Full transcript of former Tory MP’s press conference as he faced journalists’ questions
By Mark Conrad and Mark Watts | 29 August 2015
It includes all the questions and answers at the press conference as well as the statement read out by Proctor.
Detectives on the Metropolitan Police Service’s ‘Operation Midland’ questioned the ex-MP for a second time under caution on Monday, coming after police raided Proctor’s house in March.
The day after the raid, Proctor denied on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he went to what he called “sex parties”. He added: “I have not been part of any rent-boy ring with cabinet ministers, other members of Parliament, or generals, or the military.”
Police questioned Proctor under caution for six hours in June. Operation Midland was launched last year after a key witness known as “Nick” came forward initially to Exaro to give an account of child sex abuse at Dolphin Square and elsewhere.He then agreed to talk to detectives, accompanied at his first meeting by an Exaro reporter.
At that first meeting with police, Nick handed to officers a list of 12 powerful people who he claims sexually abused him.
Proctor decided to go on the offensive by calling, the day after his second police interview, a press conference on Tuesday at St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster, London. He attacked the police, Nick and took the odd swipe at Exaro.
In a series of astonishing comments, Proctor made some factual errors. For example, he claimed that police interviewed Nick in the presence of an Exaro reporter.
In fact, an Exaro reporter accompanied Nick to his first, preliminary meeting with police. After Nick agreed to co-operate with the police, officers carried out formal video interviews with him.
The officer in charge made clear at the meeting that it would be impossible for Exaro’s reporter to attend any police interview with Nick for procedural reasons. Nick accepted this.
As the video will show, no one from Exaro was in attendance at the police interviews with Nick.
Proctor apparently quoted from a disclosure document provided to him by the Met ahead of his first interview under caution. Exaro can confirm that it was an accurate account of matters under investigation by police.
However, in Proctor’s amplification of the disclosure document, there were some errors in his account of the allegations under police investigation. The mistakes may simply be confusion about some aspects of what is a complicated case.
Given the potential for evidence contamination, Exaro has decided against highlighting or correcting those errors.
Proctor said that police had identified to him his alleged co-conspirators in a ring of people accused of having sexually abused children, and he named them.
These included, he said, Lord Bramall, former head of the armed forces, whose home was raided by police in March.
Bramall has denied any wrongdoing.
Proctor also identified Sir Hugh Beach, a retired general.
Beach said in a statement that police had interviewed him, but that he was not a suspect and no allegations had been made against him.
In addition, Proctor said that, according to what police had told him, Lord Janner, former Labour MP, was alleged to be part of the “gang”. Lord Janner has always denied claims of child sex abuse, and currently faces trial.
Proctor claimed that some Labour MPs, in particular, Tom Watson, had “misused” parliamentary privilege. In fact, Watson has not used parliamentary privilege to make any accusations of child sex abuse.
Despite the factual errors, Exaro is reproducing a full transcript of what Proctor said.
Proctor began the press conference by reading out the following 4,152-word statement, which is reproduced below as he had written it. CAUTION: the statement is extremely graphic – detailing claims of child abuse, torture and murder – and many will find it deeply upsetting.
I am a private citizen. I have not held public office and I have not sought public office since May 1987. As such, I am entitled to be regarded as a private citizen. Since the General Election of 1987 I have sought a private life. I have been enjoying a full life, gainfully employed and personally happy.
This all came to an abrupt end on 4th March 2015. What now follows is a statement on my present predicament created by an unidentified person making totally untrue claims against my name. Before going any further I wish to make it clear that the genuine victims of child sexual abuse have my fullest sympathy and support and I would expect the full weight of the law to be used against anyone, be he ‘ever so high, or ever so low’, committing such odious offences. Nobody and I repeat, nobody is above the law.
2. However, I attach equal weight to justice for innocent people wrongly accused of child sexual abuse, especially when it is done anonymously. This is what is happening to me and many high profile figures, many of whom are dead and cannot answer back. This statement is necessarily lengthy and detailed and at times complicated. Please bear with me and at the end I will be prepared to answer your questions.
3. On 18th June, 2015, at my request, I was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad “Operation Midland”. This interview lasted over 6 hours. At the very outset I had to help the Police with my full name which they appeared not to know. It may surprise you that it was over 3 and an half months after my home was searched for 15 hours and more than 7 months after the most serious allegations were made against me that I was interviewed. I went on to cooperate fully with the Police with their investigation.
