Prior to nominating Peter Morrison to a top party post, Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, was warned of the man’s involvement in sex parties with children. Thatcher’s personal bodyguard, Barry Strevens, has said he informed Thatcher not only that Morrison attended but actually hosted such affairs at his home in the county of Cheshire.
Morrison, who died in 1995 at the age of 51, was a confidant of Lady Thatcher and worked during the 1980s for her Conservative Party. Despite having listened to the allegations relayed by Strevens, Thatcher moved forward with her appointment of Morrison to the position of deputy party chairman.
At the time, the high-ranking party position had become vacant after its former holder, Jeffrey Archer, stepped down following a news story that alleged he had forwarded £2,000 to a prostitute. Strevens was aware that Morrison was under consideration for the top party position and, after hearing of the sex abuse allegations from a senior Cheshire police officer, felt obliged to inform Thatcher. He immediately met with the Iron Lady and her private secretary, Archie Hamilton, who took notes. Thatcher was not at all naive, Strevens said, “but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.”
Strevens said that his request for a meeting with the P.M. was unusual so she would have known the request was about something serious. He told Thatcher and Hamilton ” … exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.”
Although the information Strevens delivered to Thatcher and Hamilton was rumor, the context was meaningful as the Jeffrey Archer prostitution scandal was still fresh in his nation’s psyche “and I knew she needed to know about it.”
Strevens said that Thatcher listened attentively and thanked him. Strevens said he assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Morrison following that. When Strevens saw that Thatcher had made the appointment nevertheless, he inferred that the claims had indeed been investigated and there was nothing to them because ” … there was no way on Earth she would have given him the job otherwise.”
Archie Hamilton confirmed that the three-way meeting Strevens described at Number 10 Downing Street did indeed occur. He did not, however, recall any mention by Strevens of underage boys. He remembers Strevens speaking of parties at Morrison’s home “and there were only men who were there. It was merely a party and men were there,” he said.
Stories of powerful abusers evading justice have been common along London’s Fleet Street for decades. Before Strevens came forward about Morrison, Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, announced last month the formation of a sweeping investigation into sexual abuse against children. She and her staff will follow leads against individuals throughout the U.K. government as well as the private sector. Among others, the investigation will delve into MI5, the British Broadcasting Company and churches. Even larger claims will be examined against the criminal justice system and Westminster itself. May has said that, if warranted, the investigation would be converted to a larger public inquiry, allowing evidence to be gathered from individuals under oath.
The chairperson of the inquiry, Baroness Butler-Sloss, has already quit the inquiry amidst talk that her brother, Sir Michael Havers – a member of Thatcher’s Cabinet – covered up a refusal to prosecute a Foreign Office diplomat and a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange.
Journalist Nick Davies reports that the Sunday Mirror received multiple reports from police officers that Morrison had “cottaged” underaged boys in public toilets. He was released each time with a “caution.”
Morrison was the son of the First Baron Margadale and his grandfather was the Second Viscount Hambleden. The Thatcher confidant received his education in Law at Keble and Eton Colleges in Oxford.
By Gregory Baskin