Peter Clarke (journalist)
Peter Clarke is a right wing former special adviser and journalist, formerly with the Scotsman. In 2006 he was a columnist with the Southern Reporter weekly newspaper in the Scottish Borders.
At the Conservative Party Conference in 1986: "Mr Peter Clarke, prospective parliamentary candidate for East Lothian, said: 'General Pinochet (of Chile) must be our inspiration. He is always caricatured by the left as merely an expert in electrifying people's testicles.' But the general was a model for disbanding a top-heavy and unlovely welfare service, by simply auctioning it off to insurance companies."
- ? Adviser to Keith Joseph
- Political Secretary to Enoch Powell 1972-1975
- 1985 Conservative Party candidate for East Lothian
- ?Journalist with the Scotsman
- 2006 Journalist with the Southern Reporter
According to the Sunday Herald in 2002:
- MSPs warned if the party lacks enthusiasm to fight for seats, they will lose ground. One critic said MSPs are seen as having gone native "with their snouts in the trough". Polls suggest they may be falling back on the low position they achieved in 1999. But Peter Clarke, a former adviser to Lord Joseph, claimed plotters want either to shift the party's position so it campaigns for abolition of Holyrood, or to put up candidates on an abolition platform who would refuse to take salaries or attend.
- in the forthcoming Perth and Kinross by-election caused by the death of Sir Nicky Fairbairn, we have the intrusion of Northern Irish politics in the form of a candidate backed by the Ulster Unionist Party, determined to cause the government maximum embarrassment on its Irish peace efforts; arrangements are said to be well under way for a rebel Scottish Tory to stand as a "Scottish Unionist"... The Ulster Unionists, of course, have a vested interest in rubbing salt in these wounds. One fewer Tory MP means the government is even more dependent on its Unionist allies when it comes to the next vote of confidence in Major.
- The Unionists look like having an effective advocate for their cause. Although details of exactly what they are doing remain elusive, their candidate looks likely to be Peter Clarke, maverick right-winger, newspaper columnist, former Scottish Tory parliamentary candidate and erstwhile assistant to arch-Unionist Enoch Powell. Clarke is a good communicator with an acid turn of phrase and a liking for controversy. As well as his undoubted interest in Ulster affairs - he used to be employed at Ulster Unionist party headquarters - it would be understandable if his motives also included a deep personal desire to cause the Conservative machine the maximum possible pain. He believes a dirty tricks campaign, including scurrilous allegations about his personal life, were once circulated to prevent him landing a promising parliamentary seat.
- It's perhaps worth mentioning that the last time I saw Clarke speak was at a Scottish Young Conservative conference in Glasgow, when he shared a platform with an hard-line Ulster Tory. Both men went down a storm with the young men with shining eyes and dark suits. Clarke's views find favour with many Scottish Tory activists, especially - but not exclusively - the Young Conservatives. Clarke's concerns about the Irish situation are shared by a substantial number of activists who, having been whipped into a Unionist lather over the past few years, are proving very reluctant to swallow anything that looks to them like a lowering of the Union Jack.
In 2006 Clarke launched a campaign of sorts to clear his name.
- A FORMER Conservative Party rising star claims a smear campaign involving malicious child sex allegations has virtually ruined his family's life and driven them to the brink of losing their home for a second time, writes Mark Entwistle. Twenty years ago, Peter Clarke - currently a popular regular columnist with TheSouthern - was the Tory candidate adopted to fight the East Lothian seat.
- Mr Clarke, who now lives at historic Kirkhope Tower near Selkirk, is a former private secretary to the late Enoch Powell and an adviser to the late Lord Joseph (Margaret Thatcher's education minister, Sir Keith Joseph). However, in 1986, Mr Clarke opted to stand down as a candidate because of what he claims were attempts to get his then employer, Lord Hanson - a major donor to the Conservative Party - to sack him.
- This, Mr Clarke believes, was because of 'poison pen letters', sent to the Conservative Party, containing allegations that he advocated sex with children as acceptable. The allegations had surfaced shortly after Mr Clarke agreed to donate £200 to the Federation of Conservative Students to help pay for the printing of a pamphlet that included proposals concerning changes to Scots law on incest.
