Bernard Weatherill was staggered to hear of child sex abuse by former home secretary
By Tim Wood | 10 February 2015
“He said that one of them preferred children, and he was a senior Tory person, and that person would be sent to Brussels” – Clive Harrington
Speaker Bernard Weatherill was stunned when a businessman told him privately in 1989 that former home secretary Leon Brittan was a paedophile.
Clive Harrington, then the owner of a successful insurance company, was invited to an exclusive dinner at the speaker’s residence in Parliament because he was hoping to become a Conservative MP.
Weatherill, recalled Harrington, asked him: “What makes you think that you would make a good MP?”
Harrington, who has been talking to Exaro about the episode since July, replied: “I cannot do any worse than the ones you already have. I said that I knew of several MPs who were using kinky services of a brothel, and that Leon Brittan has been abusing children.”
His comment was greeted with complete silence, he remembered. “I said it because I thought that it was an informal chat. That was my mistake. Probably too many glasses of wine, and it slipped out.
“I realised immediately that I had, at the very least, breached etiquette. Weatherill ignored what I said, and did not talk to me again. My comment was met with silence.”
Weatherill, who was elected Conservative MP in 1964 and had become speaker of the House of Commons, ignored Harrington for the rest of the meal.
The dinner was for 12 guests, who were sat at a long dining table, with Weatherill at the head, said Harrington. “It was very old school tie.”
Harrington said that a good friend who ran four brothels – including one in Pimlico, near Parliament – told him that Brittan was a paedophile.
His friend told him in 1988 about the “kinky” tastes of several MPs who frequented the Pimlico brothel. “He told me that there was one very senior guy who would stand there naked in a bowler hat, and have girls do stuff, and all that.
“Another guy would have them round to do work, like housemaids, but naked.
“He said that straight sex was the exception to the rule.
“He said that one of them preferred children, and he was a senior Tory person, and that person would be sent to Brussels, and he was. He told me that it was Leon Brittan, and he was into ‘kiddie fiddling’, his words not mine.
“That is what he said to me. He spoke about other MPs but the only name that he gave me was Leon Brittan. I was shocked.”
He said that, besides MPs, “toffs and powerful people” frequented the Pimlico brothel.
Brittan, who was home secretary then trade secretary, stopped being an MP in 1988. He became a European commissioner the following year.
Harrington said that his girlfriend of the time was friends with the brothel owner’s daughter.
He said: “We came from similar backgrounds, and we had both made, relatively speaking, a lot of money.
“I had gone from being born in the same council house as my mum had been born in, to being a paper millionaire before I was 30. I drove a brand new Ferrari.” Margaret Thatcher was then prime minister. He said: “I was a Thatcherite, and it was because of her that I became a millionaire. I thought that I could become a Tory MP.”
“It was the brashness of youth.”
A friend who was a well-connected solicitor secured the invitation for Harrington to the dinner with Weatherill, who died in 2007.
But Harrington, of Sussex, blames his outburst for a harassment campaign against him.
He was arrested for stealing a car that he had hired. “It was a fit up”, he said. No charges were brought.
Police then questioned him about three insurance policies that he had sold. “I was totally bemused by it all. No charges were ever brought. I had done nothing wrong.”
The suspicion destroyed his business and he lost his licence to trade, Harrington said. He went bankrupt, going from a millionaire-lifestyle to being a “tramp” in a few years.
“I kind of learned the hard way. You do not fight these kinds of people.”
Today’s disclosures come after Exaro revealed that Brittan was buried in an unmarked grave following disclosures of a major police investigation into him over multiple allegations of rape and sexually abusing boys.
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