Rumours of ministerial scandal dismissed (21.06.84)

The Times, 21st June 1984

Thanks to Ian Pace


  1. Troyhand said:,3356401
    The Sydney Morning Herald – Jun 22, 1984
    Sex scandal rumour hits Downing Street

    LONDON, Thursday: The threat of another sex scandal shaking the British Government has spurred the Prime Minister’s office to issue a firm denial of any ministerial impropriety.

    Downing Street this morning told AAP that writs for libel would be issued against any newspaper or broadcasting body that identified the minister around whom rumours have been circulating for some time.

    Government officers described the stories as “assassination by gossip”.

    The Communist Morning Star today reported “a child sex scandal involving a Government minister” might be about to break.

    A Guardian columnist disclosed that another newspaper was investigating “a sensational Whitehall sex scandal”, but gave no details.

    The Observer also teased with the mention of “scandal, or rumours of scandal” when offering a number of reasons for a lift on political temperatures.

    The Times political correspondent today said rumours involving a Cabinet minister had been circulating since last November and had been revived with an investigation by The Mail on Sunday.

    The correspondent, Anthony Bevi[n]s, says the Commons tearoom – the hub of Westminster gossip – has been told the story will going to “break” this weekend.

    According to The Daily Telegraph, the minister concerned has denied the rumours and said he would take legal action if identified in connection with them.

    “Because the minister mentioned is of Cabinet rank, it can be taken that the security services have investigated the rumours,” reported James Wightman, political correspondent of the Telegraph.

    “It can also be taken that the minister has seen the Prime Minister about the matter. Mrs Thatcher has clearly given him an expression of her unqualified confidence.”

    The Conservative Party Government was shaken soon after its landslide re-election last year when it was learned that the party chairman, Mr Cecil Parkinson, and his secretary, Miss Sara Keays, were expecting a child.

    Mr Parkinson, a personal friend of Mrs Thatcher, resigned from the Cabinet and is now undergoing a “rehabilitation period” on the back bench.

    The sex scandal rumours come at a time when Mrs Thatcher’s Government is under fire over the increasingly violent miners’ strike, which has been running for 102 days. The Queen has made known her concern.

  2. Troyhand said:,2398366
    Lakeland Ledger – Jun 22, 1984
    British newspaper report another sex scandal afoot
    The Chicago Tribune

    LONDON – Two British newspapers reported Thursday that yet another scandal involving a Cabinet minister is about to surface. But government officials angrily denied the reports and threatened libel action against anyone naming the minister allegedly involved.

    The latest reports, one of them suggesting that a minister has been involved in sexual misconduct with children, emerged eight months after Industry Minister Cecil Parkinson was forced to resign when it was disclosed that his mistress was to give birth to his child.

    Rumors that another minister in the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was about to be involved in scandal have circulated in political and journalistic circles for the last 10 days.

    The basis of these rumors is unclear, as there is nothing to suggest that a complaint has been made to police. The first published references to the matter appeared Thursday in the Times and the communist newspaper Morning Star.

    The Times did not mention sex but said rumors of a scandal involving a minister date to last November and have been revived by an investigation being conducted by the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

    It said the word is circulating in the House of Commons tea room, the hub of Westminster gossip, that the story will break this weekend. Stuart Steven, editor of the Mail on Sunday, declined to comment.

    The Morning Star said, “Premier Thatcher has been made aware that allegations are freely circulating that the minister had unlawful sexual intercourse with children.”

    A government official angrily denounced the reports as “rumor-mongering without the slightest shred or tissue of evidence.”

    Other sources said the government is not prepared to tolerate trial by newspapers and if the minister is named, libel writs will be issued immediately.

    The Daily Telegraph, in a follow-up to the Times and Morning Star reports, said Thatcher had been “aware in advance of the denial and the threatened legal action.”

    It said the minister who was the subject of the reports had been to see her and sho “has clearly given him an expression of her unqualified confidence.”

    Because the man is of Cabinet rank, the Telegraph said, “it can be taken that the rumors have been investigated by the security services.”

    Opposition politicians refrained from raising the matter during the prime minister’s question time Thursday in Commons. This is a twice-weekly period in which the prime minister answers questions put to her by members.

  3. Troyhand said:,5066850
    The Sydney Morning Herald – Jun 24, 1984
    Minister accused

    LONDON: A Thatcher Government Cabinet minister may have committed sex acts with boys at least twice, Britain’s Morning Star newspaper claims. The Communist daily kept the sex scandal rumours alive by claiming reports indicating the first offence by an unnamed minister occurred before he was a minister. But the second was said to have been more recent and involved a boy at school. Downing Street is continuing to dismiss the rumours as “ridiculous”.

    The Morning Star said Whitehall had made urgent approaches to officials asking them not to mention the name of the minister.

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