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SCANDAL; Tory top brass covered up for gay-shame Hirst.

Tory top brass covered up the gay double-life of shamed chairman Sir Michael Hirst.

Former Scots Secretary Ian Lang knew about his homosexual affairs with TWO young Tories.

But he took no action after Hirst denied the flings with former researcher Andrew Barnett and personal assistant Paul Martin.

Barnett blurted out the secret at the party's Brighton conference two years ago.

One senior Tory said: "This went all the way to Ian Lang."

Astonishingly, some party workers knew about Hirst's gay secret for TEN YEARS.

But nothing was done.

The shamed Tory chairman was in hiding yesterday with his wife Naomi and their three children.

It is thought they are staying on a friend's country estate in the Highlands.

We can reveal that Hirst didn't have the heart to tell his wife that his secret life was about to be made public.

That dirty job was left to deputy chairman Jackson Carlaw.

He was called in after Record investigations into Hirst's gay sex life.

Hirst was told on Friday afternoon that the Record were about to break the story and he phoned John Major to say he might have to step down.

His resignation letter was with the Prime Minister within hours of our story appearing on Saturday.

Meanwhile the two men linked to Hirst couldn't be contacted yesterday.

Andrew Barnett, who works at the Arts Council in London, was not available.

And Paul Martin was said to be abroad on holiday.

His father, a former Edinburgh councillor, said: "Paul has not lived here for three years. He is abroad just now."

The Record tried to speak to Ian Lang, but he wasn't available for comment.

But Jackson Carlaw tried to play down the week's stunning events.

He described the resignations of Hirst and Allan Stewart as "two very personal tragedies".

He said: "Our campaign was at a very advanced stage and we have the resources and the resilience to carry that out."

He admitted that the resignations had not been the "ideal start" for any campaign.

And he said many in the party were "distraught" that the chairman had had to resign.

But he claimed this had hardened the resolve of party workers to win their target seats.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Smith, Anna
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 31, 1997
Previous Article:Knives out for silent Forsyth.
Next Article:GAY MAFIA BURIES TORIES; Homosexual links lead to downfall of Scots party.

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