UK

Diplomat's 'sexual perversion' provoked security fears, says Thatcher adviser

Sir Peter Hayman Image copyright Keystone
Image caption Sir Peter Hayman was a British diplomat who served as High Commissioner to Canada

A senior British diplomat who recorded sexual fantasies involving children was seen primarily as a security risk, a former top civil servant has revealed.

A previously secret file from the 1980s briefed Margaret Thatcher on Sir Peter Hayman's "sexual perversion".

Ex-Cabinet Secretary Lord Armstrong told the BBC his priority had been national security implications, rather than whether he should be prosecuted.

But the file said foreign intelligence did not know of his "vulnerabilities".

The newly released file notes that he kept "explicit records of his sexual activities and fantasies", some of which related to children, but these had not been acted on.

Lord Armstrong, who as cabinet secretary briefed the then prime minister, said in a BBC interview: "I was not concerned with the personal aspect of it or whether he should or should not be prosecuted or pursued.

"That was something for the police and the prosecuting authorities to consider and if they thought that he should be cross-questioned and prosecuted, then he should be.

"My concern with it was with possible implications for national security and international relations."

Package on bus

Sir Peter Hayman, who served as High Commissioner to Canada, died in 1992. He also worked for MI6 and has often been described as an intelligence services "operative".

He was a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, the security briefing said.

But it found "no evidence" he had sought to "approach children for sexual purposes".

Despite the fear his "vulnerabilities" might be used to blackmail him, foreign security services had not been aware of his history, the file, made public for the first time on Friday, concluded.

In 1978, he left a package containing paedophilic literature on a bus and was investigated by the police.

Image copyright Simon Dack
Image caption In 1981, MP Geoffrey Dickens exposed Hayman using parliamentary privilege

They found similar material when they raided his flat.

However, he was never charged, to the dismay of Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens, who raised the case in Parliament in 1981.

The file contains "lines to take" for government officials when asked questions by the media about Hayman's 1978 arrest.

One of these was that there had been "no cover-up".

'Unnatural sexual proclivities'

BBC home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds said that while much of what was contained in the file had been widely reported in the 1980s, the fact that it had been made public was significant.

"This file has been released after just a week of pressure from media and other people after it was discovered in a Kew public records office database," he said.

"It shows there is a lot of pressure for this sort of material about historical child abuse to be revealed."

The briefing file, covering the end of 1980 and the start of 1981, is entitled "SECURITY. Sir Peter Hayman: allegations against former public official of unnatural sexual proclivities; security aspects".

It was held by the Cabinet Office, but marked "closed" until it was released to The National Archives at Kew, south-west London, on Friday.

The file does not appear to have been uncovered by a review of historical government child abuse records conducted last year by Peter Wanless, the head of the NSPCC.

His report claimed to have made enquiries widely across the government estate and other public services, including the Cabinet Office, where this file was being held.

Home Secretary Theresa May has suggested Mr Wanless may have unearthed a copy but not the original file.

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