Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister, was kept fully informed about an investigation into a senior diplomat who was embroiled in a paedophile scandal, newly-released secret documents show.
Mrs Thatcher received a stream of memos from officials about the “unnatural sexual proclivities” of Sir Peter Hayman.
The prime minister was carefully coached on how to deflect difficult questions about the affair after it was finally exposed by Private Eye magazine in 1980.
The documents disclosed for the first time that Hayman had been engaged in “sexual perversion” since at least 1966, when he was a minister in the British military government in West Berlin.
The 37-page dossier set out how the then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to prosecute the diplomat after he was caught with a collection of paedophile material in 1978.
It also shows the DPP never informed the government or the security services about Hayman’s proclivities, despite concerns enemy spies could have been blackmailing him for sensitive information during his time abroad.
The new information appeared to undermine claims that the decision not to prosecute Hayman was part of an Establishment conspiracy to cover up child abuse.