James Molyneaux MP was one of the most significant figures in Unionist politics during the Troubles. He was first elected as a Westminster MP in 1970 for the then dominant Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and served as its leader 1979-1995. He was also an Orangeman and a member of the Monday Club, a right-wing pressure group which was associated with the Tory Party.
According to Robin Bryans, the well-informed Kincora Boy’s Home whistle-blower, Molyneaux was part of the paedophile gang which preyed on vulnerable boys in care in Northern Ireland.
MI5 did not hand over it files on Molyneaux to the Hart Inquiry which reported in 2017.
Of equal disappointment is the fact that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London is not looking for MI5’s files on Molyneaux. It has shown no interest in him nor other MPs and VIPs who abused boys as part of an Anglo-Irish Vice Ring.
Richard Kerr, a resident at Kincora, was trafficked from Belfast to London in the 1970s aged 16 to be abused by an MP who was a friend of Molyneaux.
1. ‘KINCORA AND PORTORA BOYS’ SCHOOLS WERE USED AS HOMOSEXUAL BROTHELS BY MANY PROMINENT FIGURES, INCLUDING LORD MOUNTBATTEN [AND] JAMES MOLYNEAUX.’
Robin Bryans tried to expose Molyneaux’s links to Kincora while he was still Leader of the UUP but without success.
Bryans, however, did manage to expose Sir Anthony Blunt, the Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, who had been a KGB mole while he served inside MI5. Byrans knew Blunt well from his frequent visits to Ulster where Blunt seized opportunities to abuse underage boys. Bryans tried to expose Molyneaux in a letter he wrote on 3 November, 1989, which also made reference to Blunt’s treachery. This was six years before Molyneaux would step down as Leader of the UUP. The relevant extract reads as follows:
‘Although Margaret Thatcher’s showed loyalty to those who had eased her path, by fair means or foul, to office, her forthrightness and inexperience enraged many. While (Sir Anthony) Blunt had a cosy relationship with the security services (based on his knowledge of incriminating political and sexual leanings among the Royal family), Thatcher showed herself to be unsympathetic to this delicate quid pro quo. She unbalanced the status quo by admitting that Blunt had been a Soviet agent [in the House of Commons in 1979]. This betrayal (as Blunt saw it) risked letting all sorts of other skeletons out of the cupboard. Not the least of these was the long-standing arrangement whereby Kincora and Portora Boys’ Schools were used as homosexual brothels by many prominent figures, including Lord Mountbatten, James Molyneaux, Leslie Mackie and Blunt’s coterie of highly placed friends. Blunt, however, kept his mouth shut, and Thatcher learned her lesson well. The establishment knows best’.
2. MOLYNEAUX’S MENTOR WAS SIR KNOX CUNNINGHAM WHO DESCRIBED HIM A ‘PRETTY LITTLE THING’
Molyneaux was the political protégé of the child rapist, Sir Knox Cunningham QC, MP. Cunningham was a senior Unionist MP at Westminster who rose to become Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, 1959-63, and as such was present at the deliberations of Macmillan’s cabinet. Macmillan recalled Cunningham fondly in his memoirs and awarded him a baronetcy in his resignation honours.
Molyneaux acted as Cunningham’s election agent and succeeded to his seat in 1970 when the older man retired.
According to Robin Bryans, Cunningham once described the young Molyneux as ‘a pretty little thing’.
Cunningham was also a senior member of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring of which the infamous Kincora Boys’ Home was a part.
Richard Kerr, a former resident at Kincora has revealed that Cunningham was an abuser of Kincora boys.
A memorandum prepared by Colin Wallace a PSYOPS officer at British Army HQ Lisburn in the 1970s stated that Cunningham was ‘closely associated’ with William McGrath, the brutal child rapist and Housefather at Kincora and was ‘aware of his activities’.
Cunningham became involved in the World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1947 and became Chairman of its National Council two years later, something which put him in charge of the YMCA in Ireland, Wales and England. Cunningham took boys from Kincora to the YMCA in England. His Wikipedia entry suggests that he became involved with the YMCA because of his “religious faith” but it is more likely he wanted to gain access to young men. Much of his interaction with the YMCA boys involved the sport of boxing. According to Bryans, he took Kincora boys to the YMCA in England.
