‘An article by Private Eye claimed that staff at the spy agency MI5 had targeted Leon Brittan because they were upset about reports that he was planning a ‘big shake-up’ of their operations following failures in the lead-up to the fatal shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in central London.
There was also poisonous prejudice against Brittan because he was Jewish, the magazine suggested. Rogue officials, therefore, had decided to work up a paedophile scandal in an attempt to force Brittan from office’, reports the Mail Online today
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During a drinks reception at the Home Office in the summer of 1984, political journalist Chris Moncrieff felt a tap on his shoulder. Turning round, he saw it was a civil servant, who said: ‘Follow me. I’m taking you to meet the Home Secretary. He’s got something very important to tell you.’
To the visible envy of fellow journalists, Moncrieff, political editor of the influential Press Association news agency, drained his glass and followed the official out of the function room. A few minutes later, he found himself standing in the private office of Home Secretary Leon Brittan.
Moncrieff recalls this week: ‘Very forcefully, Brittan looked me in the eye and said: “It’s all lies!”. Then he produced a copy of an article from the latest edition of Private Eye and told me to read it.’
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