Heath would have been quizzed over abuse claims

Former Tory MP who worked for Edward Heath This just doesn't fit

Wiltshire Police have revealed the findings of Operation Conifer - an huge investigation by five police forces into sexual abuse claims against former Tory PM Sir Edward Heath.

Paul Mills, the police commander for the investigation, dubbed Operation Conifer, said Sir Edward would have been interviewed "to obtain his account in relation to the allegations made against him".

He conceded that due to the passage of time many investigative opportunities were not available, as memories had deteriorated and potentially relevant documents lost.

Chief Constable Veale said on Thursday that investigators had refrained from commenting "publicly or privately" about Mr. Heath's guilt or innocence.

Sir Edward Heath, who was Conservative Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974, was a member of the congregation of Salisbury Cathedral from 1985 until his death in 2005.

Other claims also related to "paid encounters", including one when he was trade minister, as well as during chance meetings.

Some date to the period in which Heath was leader of the Conservative party, and in cabinet as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

But a probe launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the alleged historical corruption found no evidence that the retired officer's claims were true. He was one of the people who was around in our lives.

"I am satisfied there are compelling and obvious reasons to investigate allegations made against Sir Edward Heath".

Instead the aim of the investigation was to "seek to establish the facts concerning allegations of child abuse made against Sir Edward Heath through an objective and proportionate investigation", as well as identifying whether any living people may have committed offenses, or whether any children or vulnerable adults were today at risk of abuse.

Heath's godson Lincoln Seligman said he had know him for half a century.

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An NSPCC spokesman said: "We urge anyone who has been abused in childhood to report it, however long ago it took place".

The next assault allegedly occurred while Heath was the leader of the opposition in 1967.

Known as Ted Heath, he led the United Kingdom into what became the European Union, however during his time as prime minister the country suffered from high inflation and major strikes.

Wiltshire police chief constable Mike Veale said the findings were a "watershed moment" for those who believed that there had been a state cover-up for senior figures involved in child sexual abuse.

But the decision to investigate had been "the right moral thing, ethical thing and professional thing to do", he said.

That is the conclusion of Operation Conifer, an inquiry by Wiltshire Police, whose results were announced this morning.

Of the 42 allegations identified by Operation Conifer, seven are considered credible enough to question Sir Edward but 22 have been dismissed as unsustainable while 13 are hard to take any further because they were made either anonymously or by third parties.

Sir Edward Heath's reputation should not be left in limbo.

The report made public today is not the full version.

There is a sweeping, ongoing inquiry into child sexual abuse in Britain that is aimed at discovering what those in power could have done to prevent abuse in various institutions across the country.

Sir Edward was born in Kent in 1916 and studied at Balliol College Oxford, becoming president of the Oxford Union.

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