicholls said the two parties had held a meeting sometime between 1988 and 1990 in which it was agreed that Mr Morrison would not stand in the 1992 General Election if Labour did not report the allegations.
Mr Nicholls said: "The reason given was that Peter Morrison had been caught by Cheshire Police in a toilet in a railway station.
"The agreement was that if he wasn't standing then we wouldn't break cover on this particular story."
The former Labour MP for Chester, Christine Russell, denied that any such meeting took place.