Tory MP Enoch Powell investigated as alleged member of Westminster paedophile network

The name of the late MP was provided to Scotland Yard after a clergyman came forward with claims from the 1980s relating to ritual satanic abuse

Enoch Powell, the Conservative anti-immigrant firebrand, is being investigated as an alleged member of a claimed Westminster paedophile network after his name was supplied to police by a senior Anglican bishop.

The name of the late MP, one of the most divisive politicians of the late 20th century, was provided to Scotland Yard after a clergyman came forward with claims from the 1980s relating to ritual satanic abuse.

Mr Powell, a maverick politician who achieved notoriety with his so-called Rivers of Blood speech decrying migration to Britain, is the latest senior Parliamentarian to be made the subject of police inquiries into an alleged Establishment sex rings.

The Metropolitan Police has several ongoing investigations relating to claims against suspected abusers, including the former Liberal MP Cyril Smith. Detectives are also investigating allegations against former Home Secretary Leon Brittan.

The Independent understands that the claims against Mr Powell were passed to police by the Right Reverend Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, more than a year ago, but that they have only now been made public.

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Widely regarded as one of the most powerful orators in modern British politics, Mr Powell’s time as a frontline politician came to an abrupt end when he was sacked in 1968 as shadow defence secretary by Edward Heath the morning after the Rivers of Blood speech

The Rt Rev Butler, who is the lead on safeguarding for the Church of England, contacted police after details of the allegations against the late Conservative politician were passed to him by a fellow clergyman, Dominic Walker, the former Bishop of Monmouth.

It is understood that the Rt Rev Walker first heard the claims when he was counselling young adults as a curate in the 1980s and claims were made that an unknown number of MPs had been involved in satanic cult-type abuse.

The claim was originally submitted to Operation Fernbridge, a police investigation into abuse related to the Elm Guest House in south west London which is at the centre of claims that it was used by powerful individuals during the 1970s and 1980s for organised sexual abuse. Fernbridge has now closed but allegations submitted to it remain the subject of other ongoing investigations.

In a statement, the Church of England said: “The name of Enoch Powell was passed to Operation Fernbridge by one of our safeguarding team on the instruction of Bishop Paul Butler.”

Multiple claims of satanic abuse were made in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including the notorious case in the Orkney Islands during which children were removed from their homes in dawn raids. A subsequent Government-backed inquiry found there was no evidence to substantiate any of the 86 separate alleged cases.

It is understood the allegations against Mr Powell came from a single individual. Under safeguarding rules, institutions such as the Church of England now automatically pass allegations of abuse to the police for assessment.

Widely regarded as one of the most powerful orators in modern British politics, Mr Powell’s time as a frontline politician came to an abrupt end when he was sacked in 1968 as shadow defence secretary by Edward Heath the morning after the Rivers of Blood speech.

It was revealed by a confidant after the death of the polyglot MP, who distinguished himself during the Second World War and rose to the rank of brigadier by his early 30s, that he had had at least one gay relationship, though this has been disputed.

Simon Heffer, who is Powell’s authorised biographer, told the Mail on Sunday, which revealed the claims against the former politician, that he considered them to be “absolute nonsense”.

Scotland Yard last night said it did not name individuals being investigated as part of its ongoing inquiries into the alleged sex rings.