Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

'Homosexual' advances of MP spurned

Columnist reveals how he attracted Kilfedder's attention

By David Gordon

Published 20/06/2005

A newspaper and magazine columnist has written about how he became the object of an Ulster politician's homosexual desires.

A newspaper and magazine columnist has written about how he became the object of an Ulster politician's homosexual desires.

Leo McKinstry stated that he rejected "anguished" attempts at "intimacy" from Jim Kilfedder, who was the MP for North Down from 1970 to his death in 1995.

Mr McKinstry also recalled one "embarrassing" incident when Mr Kilfedder voiced his affections after drinking too much wine at dinner in the House of Commons.

The columnist's experiences are mentioned in an article for the current issue of The Spectator, an influential right-wing London-based magazine.

Mr McKinstry, who also writes for a number of newspapers, described Mr Kilfedder as a "surprisingly flamboyant, cosmopolitan figure for the hard world of Ulster politics".

He also stated: "Unfortunately, the searchlight of his flamboyance settled in my direction and for several years he was an awkward presence in my youth."

The articles said the MP was "a decent and in many ways honourable man" who died of a heart attack "when gay rights activists threatened to expose him as a homosexual".

It added: "I was never under any illusions about the nature of his interest in me, especially after one embarrassing evening when he took me to dinner at the House of Commons.

"Having imbibed rather too much claret, he cried out in a loud voice, 'I can't bear to have this table between us any longer,' a statement which rather shook the Northern Labour MP at the table next to ours.

"Through a cowardly unwillingness to avoid a confrontation, I allowed him to remain a friend, though I rejected all his anguished attempts at greater intimacy."

The main theme of Mr McKinstry's article was that generations of boys have been the "subject of the attentions of enthusiastic but essentially harmless older men".

Referring to this week's not guilty verdict in the Michael Jackson trial, the columnist stated:

"The sort of behaviour Michael Jackson was charged with would until recently scarcely have raised an eyebrow if it came from the Latin master in many an English prep school."

Calling for more tolerance of such behaviour if no abuse or exploitation occurs, Mr McKinstry argued that "hysteria" now surrounds the issue.

"All this does no service in the battle against real child abuse. By making the definition of abuse so wide, by seeing danger at every turn, by putting the most sinister gloss on every act of affection, all rationality has been lost.

"A sense of proportion has been replaced by one of panic and vindictiveness," he added.

Jim Kilfedder was originally an Ulster Unionist MP. He split from the UUP in the 1970s to form the small Popular Unionist Party. He became Sir James Kilfedder in the latter stages of his long political career.

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