4. The allegations have been made by a person who the Police have dubbed with a pseudonym – “NICK”. He appears on television with a blacked out face and an actor’s voice. All of this is connected with alleged historical child sexual abuse in the 1970ies and 1980ies. “NICK” was interviewed by the Police in the presence of a reporter from Exaro – an odd internet news agency.
5. As a Member of Parliament I always spoke in favour of the police. I believe in law and order and I believe in equipping the police to do their job and, with my track record, it will come as a surprise that I have grave and growing concerns about the Police generally and more specifically Operation Midland. I have decided to share these concerns with you. I believe I am not speaking just for myself today. I hope I am not being presumptuous when I say I feel I am speaking for those who have no voice whatsoever including the dead to whom I referred moments ago.
6. Two days before my interview with the Police, my Solicitors – Sakhi Solicitors of Leicester – were sent a “disclosure” document. It set out the matters the Police wished to discuss with me. It was the first time I had known of what I had been accused. On the day of my interview I was not arrested, nor placed on Police bail, I was told I could leave the Police Station at any time and that it was a voluntary interview. I and my Solicitors had previously been told I was not a suspect.
7. At the end of the interview I was given no information as to how much longer the Police investigation would take to bring the matter to a conclusion. I think you will understand I cannot allow this matter to rest.
8. So you can gauge how angry I am and in an attempt to stop the “drip, drip, drip” of allegations by the police into the media, I now wish to share with you in detail the uncorroborated and untrue allegations that have been made against me by “NICK”. Anyone of a delicate or a nervous disposition should leave the room now.
9. The following is taken from the Police disclosure document given to my Solicitors two days before my first interview with the Police under the headings “Circumstances”, “Homicides” and “Sexual abuse”.
The victim in this investigation is identified under the pseudonym “Nick”. He made allegations to the Metropolitan Police Service in late 2014. Due to the nature of the offences alleged, “Nick” is entitled to have his identity withheld.
“Nick” stated he was the victim of systematic and serious sexual abuse by a group of adult males over a period between 1975 and 1984. The abuse was often carried out whilst in company with other boys whom were also abused by the group.
“Nick” provided names of several individuals involved in these acts including Mr HARVEY PROCTOR. He states MR PROCTOR abused him on a number of occasions which included sexual assault, buggery and torturous assault. He also states MR PROCTOR was present when he was assaulted by other adult males. Furthermore, “Nick” states he witnessed the murder of three young boys on separate occasions. He states MR PROCTOR was directly responsible for two of the allegations and implicated in the third.
The dates and locations relevant to MR PROCTOR are as follows:-
1980 – at a residential house in central London. “Nick” was driven by car to an address in the Pimlico/Belgravia area where a second boy (the victim) was also collected in the same vehicle. Both boys, aged approximately 12-years-old, were driven to another similar central London address. MR PROCTOR was present with another male. Both boys were led to the back of the house. MR PROCTOR then stripped the victim, and tied him to a table. He then produced a large kitchen knife and stabbed the child through the arm and other parts of the body over a period of 40 minutes. A short time later MR PROCTOR untied the victim and anally raped him on the table. The other male stripped “Nick” and anally raped him over the table. MR PROCTOR then strangled the victim with his hands until the boy’s body went limp. Both males then left the room. Later, MR PROCTOR returned and led “Nick” out of the house and into a waiting car.
1981-82 – at a residential address in central London. “Nick” was collected from Kingston train station and taken to a “party” at a residential address. The witness was among four young boys. Several men were present including MR PROCTOR. One of the men told the boys one of them would die that night and they had to choose who. When the boys wouldn’t decide, the men selected one of the boys (the victim). Each of the four boys including “Nick” were taken to separate rooms for “private time”. When they all returned to the same room, Nick was anally raped by MR PROCTOR and another male as “punishment”. The other males also anally raped the remaining boys. MR PROCTOR and two other males then began beating the chosen victim by punching and kicking. The attack continued until the boy collapsed on the floor and stopped moving. All of the men left the room. The remaining boys attempted to revive the victim but he was not breathing. They were left for some time before being taken out of the house and returned to their homes.
Between May and July 1979 – in a street in Coombe Hill, Kingston. Nick was walking in this area with another boy (the victim) when he heard the sound of a car engine revving. A dark-coloured car drove into the victim knocking him down. “Nick” could see the boy covered in blood and his leg bent backwards. A car pulled up and “Nick” was grabbed and placed in the car. He felt a sharp pain in his arm and next remembered being dropped off at home. He was warned not to have friends in future. “Nick” never saw the other boy again. “Nick” does not identify MR PROCTOR as being directly involved in this allegation. However, he states MR PROCTOR was part of the group responsible for the systematic sexual abuse he suffered. Furthermore, he believes the group were responsible for the homicide.
