Police want to interview former Conservative MP after carrying out raid on his property
By Tim Wood, Alex Varley-Winter and Mark Conrad | 5 March 2015
“I find myself in a very Kafkaesque, fantasy situation”
– Harvey Proctor, former Conservative MP
Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor today denied that he went to “sex parties”. He confirmed that police turned up at his house yesterday with a search warrant, as revealed by Exaro.
He said that detectives have also told him that they want to interview him as part of their investigation, and he urged them to do so “at the earliest opportunity”.
“I have never attended sex parties,” he said. “I have not been part of any rent-boy ring with cabinet ministers, other members of Parliament, or generals, or the military.”
From early yesterday morning until late last night, detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service’s ‘Operation Midland’, with local officers, were carrying out a search of Proctor’s property as part of an investigation into historical allegations of child sex abuse. The police team included forensic specialists.
Proctor’s house, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, is part of the 16,000-acre estate of Belvoir Castle. His property nestles in the shadow of the magnificent castle, which is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland.
Exaro has been keeping watch on the quiet scene. A media pack of more than a dozen journalists, including television reporters and photographers, gradually joined our reporter outside the property today. Proctor’s property dates from the 1850’s, and is part of a complex called Engine Yard, which mainly has red-brick industrial buildings, including a saw-mill.
The picture shows the old industrial buildings to the left, and Proctor’s house to the right. The former MP has so far not been seen at the property since the raid began.
He went on to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning to deny that he took part in any sexual abuse of children.
Asked whether he was previously aware of Operation Midland, Proctor said: “I may not have known of the detail of it, but anyone would be blind if they had not seen the Press relating these matters over the last year, and I find myself in a very Kafkaesque, fantasy situation.”
Operation Midland is investigating a wide range of allegations, including claims of child sex abuse at Dolphin Square, the apartment complex near Parliament where many MPs have homes. Among the alleged perpetrators are politicians and other people in positions of power, including what have so-far been described as senior military figures.
Proctor said: “I have never attended sex parties at Dolphin Square or anywhere else. I have not been part of any rent-boy ring with cabinet ministers other members of Parliament, or generals, or the military.”
“I was a discreet person. I was regarded in the House of Commons as a very independent member of Parliament and a loner. The last thing that I would dream of doing is talking to other members of Parliament or ministers or anybody else about my personal life. It was not that I was ashamed of being a homosexual.”
He denied having knowledge that any other politician carried out such activities. “Absolutely not, no. And if I had have known about it at the time, I would have contacted the police.”
He continued: “I believe that the number of victims grows by the day, the number of alleged perpetrators through death diminishes. That is a problem. It is certainly a problem for me. I suppose my problem is that I am still very much alive.
“I am sure that some of the allegations are true. But I am also sure that a lot of the allegations are pure and utter fantasy.”
Proctor said that he had pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency in 1987. “Those offences related entirely to the age of consent for homosexuality,” he said.
“That age has been reduced first to 18, and now to 16. The offences I committed in 1987 are no longer offences.”
He confirmed that detective from Operation Midland want to interview him. He said: “The police wish to interview me. They talked in terms of that interview taking place in a matter of weeks. I asked for that interview to take place at the earliest opportunity.”
Update 5 March 2015 4pm: Harvey Proctor this afternoon gave a hastily-arranged press conference to confirm that police had searched his house, but that he had nothing more to add to his comments from earlier this morning.
Journalists camped outside his home were told at around 2.30pm that Proctor would give a press conference in an hour at a barn a mile away. A man had driven from the castle to tell journalists about the press conference, distributing a sheet with directions.
A battery of microphones was set up in the car park of an old red-brick barn on the estate of Belvoir Castle.
The former MP arrived in a white van, accompanied by two men, including a security guard in a yellow, fluorescent jacket.
Dressed in a dark suit, Proctor read a short statement from a white card, as his grey hair blew in the wind.
He said: “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I confirm that yesterday the Metropolitan police searched my house with a warrant issued under section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. I am assisting the police with its enquiries.
“This morning, I gave an interview on the BBC Today programme. I have nothing to add to this Kafkaesque fantasy. Thank you very much indeed.”
After a 60-second press conference, Proctor marched back to the van, remaining tight-lipped as reporters fired questions at him. He climbed into the passenger seat of the van, which then sped out of the car park.
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