Edward Heath not only UK MP accused of pedophilia

  • 05/08/2015
Edward Heath (AAP)
Edward Heath (AAP)

Allegations linking former prime minister Edward Heath to child sex abuse are threatening fresh disgrace for Britain's political establishment as claims of high-level historic pedophilia pile up.

Heath led Britain between 1970 and 1974, taking it into the European Economic Community in 1973, and was known as a curmudgeonly bachelor who loved sailing and classical music. He died in 2005 at the age of 89.

Now he has become the most senior figure to join the ranks of prominent Westminster politicians accused, many of them posthumously, of sexually abusing children.

"I'm in absolutely no doubt that there were a significant number of politicians and many others in high society... who were committing child sexual abuse and probably continue to do so," Simon Danczuk, an opposition Labour MP and a leading campaigner on the issue, told Sky News television.

Others urged caution, noting that Heath was not around to defend himself.

"There are many unanswered questions here," former Conservative lawmaker Brian Binley, who once worked in Heath's office, told BBC radio. "We must be very careful. It's easy to smear people not around."

Several police forces have confirmed they are investigating allegations about Heath after a police watchdog announced it was investigating a retired policeman's claim that a prosecution was dropped in the 1990s when the accused threatened to expose the ex-premier.

Tuesday's (local time) Daily Mirror newspaper carried an allegation from a man who said he was raped by Heath in 1961, aged 12, before it emerged as many as five police forces were investigating allegations.

Heath, who led the Conservative Party now headed by Prime Minister David Cameron, is not the first politician accused of abuse.

Others include the late Leon Brittan, interior minister under Margaret Thatcher and then a European commissioner; Cyril Smith, a Liberal MP who died in 2010; and Greville Janner, an ex-Labour MP and member of the House of Lords.