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Edward Heath, former British PM, subject of inquiries into child abuse claims

It has been confirmed that British police are examining claims of child sexual abuse against a former prime minister, Edward Heath. The investigation is part of a range of inquiries into historical claims against a number of high-profile figures.

David Pilgrim of Liverpool University explains the background.

What is Operation Hydrant?

Operation Hydrant is an umbrella police operation set up in 2014 to pull together a bewildering array of investigations into historical child abuse across the UK. It is dealing with the cases of 1,433 alleged offenders, 216 of whom are dead and 76 of whom are politicians.

Among the operations that Hydrant collates are a number specifically investigating high-profile people. Operation Fairbank was set up by London’s Metropolitan Police Force several years ago as a scoping exercise to test the evidence for a larger formal inquiry about “VIP paedophiles” at Westminster. Operation Fernbridge was then launched in February 2013 to extend the rationale of Fairbank, and specifically to look at a Grafton Close care home.

Operation Cayacos was directed to one line of inquiry about a paedophile network centred on Peter Righton, a social worker involved with the Paedophile Information Exchange who advised the government on the reform of children’s homes . That inquiry also implicated politicians.

More recently, Operation Midland was set up to probe allegations of three murders of children and other illegal activity in connection with initial intelligence gathered by Operation Fairbank. Some of the alleged events purportedly took place at the Dolphin Square complex in Pimlico, home to many MPs and other politicians.

Operation Ahabasca examined the evidence of wrong-doing in the 1980s at the Elm Guest House in Barnes in south-west London, which was raided by police in the early 1980s for serving a brothel. There has been a flurry of press leaks concerning parties held there with under-age victims, pointing fingers at unnamed politicians from Sinn Fein, the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the security services, and the media. The Elm Guest House is now a private residence and the owners have no connection to the historic allegations.

Others have been named: Sir Cyril Smith MP, Sir Nicholas Fairbairn MP, the Soviet spy Sir Anthony Blunt and the former British diplomat Sir Peter Hayman. Former Conservative Party Chairman, Sir Peter Morrison, was also apparently a visitor, years before he became Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary.

Operation Yewtree is also being taken on board by Hydrant to follow up the extensive claims made about Jimmy Savile and the past responsibility of the police, the BBC and the NHS to his serial sexual offending against children and young people.

Read entire article at The Conversation