1978-1984 – Dolphin Square, Pirnlico. “Nick” was at the venue and with at least one other young boy. MR PROCTOR was present with other males. MR PROCTOR told “Nick” to pick up a wooden baton and hit the other boy. When “Nick” refused he was punished by MR PROCTOR and the other males. He was held down and felt pain in his feet. He fell unconscious. When he awoke he was raped by several males including MR PROCTOR.
1978-1981 – Carlton Club, central London, “Nick” was driven to the Carlton Club and dropped off outside. MR PROCTOR opened the door. Inside the premises were several other males. “Nick” was sexually assaulted by another male (not by MR PROCTOR on this occasion).
1978-1981 – swimming pool in central London. “Nick” was taken to numerous ‘pool parties’ where he and other boys were made to undress, and perform sexual acts on one another. He and other boys were then anally raped and sexually abused by several men including MR PROCTOR.
1981-1982 – Large town house in London. “Nick” was taken to the venue on numerous occasions where MR PROCTOR and one other male were present. He was forced to perform oral sex on MR PROCTOR who also put his hands around “Nick”’s throat to prevent him breathing. On another occasion at the same location, MR PROCTOR sexually assaulted “Nick” before producing a pen-knife and threatening to cut “Nick”’s genitals. MR PROCTOR was prevented from doing so by the other male present.
1979-1984 – residential address in central London. “Nick” was taken to the venue. MR PROCTOR was present with one other male. MR PROCTOR forced “Nick” to perform oral sex on him before beating him with punches.
1978-1984 – numerous locations including Carlton Club, Dolphin Square and a central London townhouse. “Nick” described attending several ‘Christmas parties’ where other boys were present together with numerous males including MR PROCTOR. “Nick” was given whiskey to drink before being forced to perform oral sex on several men including MR PROCTOR.
MR PROCTOR will be interviewed about the matters described above and given the opportunity to provide an account.”
10. I denied all and each of the allegations in turn and in detail, and categorised them as false and untrue and, in whole, an heinous calumny. They amount to just about the worst allegations anyone can make against another person including, as they do, multiple murder of children, their torture, grievous bodily harm, rape and sexual child abuse.
11. I am completely innocent of all these allegations.
12. I am a homosexual. I am not a murderer. I am not a paedophile or pederast. Let me be frank, I pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency in 1987 relating to the then age of consent for homosexual activity. Those offences are no longer offences as the age of consent has dropped from 21 to 18 to 16. What I am being accused of now is a million miles away from that consensual activity.
13. At the start of the interview, I was told that although the interview would be recorded by the Police both for vision and sound, I would not receive a copy of the tapes. I asked to record the interview for sound myself but my request was refused. During the interview, to ensure that “Nick” had not identified the wrong person, I asked if I could see photographs purporting to be me which had been shown to him. My request was refused. At the end of the interview I was asked if I knew my 8 alleged co conspirators whose homes it was alleged I had visited. I believe I have a good recollection and the list comprised a number of people I knew, some who I had heard of but not met and some I did not know. None of the allegations were alleged to have taken place at my home and I have not visited the homes of any of the “gang”.
15. If it was not so serious, it would be laughable.
16. Edward Heath sacked me from the Conservative Party’s parliamentary candidates’ list in 1974. Mrs Thatcher restored me to the list 18 months later. Edward Heath despised me and he disliked my views particularly on limiting immigration from the New Commonwealth and Pakistan and my opposition to our entry into and continued membership of what is now know as the E.U. ; I opposed his corporate statist views on the Economy. I despised him too… He had sacked the late Enoch Powell, my political “hero” from the Shadow Cabinet when I was Chairman of the University of York Conservative Association. I regarded Enoch as an intellectual giant in comparison with Heath.
17. The same Edward Heath, not surprisingly, would never speak to me in the House of Commons but would snort at me as he passed me by in a Commons corridor. The feeling was entirely mutual.
18. Now I am accused of doing some of these dreadful things in his London house as well; a house to which I was never invited and to which Heath would never have invited me and to which I would have declined his invitation.
19. The same Edward Heath’s home with CCTV, housekeeper, private secretary, chauffeur, police and private detectives – all the trappings of a former Prime Minister – in the security conscious days of the IRA’s assault on London.
20. It is so farfetched as to be unbelievable. It is unbelievable because it is not true. My situation has transformed from Kafka-esque bewilderment to black farce incredulity.
21. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I appeal to any witness who truthfully can place me at any of the former homes of Edward Heath or Leon Brittan at any time to come forward now. I appeal to any witness who can truthfully say I committed any of these horrible crimes to come forward now.