According to Bryans, Cunningham ‘always liked to appear as the great Queen’s Counsel who knew more than anybody about everybody, especially those in my books and bed’. (The Dust Has Never Settled p56)
Although he resigned his seat in Westminster 1970, Cunningham remained an influential figure in Unionist politics in Northern Ireland.
It is abundantly clear from Colin Wallace’s contemporaneous notes that Cunningham’s depravity was known at Lisburn HQ where a number of British military and civilian intelligence services were based. How much did MI5 (Home Office), MI6 (Foreign Office) and Military Intelligence know about Cunningham’s sexuality – and were they able to blackmail him about it? More importantly, what did they know about Molyneaux’s secret sex life? The IICSA has the power to demand all of these files.
3. OPERATION CLOCKWORK ORANGE, 1973-74
In 1973 MI5 planned to leak details about the sexual secrets of a group of Loyalist politicians as part of what they called Operation Clockwork Orange. It was a scheme designed to undermine Loyalist opposition to the Sunningdale Agreement and the Power Sharing Government of NI which was set up under its auspices. Molyneaux’s name would undoubtedly have emerged if Clockwork Orange had gone ahead. However, it was aborted because Harold Wilson of the Labour Party became the UK’s prime minister. The ‘Ultras’ in MI5 such as Peter Wright actually believed Wilson was a KGB mole and decided to oust him from power. Suddenly, it suited their plans to get at Wilson by letting Sunningdale and the Power Sharing Government fail. Hence, details about the private lives of senior Loyalists such as Molyneaux were not leaked to the press. Instead MI5 threw its weight behind the Ulster Workers Council strike of 1974 which tore down the Power Sharing Government.
One of the most vicious acts of the UWC strike was the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. They were carried out by a gang of Loyalist terrorists including Robin Jackson who was an RUC Special Branch and MI5 agent. Jackson was far from the only MI5 agent involved in the Dublin and Monaghan atrocities which killed 33 people.
The British Government was asked by the Irish Government to release its file on the atrocities to assist the Barron Inquiry. The British Government refused to make the disclosure.
4. JAMES MOLYNEAUX WAS INVESTIGATED DURING THE FIRST KINCORA INQUIRY
The Kincora scandal finally erupted in 1980. Lyra McKee states in her book Angels with Blue Faces that Molyneaux was interviewed about Kincora by “a senior [RUC] detective who’d worked on the [Kincora] investigation” and had heard stories about him. McKee interviewed the former officer during the research for her book. In it she described how:
‘Various names were bandied about or alluded to by the tabloid press [after the Kincora scandal erupted], so many that a senior detective investigating the home collected press clippings and followed them up. This led him to interview [the] then UUP party leader James Molyneaux. Molyneux had protested his innocence and said he’d never been near the home. A closeted gay, his sexuality was open secret among political circles, but homosexuality would remain illegal in Northern Ireland until 1987. The detective believed his protest and that press stories linking him to the home were inaccurate. Yet Molyneaux had not disclosed his links to [William] McGrath [the Housefather of Kincora], that he’d known the political preacher and of TARA [the paramilitary organisation commanded by McGrath] and had actually visited McGrath’s home. The police investigation was concerned primarily with the abuse allegations and so the political web linking the likes of McGrath and Molyneaux and other figures within unionism were never examined. Except by journalists’. (46/7)
In his highly regarded 1996 book The Kincora Scandal, Chris Moore exposed some of Molyneaux’s links to McGrath. Moore revealed how Molyneaux had displayed an interest in one particular young man who had been involved with TARA but had left it. Molyneaux had then asked McGrath why he had departed. Molyneaux did not sue for defamation.