- Venice-born and Oxford-educated Mr Clarke, who saw his political career destroyed as a result, has remained adamant ever since that he was unaware of what the pamphlet contained and never saw it before it was published. But his political enemies, both inside and outside of the Conservative Party, subsequently had a field day. Mr Clarke says the 'poison pen' letters twisted his innocent link with the pamphlet into something much more nefarious, accusing him of being a dangerous paedophile.
- He had planned to apply to stand as a candidate in more seats, but a libel case in 1992 against The Independent newspaper for repeating the allegations - which Mr Clarke won - saw Conservative Central Office reported at the time as saying it did not want candidates facing litigation standing for Parliament.
- What happened next remains a mystery as Conservative Party chiefs still refuse to publicly comment on their investigation into the matter. When contacted by The Southern, Conservative Party spokesman Ramsay Jones told us the party never commented on internal issues. The only thing Mr Jones did say in response to our questioning was that Mr Clarke is not 'blackballed' from putting his name forward as a potential Conservative candidate.
- However, despite repeated attempts, Mr Clarke has never managed to get re-instated as a candidate and believes the party is blocking his efforts. Without further information from the Conservatives, how much of an investigation was carried out into the allegations remains unclear.
- Other libel actions had to be dropped by Mr Clarke due to lack of funds and, despite the win over The Independent, Mr Clarke and his late wife Gillian were left with debts of £600,000, forcing them to sell their then home at Kirkton Manor in Peeblesshire. Even a plea by Lord Joseph to the then Conservative Party chairman at Westminster, Sir Norman Fowler, proved fruitless, despite Lord Joseph stating that Mr Clarke's "life, finances and career are in danger of being destroyed simply because of a series of misunderstandings".
- Mrs Clarke died last year, but her last words to her husband were to never give up the battle to clear his name and to force the Conservative Party to publicly repent its conduct in the affair. Mr Clarke has two sons - Rory and Alexander - and the the latter has even sent letters to former Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie MSP and to Scottish Conservative Party chairman Peter Duncan, pleading for their help in clearing his father's name.
- Mr Clarke, who still remains a Conservative Party member, maintains the scandal of the unfounded allegations continues to haunt him to this day, preventing him from finding regular employment. A former economics correspondent for the BBC and contributor to Private Eye magazine, he only managed to halt his most recent eviction threat for non-payment of mortage payments after friends rallied round. But the threat will surface again at the end of this month.
- "In my view, but I am guessing, I would say Peter Duncan and Ramsay Jones just think I am a crank and cannot grasp the full horror of it all," Mr Clarke told The Southern. "But what could be worse than being thought to have this child sex/incest link? The party's memory is that I resigned East Lothian in disgrace at my alleged paedophile streak being revealed - they are completely wrong but will not grasp the truth.
- "Malicious and unfounded allegations that I am a paedophile have followed me around ever since. The party in London has told me I may not put my name forward but they will conduct an enquiry into my complaints of injustices. Meanwhile, the party in Edinburgh says there were no injustices but I may put my name forward. "On the last two occasions I submitted an application, my papers were returned refusing to interview me, once with the cheque cashed, once with the cheque returned.
- "They can't say I have not been 'blackballed' ... are they nit-picking over the words? I have twice been rejected at interview panels. "They were generous enough to concede it was not through lack of competence but for disclosures that must remain confidential. "How can I challenge allegations I cannot be informed of? The simple case is they got it into their heads I was a paedophile and sought the legalisation of sex with children.
- "My wife and I came within a whisker of losing our children. We did lose our home, our furniture, our savings before we defeated the allegation in the courts. "My last promise to my wife was to expose the cruelty and injustice of the Scottish Conservative Party - and I will."
- ONE of the Conservative Party's most popular elder statesmen, Sir Teddy Taylor, has thrown his weight behind the campaign of a former political colleague, trying to clear his name of child sex allegations. Conservative Party bosses are still refusing to publicly discuss the predicament of their former candidate, Peter Clarke.
- In our story last month, we told how Mr Clarke's career and family life had been torn apart after what he claimed was a smear campaign, involving malicious allegations of promoting sex with children. As a result of our article, gifts of cash and loan offers totalling more than £26,000 have now flooded in to Mr Clarke - currently a columnist with TheSouthern - to help with his financial plight.