22. The “gang” is also alleged to have included Lord Janner (a former Labour M.P.), Lord Bramall (Former Chief of the General Staff), the late Maurice Oldfield (Former Head of Secret Intelligence Service – MI6), the late Sir Michael Hanley (Director General of the Internal Security Service – MI5), General Sir Hugh Beach (Master-General of the Ordnance) and a man named – Ray Beech. I did not move in such circles. As an ex Secondary Modern School boy from Yorkshire, I was not a part of the Establishment. I had no interest being part of it. I cannot believe that these other 8 people conspired to do these monstrous things. I certainly did not.
23. Yesterday I was interviewed again by the Metropolitan Police Murder Squad for 1 hour 40 minutes. It was a voluntary interview. I was free to go at any time. I was not arrested. I am not on bail. Unhelpfully, the second disclosure document was given to me some 20 minutes after yesterday’s interview was supposed to have started rather than last Friday as had been promised. My Solicitors were told by the Police it was ready but had to be signed off by superior officers on Friday. The Metropolitan Police are either inefficient or doing it by design. Whatever else, it is inept and an unjust way to treat anyone. During yesterday’s interview, I was shown a photograph of “Nick” aged about 12. I did not recognise him. I was shown computer generated e fit images of 2 of the alleged murder victims created by “Nick”. They looked remarkably similar to each other but one with blonde hair and one dark brown. I did not recognise either image. I was asked if I knew Jimmy Saville [sic]. I told them I did not. “Nick” alleges – surprise surprise – that Saville [sic] attended the sex “parties”. I was asked if I knew a number of people including Leslie Goddard and Peter Heyman [sic]. I did not [sic] these two. I was asked if I knew well, a doctor – unnamed. Apparently “Nick” alleges the doctor was a friend of mine and allegedly he turned up to repair the damage done to the boys when they were abused at these “parties”. I could not help there. I was asked if I could recognise images of the pen knife mentioned earlier. It was suggested it was Edward Heath who persuaded me not to castrate “Nick” with it. I was obviously so persuaded by Mr Heath’s intervention that I placed the pen knife in “Nick’s” pocket ready for him to present it to the Metropolitan police over 30 years later as “evidence”. I could not identify the knife. I have never had a pen knife. I was asked if I visited Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, Barnes. I wondered when that elephant in the room would be mentioned by the Metropolitan police. I am sorry to have to disappoint the fantasists on the internet but I did not visit Elm Guest House. I was unaware of its existence. The so called “guest list” which makes its appearance on the net must be a fake.
24. During my first interview I was told that the Police were investigating to seek out the truth. I reminded them on a number of occasions that their Head of “Operation Midland”, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald had said on television some months ago “I believe what “NICK” is saying as credible and true”. This statement is constantly used and manipulated by Exaro and other Media to justify their position.
25. This remark is very prejudicial to the police inquiry and its outcome. It is not justice and breaches my United Kingdom and Human Rights. This whole catalogue of events has wrecked my life, lost me my job and demolished 28 years of my rehabilitation since 1987.
26. The Police involved in “Operation Midland” are in a cleft stick of their own making. They are in a quandary. Support the “victim” however ludicrous his allegations or own up that they got it disastrously wrong but risk the charge of a cover up. What do I think should happen now?
I should be arrested, charged and prosecuted for murder and these awful crimes immediately so I can start the process of ridiculing these preposterous allegations in open court
“NICK” should be stripped of his anonymity and prosecuted for wasting police time and money, making the most foul of false allegations and seeking to pervert the course of justice. Those who have aided and abetted him should also be prosecuted. “NICK” should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.
27. Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald should resign from his position as Head of “Operation Midland”. He should resign or be sacked. But as the Metropolitan Police is a bureaucratic “organisation” I suggest, to save face, he is slid sideways to be placed in control of Metropolitan London parking, traffic, jay walking or crime prevention. He too should be medically examined to ensure he is of sound mind.
28. An investigation should be launched into “Operation Midland” and its costs. Detectives’ expense claims should be analysed and a full audit carried out by independent auditors.
29. Those Labour Members of Parliament who have misused parliamentary privilege and their special position on these matters should apologise. They have behaved disgracefully, especially attacking dead parliamentarians who cannot defend themselves and others and they should make amends. They are welcome to sue me for libel. In particular, Mr Tom Watson, M.P. should state, outside the protection of the House of Commons, the names of ex Ministers and ex M.P.s who he feels are part of the so called alleged Westminster rent boy ring.
