A senior whip in the government of the former Tory Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath boasted that he helped Westminster politicians at the time avoid being exposed for “scandals involving small boys”.
Tim Fortescue, a whip under Heath between 1970 and 1973, spoke to the BBC for a documentary entitled “Westminster’s Secret Service”, in which he said the Prime Minister’s Chief Whip kept a little black “dirt book” of MPs’ secrets to maintain political control.
Heath has this week been named as the subject of claims of child sex abuse, made in the 1990s, and the independent police watchdog has launched a probe in to Wiltshire Police’s handling of the accusations.
Fortescue, who died in 2008 aged 92, was a Tory MP for eight years until 1974. The footage of him speaking to the BBC in 1995 emerged last year as the Westminster child abuse scandal came to light.
Then, Fortescue said problems involving members “might be debt, or it might be a scandal involving small boys”.
“They would come and ask if we could help,” Fortescue said. “And if we could we did, and we would do everything we could, because we could store up brownie points.
“That’s one of the reasons we would get a chap out of trouble – because he’d then be ours forever-more.”
Watch the full footage below:
Heath, who died 10 years ago, has been accused of raping a 12-year-old boy in his Mayfair flat in 1961. In an interview with The Mirror, the alleged victim, now in his 60s, claimed he was picked up while hitchhiking.
Wiltshire Police has appealed for potential victims of Sir Edward to come forward, after launching an inquiry on the back of allegations made by a retired senior officer.
Labour MP Tom Watson, who used parliamentary privilege to raise claims of a paedophile ring linked to Downing Street, told The Independent: "I received information in 2012 concerning allegations of child abuse carried out by Edward Heath and a separate claim concerning Heath was made to me subsequently.
"I passed them both to the police, who have confirmed to me that at least one of those allegations is being investigated and taken seriously.
"I continue to call for a central police investigation unit for the country . Maybe this investigation would have moved faster had there been one."
Edward Heath - Life in pictures
Edward Heath - Life in pictures
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Leader of the British Conservative Party Edward Heath tours his constituency during the general election campaign, 1966
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British Conservative Party politician and amateur musician, Edward Heath conducting the annual carol concert at the Grand Ballroom, Broadstairs, Kent, in December 1963
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Conservative Party leader Mr Edward Heath holds up with pride the new Conservative election manifesto entitled 'A Better Tomorrow' at a press conference in London, 1970
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British prime minister Edward Heath chatting with US president Richard Nixon at Chequers in Buckinghamshire
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British Prime Minister Edward Heath, skipper of the British team for the Admiral Cup Series with his team aboard the yacht 'Morning Cloud' at Southsea, Hampshire, 1971
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In 1974 the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, left, was ousted from Downing Street when Harold Wilson, right, formed a minority Labour government
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Ted Heath leaves Downing Street to hand in his resignation, 1974
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British Prime Minister Edward Heath announces the date of the General Election, 1974
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Deposed Conservative party leader Edward Heath with his successor Margaret Thatcher, 1975
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Former Prime Minister Edward Heath at his home in 1975
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At the Conservative Party Conference (L-R), Mr Edward Heath, MP for Bexley, Mr Francis Pym, Leader of the House of Commons, and Mr William Whitelaw, Home Secretary, applaud a colleague's speech, 1981
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Edward Heath at his home in Salisbury in 1980s
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Edward Heath bids farwell to Chia Chia the panda, London Zoo, 1988
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British prime minister Sir Edward Heath, appearing before the US Senate armed committee on the situation in the Persian Gulf, 1990
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Sir Edward Heath arrives at No.10 Downing Street for a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, 2002
An IPCC spokesman has said it will investigate allegations concerning the force's handling of an "alleged claim of child sexual abuse made in the 1990s".
He added: "It is alleged that a criminal prosecution was not pursued when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children.
In a statement, the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation has said: "We welcome the investigation by Wiltshire Police, which we wholeheartedly believe will clear Sir Edward's name and we will co-operate fully with the police in their inquiries."Reuse content