- Sir Teddy, the former Conservative MP and Under-Secretary of State for Scotland who was knighted in 1991, told TheSouthern this week: "I think the Conservative Party must explain its treatment of Peter Clarke. What is their problem?" And the former vice-chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee added: "If his offence is real, let them explain it. If it is all a preposterous illusion, he is due a huge apology.
- "Of course Peter Clarke never advocated sex with children." Twenty years ago, Mr Clarke was the Tory candidate adopted to fight the East Lothian seat. He now lives at historic Kirkhope Tower near Selkirk, and is a former private secretary to the late Enoch Powell and an adviser to the late Lord Joseph (Margaret Thatcher's education minister, Sir Keith Joseph).
- However, in 1986, Mr Clarke opted to stand down as a candidate because of what he claims were attempts to get his then employer, Lord Hanson - a major donor to the Conservative Party - to sack him. This was because of what Mr Clarke says were 'poison pen letters' sent to the Conservative Party, alleging he advocated sex with children as acceptable.
- The allegations surfaced after Mr Clarke agreed to donate £200 to the Federation of Conservative Students to help pay for the printing of a pamphlet which included proposals concerning changes to Scots law on incest. But Mr Clarke has always maintained he was unaware of what the pamphlet contained and that he never even saw it before it was published.
- His political career was wrecked as a result, because a libel case against The Independent - which repeated the allegations and which Mr Clarke won - saw Conservative Central Office reject him as a potential candidate as it did not want people facing litigation.
- Mr Clarke made a promise to his late wife Gillian, who died last year, that he would never give up the now 20-year-long fight to get the Conservative Party to publicly admit it discriminated against him on the grounds of the unproven allegations.
- But quizzed by The Southern, the Scottish Conservatives say they will not comment on an internal party matter, while Conservative Central Office in London this week told us that it is the Scottish Conservatives who should be answering our questions.
- Mr Clarke this week also re-iterrated his desire for a full investigation: "All I want is a fair and open investigation of my complaints," he said. Despite winning the libel action, Mr Clarke and his late wife were forced to sell their then home in the Borders and he now faces losing a second home.
- "I am still crushed by a matter the Tory Party could have resolved in 10 minutes' diligence," he added.
- The Scotsman November 30, 2001, Friday STALE CLICHES IN A TAME CHAMBER - WHY ARE OUR MSPS SUCH NUMPTIES? BYLINE: Peter Clarke, SECTION: Pg. 19
- Scotland on Sunday November 4, 2001, Sunday NAKED AMBITION OF PR EXECUTIVE EXPOSED BYLINE: Peter Clarke SECTION: Pg. 6
- The Scotsman February 6, 2001, Tuesday POLITICS IS SO DULL WITHOUT THE ARISTOCRATS - LET'S BRING THEM BACK BYLINE: Peter Clarke SECTION: Pg. 15
- March of the revolutionary accountants The Scotsman, July 12, 1995, Wednesday, Pg. 11, 864 words, Peter Clarke Applauds Michael Forsyth'S Plans For A Shake-Up Of Scottish Office Budgets
- Think-tank top of the class The Scotsman, June 14, 1995, Wednesday, Pg. 11, 901 words, Peter Clarke Salutes The David Hume Institute For Continuing To Cause Merry Mischief
- Guardian September 8, 1986
- The Sunday Herald May 19, 2002 IDS tells Scottish Tory party to accept devolution BYLINE: By Douglas Fraser Political Editor SECTION: Pg. 2
- Scotland on Sunday March 12, 1995, Sunday Orange candidate spikes Tory guns BYLINE: Kenny Farquharson Fears Sectarianism Will Turn The Perth And Kinross By -Election Into A Less Than Edifying Spectacle Seldom In Recent Memory Has The Orange Card Been Played So Openly In Scotland, And Its Potential Influence Is Difficult To Gauge, SECTION: Pg. 14
- NOT JUST A TROLLOP BUT A LYING TROLLOP; Currie's other `lover' slams her denial of their fling.(News) Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland) October 3, 2002
- Southern Reporter November 23, 2006 Former Tory candidate vows to clear name
- Southern Reporter December 19, 2006 Sir Teddy is in Clarke's corner LENGTH: 565 words Mark Entwistle