Ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor denies ‘rent-boy ring’ allegations
Harvey Proctor has denied allegations that he was part of an alleged “rent-boy ring” – and has said that his previous convictions for gross indecency were for sexual acts that are no longer illegal.
The home of the former Conservative MP has been searched by police investigating historical allegations of child abuse.
The BBC reports police from Operation Midland arrived at the house on the estate of Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire, on Wednesday.
Mr Proctor, 68, denied being part of any “rent-boy ring” or attending sex parties with prominent figures.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he would like to be interviewed by police “at the earliest opportunity”.
“I have never attended sex parties at Dolphin Square or anywhere else,” Mr Proctor said. “I have not been part of any rent-boy ring with cabinet ministers, other Members of Parliament or generals or the military.”
Mr Proctor stood down from Parliament in 1987 after he was convicted of gross indecency with males aged under 21, which was the homosexual age of consent at the time, but over 16, which is the current age of consent.
Mentioning the events, the ex-MP said: “I conducted my private life in a discreet manner. It wasn’t I who outed myself, it was the press who did an assortment of things to out me.
“They wanted to say that I was a homosexual.
“Of course, they were offences committed. I didn’t know at the time that I was committing those offences because the people concerned, who were actually under 21, said to me, they were over 21, that is confirmed on one of their tapes.
“One of the papers at the time taped […] sent in a person to my private apartment and taped recorded a conversation with me. On that tape the person who was carrying the hidden tape recorder admitted that he was over 21 – it turned out he was 19.”
Mr Proctor went on to say: “I was a discreet person and regarded in the House of Commons as a very independent Member of Parliament and a loner. The last thing I would have dreamed of doing was talking to other Members of Parliaments or ministers or anyone else about my personal life.
“It wasn’t that I was ashamed of being a homosexual, it was that I didn’t think it mattered a damn to the work I did on behalf of my constituents.”
Mr Proctor said he could have opted to have his convictions for gross indecency wiped clean if he had chosen to do so.
“I pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency in 1987,” he said.
“Those offences related entirely to the age of consent for homosexuality. That age has since been reduced, first to 18 and now to 16.
“The offences I committed in 1987 are no longer offences and there is legislation on the statute book which would allow me to wipe them clean if I wish to do so.”
Mr Proctor added he was keen to be interviewed by police as soon as possible to clear his name.
“The police wish to interview me,” he said. “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.”
Mr Proctor represented Basildon in Essex from 1979 to 1983 and Billericay, also in Essex, from 1983 to 1987.
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