Right now, with calls from across the political spectrum for them to have an independent inquiry into their Islamophobia problem, the last thing the Tories need is for the sheen to be taken off the Thatcher era. But that is exactly what they are getting today, as the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, sitting in London, has heard testimony about the former City of Chester MP Peter Morrison.
Peter Morrison, former Chester MP ...
... with the woman who promoted him ...
Morrison, as Zelo Street readers will recall, was PPS to Margaret Thatcher at the time she faced - and lost - a challenge to her leadership in 1990. He spent much of the time he should have been lobbying for votes either in a drunken stupor, or asleep as a result of being drunk. He was also, as former minister Edwina Currie asserted in her diaries, known to have a penchant for under-age boys. She claimed knowledge of this was widespread.
... and where his career ended (still no blue plaque, mind)
As BBC North West man Phil McCann, who is attending the inquiry, has told, “Morrison’s former agent Frances Mowat giving evidence - saying she never heard any negative rumours about Morrison when she worked in Chester between 1975 and 1988”. Strange, Morrison’s successor Gyles Brandreth picked up on the rumours in 1991.
He later told “the word on the street was that Peter was ‘a disgusting pervert’. Out canvassing, knocking on doors in the large council estates, we were told that Morrison was a monster who interfered with children”. And Grahame Nicholls, for Labour, “says rumours about Morrison were ‘rife’ in Chester. Said the ‘political elite’ and press certainly knew of them: ‘Nobody did anything but everybody knew’”. He had more in the same vein.
“Grahame Nicholls says there was a ‘Chester cover-up’ for 20 years of the allegations against Peter Morrison. Says local Labour struck a deal with Tories, press and police not to publicise allegations Morrison had abused a 15 year old boy as long as he stood down in 1992”. This ties in with the claims made by the late Simon Hoggart.
He was told “After the 1987 general election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe station with a 15-year-old boy. A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further” by the former head of Chester Trades Council”. Who Hoggart names as Grahame Nicholls.
Which is interesting, because Ms Russell has been giving testimony today. Phil McCann again: “This morning [former] Chester Labour MP Christine Russell told the inquiry there was ‘no truth whatsoever’ in claims of a cover-up of the Morrison allegations between them and Tories. Said it ‘would not have been in the interests of the Labour Party to stop the rumours’”. So how does she explain Hoggart’s account, which is still live?
McCann has also reported that “An MI5 witness is now giving evidence anonymously. They say ‘it’s a matter of regret’ that MI5 didn’t pass allegations about Peter Morrison to the police. Says ‘if the same information had come to MI5 today it would be passed to the police’”. It seems rather a lot of people knew. Even if they don’t in the retelling.
The Thatcher legacy takes another hammering. The Lady’s reputation is for turning.
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