5. MOLYNEAUX AND ENOCH POWELL SHARED A CONCERN ABOUT THE 1981 MURDER OF ROY BRADFORD MP
In her book, Lyra McKee also points out that Molyneaux had claimed that “not so loyal servants of the Crown” had been involved in the murder of Roy Bradford MP in 1981 before later backing down on the allegation. McKee wrote:
‘One day, I met with Jeffrey Donaldson, a former UUP stalwart who’d worked closely with Jim Molyneaux who had later moved to the Democratic Unionist Party and was now MP for Laggan Valley. He made an interesting claim.
‘He said senior members of the UUP had harboured suspicions about Bradford’s murder. “I worked with Enoch Powell as his Constituency Agent and later as Personal Adviser to the Party leader Jim Molyneaux,” he said. We were sitting in a coffee shop on the outskirts of Belfast City Centre. “Both of them felt that there were suspicious aspects to the circumstances of Robert’s death. Jim always felt strongly that Robert had been investigating something that he was about to go public with when he died. He thought it might have been something connected with the Royal Victoria Hospital. He just always had the feeling that Robert had been set up by someone, elsewhere. I’m not one for conspiracy theories but when it is people you respect like Enoch Powell and Jim Molyneaux who expressed such suspicions, then they cannot be lightly dismissed.” (66)
It is far more likely that Molyneaux was being coy in front of Donaldson and that the “not so loyal servants of the Crown” he suspected of having killed Bradford were members of MI5 in control of the IRA gang which carried out the actual assassination and had done so because of Kincora, not because of irregularities at the Royal Victoria Hospital. At the time of his assassination Bradford had been making inquiries into Kincora. (For more details about his inquiry, click on the Lyra McKee tab/button at the end of this story.)
6. IN 1984 MOLYNEAUX, AGED 64, HAD A 17 YEAR-OLD BOYFRIEND
In March of 2016 journalist Bimpe Archer of The Irish News published an exclusive interview with Christopher Luke. Luke had become Molyneaux’s boyfriend in his later life. Luke described how he had met the UUP politician in 1984 when he was 17 and the politician was 64 at a meeting of the Conservative Party’s ‘Monday Club’ in London. Despite ‘the age gap, the pair bonded over their passionate belief in Northern Ireland’s immutable position within the UK, mutual hatred of Tory Europhile Edward Heath and admiration for controversial firebrand Enoch Powell’.
Luke described how the connection between them had been “instant”.
According to the report, ‘Mr Luke is openly gay, but, when asked about how intimate the two men became, said: “I don’t wish to talk about that”, but acknowledged “I had a very, very close relationship with Jimmy”, describing it as a biblical “David and Jonathan relationship”’.
Molyneaux spent an enormous amount of his time in London, first as an MP and then in the House of Lords. He kept a flat in South Kensington where, according to Luke, the pair would meet regularly. ‘The London flat was where we developed our own personal relationship beyond politics,’ he revealed.
7. MOLYNEAUX’S BOYFRIEND WROTE GAY CORPORAL PUNISHMENT FICTION
The Belfast Telegraph later reported that: ‘It is also understood that Mr Luke has a side-line as the author of gay corporal punishment fiction, and writes under the name ‘Clansman Chris’. Luke did not deny the claim, ‘saying only that it was “a private matter”’.
Harvey Proctor, the former Conservative MP and member of the Monday Club was a friend of Molyneaux. Proctor would undoubtedly have enjoyed the work of ‘Clansman Chris’. In May 1987 Proctor pleaded guilty to four acts of gross indecency with two men and was fined a total of £1,450. The press reported how he liked to spank rent boys aged between 17 and 21. He also used a polaroid camera to take pictures of them.
Enoch Powell would have enjoyed the work too for he – Powell – was a violent abuser of the boys. Powell abused Richard Kerr sexually and by beating him with a belt and buckle. Details about this can be found in Village’s article ‘Suffer Little Children’. Molyneaux and Powell were very close political allies.
Powell also considered himself a poet. One of his poems described how he, as an “unknowing boy” was “led to sin”.