30. Lady Goddard’s Inquiry should examine “Operation Midland’s” methods so as to sift genuine historical child sexual abuse from the spurious.
31. “Operation Midland” should be wound up by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who should also apologise at the earliest opportunity. On the 6th August 2015, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe shed crocodile tears criticising the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Wiltshire Police for naming Edward Heath as a suspect. He said it was not “fair” and his own force would not do such a thing. This is very disingenuous. When his Police officers were searching my Home and before they had left, the Press were ringing me asking for comment. I was identified. They had told “Nick” of the search who passed on the information to his press friends. The Metropolitan police have also told the press that they were investigating Heath and Brittan and others. Sir Bernard should resign for the sin of hypocrisy. If he does not, it will not be long before he establishes “Operation Plantagenet” to determine Richard III’s involvement in the murder of the Princes in the Tower of London.
32. Superintendent Sean Memory of Wiltshire Police should explain why he made a statement about Edward Heath in front of his former home in Salisbury and who advised him to select that venue. He should also resign.
33. Leon Brittan was driven to his death by police action. They already knew for 6 months before his death, on the advice of the DPP, that he would not face prosecution for the alleged rape of a young woman. But they did not tell him. They just hoped he would die without having to tell him. The Superintendent in charge of his investigation should resign.
34. The Police should stop referring automatically to people who make statements of alleged Historic child sexual abuse as “victims”. They should refer to them as “complainants” from the French “to lament” which would be more appropriate. Parliament should pass laws to better balance the right to anonymity of “victims” and the “accused”. Parliament should reinstate in law the English tradition of “innocence before being found guilty” which has been trashed in recent months by certain sections of the Police, the DPP, MPs, Magistrates and the Courts themselves.
35. I have not just come here with a complaint. I have come with the intention of showing my face in public as an innocent man. I have come to raise my voice as an aggrieved subject now deeply concerned about the administration of Justice. What has become increasingly clear about Police investigations into historical child sexual abuse is that it has been bungled in years gone by and is being bungled again NOW. The moment has come to ask ourselves if the Police are up to the task of investigating the apparent complexities of such an enquiry? These allegations merit the most detailed and intellectually rigorous application.
36. What is clear from the last few years of police activity driven by the media, fearful of the power of the internet and the odd M.P. here and there is that the overhaul of the Police service up and down the country is now urgently required. We need “Super cops” who have been University educated and drawn from the professions. Such people could be of semi retirement status with a background in the supervision of complex, criminal investigations. These people could be drawn from the law, accountancy and insolvency practices. Former Justices of the Peace could chair some of these investigations. Adequate incentives should be provided to recruit them.
37. I speak for myself and, as a former Tory M.P. with an impeccable record in defending the Police, I have now come to believe that that blind trust in them was totally misplaced. What has happened to me could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.
38. In summary, the paranoid Police have pursued an homosexual witch hunt on this issue egged on by a motley crew of certain sections of the media and press and a number of Labour Members of Parliament and a ragbag of internet fantasists. There are questions to ask about what kind of Police Force do we have in Britain today. How can it be right for the Police to act in consort with the press with routine tip offs of House raids, impending arrests and the like. Anonymity is given to anyone prepared to make untruthful accusations of child sexual abuse whilst the alleged accused are routinely fingered publicly without any credible evidence first being found. This is not justice. It is an abuse of power and authority.
39. In conclusion, I wish to thank my Solicitors Mr Raza Sakhi and Mr Nabeel Gatrad and my family and friends for their support without which I would not have been able to survive this onslaught on my character and on my life.
I am prepared to take questions.
Proctor then asked for any questions. We have reproduced below as full a transcript as possible of these exchanges, amounting to 3,128 words.
Harvey Proctor: “Can I take the first question now?”
Q: “Tom Symonds, BBC News. With regards to the first interview and the second interview can you give us an idea of whether you felt that that any of the allegations you faced in the first interview would not be pursued in the second interview? So was there anything they said to you, that the police said to you, that made you feel that there was no substance in any of those allegations?”
HP: “No, sir.”
Q: “Daniel Sandford, from the BBC. Are all the allegations that have been put to you to do with allegations by Nick, are there any other allegations that have been put to you other than allegations made by Nick?”
HP: “The allegations put to me in two interviews that I’ve held with Metropolitan Police are placed solely on Nick’s evidence to them.”
Q: “Has there been any suggestion from the police that there are allegations by other people in the two interviews that you’ve had?”
HP: “No, sir.”
Q: “So it’s one man’s allegations?”
HP: “That’s what I understand.
