Not long after the Jimmy Savile affair broke, and the BBC’s Newsnight programme found itself in hot water, with its editor temporarily standing down while an investigation proceeded, the show is back in the news, and over an edition that is yet to be broadcast. This follows the allegations by Labour MP Tom Watson that a former senior aide to a former Prime Minister was a paedophile.
Following the Watson allegations, there was speculation that this person was Peter Morrison, former Parliamentary Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher, who represented Chester and was known for his propensity to cruise the Sussex Gardens area of an evening. But it now appears that the name in the frame is still alive, and Morrison is long dead.
Moreover, one other Thatcher PPS, Ian Gow, is also long dead, having been murdered by the IRA. So the meaning of the phrase “senior aide” has been thought not to mean a PPS, and this has led to one name being put forward, this identifying a current MP and household name. It’s possible that this assumption is correct, but then again, it may not be, and there are other possibilities.
The period suggested by the Watson allegations is the early 1990s, which would mean the “senior aide” was a Tory, and the PM, if not Thatcher, would have been “Shagger” Major. And the name being bandied about following the revelation by Iain Overton, editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, has not been a “senior aide”, although there are other names that come to mind.
Major had two PPSs during his premiership, although both are married. Thatcher has at least two that are still alive, one of whom is not married, although he is still politically active. In what role that activity takes place, and in what place it occurs, are easily searchable and I will leave it to others to do the Googling and bring up the name. That person’s CV suggests he is not short of a few quid.
And Michael Crick has been in touch with the person who may be named by Newsnight, to find that he is prepared to issue proceedings against all concerned, and to be able to do so without first stopping and doing one’s sums also suggests someone not exactly on their uppers. So I would advise caution in rushing to follow the herd here: let’s wait and see.
Because this could be a most Educating revelation.