‘I did not speak, but when I saw you turn
And cross your right leg on your left, and fold
Your hands around your knee, I felt a flow
Of white-hot lava seething up the old
Volcano shaft. That self-same attitude,
Though not of yours, it was which long ago
Fired me, an innocent, unknowing boy,
And led me on to sin and on to learn
and onwards to the very font of woe’
8. THATCHER’S SUBTLE USE OF BLACKMAIL IN 1985
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed at Hillsborough on 15 November, 1985. Earlier that month, Lobby Correspondents in London were given an unattributable briefing from Margaret Thatcher’s press office claiming she had ordered the Ministry of Defence to open a fresh inquiry into Kincora. This can only have had a chilling effect on the then Unionist leadership in NI, especially Molyneaux.
Christopher Luke’s sudden arrival in Belfast after the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed can only have unsettled Molyneaux’s nerves further. Luke was active in Conservative politics and had a keen interest in Northern Ireland. According to Bimpe Archer, after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Luke “immediately resigned membership of the Conservative Party” and flew to Belfast in a rage. Having taken a bus to the UUP’s HQ at Glengall Street, he met Molyneaux and his colleague Harold McCusker, also a Westminster MP. ‘Jimmy [Molyneaux] was totally surprised to see me and said “Chrissie, what brings you here?'”
Luke was taken inside the UUP HQ and McCusker contacted the Rev. Martin Smyth, who organised a place for him to stay with ‘party members of the Windsor branch’. Smith was Grand Master of the Orange Order, 1971-96, and one-time Vice President of the Monday Club. He was also a Westminster MP having succeeded to Robert Bradford’s seat in the 1982 by-election after the latter’s murder. After Molyneaux stood down as UUP leader in 1985, Smyth was defeated by David Trimble in the ensuing leadership election.
Ian Paisley faced a drubbing too if he was ever to be hauled before any sort of a tribunal. He would have had to explain under oath why he had done nothing about Kincora after his secretary, Valerie Shaw, had informed him about it in 1973. Moreover, Paisley had once been very close to McGrath and had officiated at the marriage of one of McGrath’s children.
Enoch Powell MP was vulnerable to political annihilation over his abuse of Richard Kerr and no doubt other boys MI5 knew about.
Suffice it to say, the threatened MoD inquiry never took place.
The Lobby briefing indicates that Thatcher was fully aware of what had taken place at Kincora and MI5’s deep knowledge of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring of which so many senior Loyalist politicians were members.
9. MOLYNEAUX ‘TRIED TO SHOVE ME OFF HUGGING AND KISSING HIM – AGAIN PERHAPS HE THOUGHT THE TIME WASN’T RIGHT’.
Christopher Luke became a member of the Orange Order. The Belfast Telegraph revealed in 2016 that he was expelled from it ‘following what he at first described as a “personality clash”, but later admitted was sparked by his publication of the home address of David Trimble who had succeeded Molyneaux as Leader of the UUP.
Bimpe Archer also reported that the last time Christopher Luke ‘saw his beloved “Jimmy” it was heart breaking’ because Molyneaux then 94 didn’t recognise him and ‘tried to shove me off hugging and kissing him – again perhaps he thought the time wasn’t right’. However, at a later stage of the visit to the nursing home where Molyneaux was living, recognition ‘came back to him’ and the pair were able to share a final moment of understanding. Molyneaux, died a few months later, on March 8, 2015.
Luke placed a memoriam notice in a Belfast newspaper in which he described himself as Molyneaux’s ‘close companion’ and paraphrased the Book of Samuel to say: ‘I grieve for you .. you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. I love you more today than I did yesterday, but less than I will tomorrow, my dear Jim, your eternal protégé Chrissie.’
Luke, who lived in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, has since died.
Readers may be interested in a story entitled ‘How the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring Operated’ which is posted on our website. It provides an account of how Richard Kerr and Stephen Waring from Kincora were trafficked to Britain. One of the key figures in the transport was Joss Cardwell, the former UUP Stormont MP for Belfast Pottinger who knew Molyneaux well. During the 1960s Cardwell chaired the committee which was responsible for children’s homes in Belfast.