Q: “Alistair Jackson from Panorama. Have the police mentioned anything about material on your computers? And the results of any forensic searches on there?
HP: “They have said some things about computers, but it took a long time for them to trawl that material and nothing has come back so far.”
AJ: “So that’s still going on?”
HP: “There are a lot of computers.”
AJ: “And a second question: to what extent have you been in touch with either people who are suspects or with surviving members of their families and friends? To what extent have you communicated with those about what you were planning to do today?”
HP: “I have no… no names have been given to me of anyone involved in this investigation so…”
AJ: “So, sorry, have you been in touch with either people who are accused themselves or people who have survived deceased people to tell them what you were planning to do today?”
HP: “No, sir.”
AJ: “Not at all?”
Q: “Julian Druker, Five News. Is all of this today a good idea, do you think? Or should you just let the process happen?”
HP: “I have thought seriously, and long and hard about what to do about the predicament in which I find myself. It is entirely my judgement that I could not, as I said in my statement, allow for months to come – drip, drip, drip allegations into the media. I therefore decided to lay everything before you. It is for you to judge, and in due course for the police to make their decisions.”
Q: “Tom Symonds again from the BBC. The prosecution of you in 1987 with regards to rent boys is well publicised, and the age restrictions have changed. Is there anything in the time since then in your life that you can see might have been misconstrued in any way to look like these allegations?”
HP: “Remember, these allegations are from a period of the mid-1970’s to 1984. Ending three years before 1987 when I pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency. There is nothing that I could think that could give rise to these allegations.”
Q: “Mark Watts from Exaro. You have denied that you were part of any rent-boy ring – the phrase that you used – that involves cabinet ministers, members of Parliament or generals. You made that denial on the Today programme on the 5th of March. Can you please explain how you knew that generals were suspected of being part of the paedophile ring?”
HP: “I was told.”
HP: “Just as you do not reveal your sources, nor will I to you.”
MW: “Because you realise it was never said publicly that that was the case? Was it not an incriminating comment that you made to the Today programme?”
HP: “No, I don’t think so. I think you’ll find if you churn through the media at the time that it was stated before I went on the Today programme.”
MW: “It was not stated in the media, Mr Proctor. So I’m asking, how did you know that if you weren’t involved?”
HP: “Right, well then, that’s a difference of opinion.”
MW: It’s a matter of record. It’s easily searched.”
HP: “I will protect my sources.”
MW: “Well, is it a source or is it in the media? Which one is it?”
Q: “Duncan Golestani, ITV News. Do you think you are being victimised because of your previous convictions and because you’re a gay man?”
HP: “I think that’s the question that you’ve got to ask other people. I feel vulnerable and I feel I am in difficulties and therefore I’ve done what I’ve done today, clearly, to put everything out in the open and I’m sorry that some people in the media should wish to try and sort of keep information to themselves ready for the time when they wish to drip it into the media. That’s the reason why I’ve done it today to end this drip, drip, drip into the media by other people.”
Q: “Do you think it’s the police leaking that information?”
HP: “I know that information from the police concerning the case goes straight back to Nick. It is a matter of procedure with the police on these matters, and he no doubt tells his press friends.”
Q: “Paul Peachey from The Independent. You’ve criticised a lot of people today, are you planning to sue and to go on record on oath and say the things you’ve said today?”
HP: “I’m not a wealthy man. One thing in my political career I’ve learnt was that for God’s sake do not sue. It’s too expensive. And every libel action that I’ve been involved with – and I have sued for libel, and I have been sued for libel, and I’ve taken part in other libel trials – always the wrong result comes out. “
Q: “Tom Parmenter from Sky News. The second part of that question was about whether or not you’d be prepared to go on oath and explain what you’ve explained today. Would that be the case?”
HP: “Of course.”
Q: “And during your discussions with the police, have there been any other indiscretions that you have revealed to them in the spirit of transparency?”
HP: “What have you in mind?”
Q: “I do not know.”
HP: “Neither do I.”
Q: “Marsden from the Daily Mail. Can talk a bit more broadly about what reforms are needed, as you say, to protect those who are truly innocent that’s come out of this?”
HP: “Well I refer you to the statement that I’ve made where I’ve made a number of suggestions. I’m no longer a member of Parliament. I’m no longer privy to the day-to-day discussions in the House of Commons. But I think that parliamentarians should address these issues further than the remarks I’ve made in my statement. I wouldn’t wish to get into that. But I think it’s up to politicians, ministers and politicians, to grapple with these difficult issues.”
Q: “Fiona Hamilton from The Times. Just on that question, but in a bit more detail, would you support the right of anonymity for people accused of sexual assault?”
HP: “I think it needs to be better balanced and in certain cases yes. The stable door is well and truly busted open in my case. But for other people- I wouldn’t want other people to go through what I’ve been experiencing in recent weeks.”
Q: “Paul Peachey again. Has anybody from the Conservative party or current officials been in contact with you in relation to these allegations and the interview process?”
HP: “I resigned as a member of the Conservative party in 1987. I’ve had no official dealings with the Conservative party at any level since then. So the answer to your question is no.”
Q: “The incident in Coombe Hill that you mentioned, did the police give you any identification of the victim, not Nick, the other individual?”
HP: “No, no names with the exception of, yes it was, two e-fits that could be actually anyone. No information at all.”
Q: “Daniel Sandford again from the BBC. I mean, clearly, the allegations that Nick has made are very, very serious allegations, and no passage of time could mean they shouldn’t be followed up. What is it that you complain about, about what the police have done when you say that Kenny McDonald resign, that Bernard Hogan-Howe should resign? What is it you complained about that they’ve done? Is it the fact that your name has been put out there? What is it actually that is making you so angry?”
HP: “The superintendent, he went on television and said, Nick’s allegations are “credible and true”. I do not think any other police officer would go into the media and say that before the conclusion of a trial.”
DS: “But you don’t complain about the investigation of the allegations, it’s just the manner in which some of the public statements have been backed?”
HP: “I certainly think this matter should be investigated and the police have a duty to expedite the investigations. They can’t just dawdle and drag their feet because there might be difficulty in the press. They should get on with it. That’s my criticism. In the interval of two months between the first and the second interview and what they were talking about yesterday, was quite frankly pathetic if that’s all that they can come up with in the intervening two months.”
Q: “Have police given you any indication that they will contact you again?”
Q: “Did you ever meet Jimmy Savile?”
HP: “I said to the police, look, as a member of parliament I was addressing two or three meetings a week, if not more. Some of those meetings could have between 500 and 1,000 people. Whether Jimmy Savile was in an audience and I met him at a cocktail party- I have no recollection of meeting Jimmy Savile at all whilst a member of Parliament.”
Mark Conrad: “Harvey, what other items were removed from your property during the search? You’ve mentioned computers, was anything else removed at the time?”
HP: “There were, but I’m being given the wink from my solicitor that I shouldn’t reveal exactly the nature of what was taken.”
Mark Watts: “Why is that?”
HP: “And, er.”
MW: “Why can’t you reveal it?”
HP: What’s the adage, that you don’t have a dog and bark yourself? So had my solicitor not given the wink on that I-”
MW: “Could the solicitor just explain why there’s a problem with answering that question?”
HP: “Sorry, I can’t see him.”
MW: “Can the solicitor explain why there is a problem with answering that question?”
HP’s solicitor: “We simply choose not to, sir.”
Mark Conrad: Have any items been returned to you following the search?
HP: “No, sir.”
Q: “Sorry, just going back to the Jimmy Savile issue. Were you told that Nick alleges he was abused by Jimmy Savile or just that he was a visitor to these parties?”
HP: “The latter.”
Q: “That he wasn’t abused by them? Or have you not been told that he claimed to have been abused by them?”
HP: “Correct, I was told that Nick had alleged that Jimmy Savile was a visitor at some of these parties.”
Q: “But didn’t abuse him? You were told he hadn’t abused Nick?”
HP: “I wasn’t told that either, yes or no.”
Q: “Tim Bouverie, Channel Four News. Do you believe that it’s a coincidence that you are holding this press conference today, and it was only yesterday that you were interviewed by the police having planned this press conference beforehand?”
HP: “To be fair, the press conference was planned or timed for this week. I did know for a little while that the police wanted to interview me a second time, they’d given me a timespan which they wanted to interview me, and I selected yesterday as the day to meet them.”
Q: “Mr Proctor, how are you so categoric in saying that there was no abuse ring in Westminster in the 70’s and 80’s?”
HP: “It’s my opinion. My knowledge of being at the time and being a homosexual. You’ve got to remember that in 1980’s the climate was completely different. I don’t think there was any Conservative member of Parliament who was out at the time that I was a member of Parliament. They were very much in the closet, as I was. The situation is quite different now where you can be a homosexual and in the Cabinet, but that wasn’t the case at the time. It wasn’t that I as a homosexual were embarrassed or upset by being a homosexual, it’s just that I did not think it had anything to do with my work and role as a member of Parliament. I didn’t ask my constituents what their sexual activities was, nor did they ask me. What happens in the bedroom has always been, from my point of view, a private matter, not just for me, but for everybody else. Unless it’s illegal. And when, at the earliest opportunity in 1987, when I discovered that I had committed, inadvertently, an illegal act, I pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”
Q: “But does that experience-”
HP: “But to answer directly what you’re saying, I did not know at the time that there was any Westminster rent-boy ring. I did not have discussions with any other member of Parliament. It would be unthinkable to have discussions with any other members of Parliament about sexual matters of that type. If one was going ahead, if there was a Westminster rent-boy ring, and I think I know where the term comes from, but if there was one, I was not party to it. I was a loner. I think I was regarded in the House of Commons as being politically a loner, and certainly, socially, I was a loner, too.”
Q: “Tom Bateman from the BBC. When you use the term rent-boy gang, its meaning has changed over time, are you talking about prostitution? And I wonder about when you say you inadvertently have committed a crime in 1987, I just wonder because of your guilty plea there wasn’t much detail in court. But was it prostitution? What actually happened?”
HP: “Well, Sir David Napley, the late Sir David Napley, was my solicitor and he made a lengthy statement in mitigation which I’m sure is on the net and you could get up. And I think he did actually cover these in full. There was, up to me going to see Sir David Napley, a feeling in my own mind that as a newspaper had wired somebody for sound and sent him into my apartment to get me to talk about sexual matters in the privacy of my own home – and that was a chap who claimed to me that he was over 21, made the same claim on the newspaper’s tape recording that he was over 21. He happened to be under 21. He happened to be 19. I thought I had a defence that although he was under 21, I thought he was over 21, therefore I had a defence. Sir David Napley, when I first saw him, disabused me. He said there was a lacuna in the law, that the case was different in the heterosexual case to the homosexual case. And as soon as he told me that I made arrangements for Sir David on my behalf to continue with a guilty plea.”
TB: “So then you’ve never knowingly had a relationship with anyone under 21 at that time, so you’ve never knowingly committed what was then an illegal act?”
HP: “People I was meeting in the 1980’s were to my knowledge over 21.”
TB: “And what about the prostitution point, did you ever knowingly use a prostitute?”
HP: “I refer you to what I said earlier that I regard sexual matters to be private and I’m not asking you your sexual proclivities or what you do in your bedroom and I hope you will bear with me and not ask me mine. Unless it’s concerning-”
TB: “But there may be relevance to how things can be misconstrued. I suppose that’s why it’s a relevant question.”
HP: “It’s relevant, and I think if I rely on Sir David Napley’s mitigation speech at the magistrates’ court.”
Q: “Regarding the three deaths, you said you’ve given no names of the victims of the alleged murders. Did the police give any indication that they have gotten any further in identifying who these people were, even though they have given you no names.”
Q: “Mark Watts. You told everybody earlier that you were asked about a pen knife. Have the police asked you for a DNA test of any sort? And if they asked you to do that voluntarily, would you do so?”
HP: “The police have asked me about DNA in connection with an item. The item has nothing to do with anything that happened in the 1970’s or 1980’s, because the item is only three or four years old. On that basis, on legal advice, my assistant has advised me not to give DNA. If, of course, the police wish to arrest me, charge me, then DNA will be available to them.”
Q: “What was that item?”
HP: “A piece of clothing.”
Q: “What was the implication of that item?”
HP: “You should ask the police that. You should ask the police why they took two shoehorns that were given to me four or five years ago. Completely baffling.”
Q: Have you asked the police for explanation of this “credible and true” quote? Have they given you any explanation since they said it? You’re so critical of them using that, you might have asked them why they did.”
HP: “The attitude of the police at interview is that I am there to answer their questions, they are not there to answer mine. That didn’t mean that I did not ask them a very large number of questions, which, had they given the answers, it would have facilitated their investigation. But they chose to conduct their operation, their interview, in their own way, and they’re quite right to do that. I don’t think that facilitated or speeded up the process of their investigation.
“I think we may be coming to an end. But thank you very much for attending this afternoon. I’m sorry the room was so small, but I am most grateful to you – thank you very much.”
The press conference finished.
Later, in the foyer of the hotel, Proctor talked to Exaro and returned to the subject of how he knew that “generals” were accused. Proctor said that a researcher on the Today programme had told him.
Police investigations into allegations of child sex abuse against British political figures have attracted worldwide attention. Nearly a fortnight ago, for example, Germany’s Weltspiegel aired a report with Exaro’s help about one investigation into a group of men that includes a former Liberal Democrat MP.
Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread
Additional reporting by Samuel Osborne.