The Church of England has defended its actions in passing the name of the late Enoch Powell, the well-known orator and Conservative MP, to the police in connection with allegations of historic sex abuse.
Powell's name was supplied to police by a senior Anglican bishop by the Bishop of Durham Paul Butler last year in connection with allegations of satanic activity. No allegations of abuse or any criminal activity were made against Powell.
The Church said that in June 2014, one of the Church of England's safeguarding advisers contacted the police with information concerning individuals against whom allegations had been made in the 1980s to a priest who is an accredited exorcist.
The allegations concerned Members of Parliament who were alleged to be members of a satanic cult in connection with the trial of Derry Mainwaring Knight who was convicted for fraud in 1986.
References to these allegations had been in the public domain as part of the trial of and also in a book by Tim Tate Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime, published in 1991.
The information was passed to the police following correspondence between the former Bishop of Monmouth Dominic Walker, to whom the allegations had been made, and Bishop Butler, who is the Church's lead bishop for safeguarding.
Bishop Walker has for many years been involved in deliverance ministry, otherwise known as exorcisms, and has written a seminal books on the subject, The Ministry of Deliverance, and contributed a chapter to another book, Deliverance.
Bishop Walker made it clear that there was no evidence relating to any of the allegations concerning satanic activity and Mr Powell, and also there were no allegations of criminal activity. The allegations referred purely to alleged membership of "satanic cults", the Church said.
There were many such allegations in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including in the Orkney Islands where many homes suffered dawn raids in which children were removed. A Government inquiry found no evidence in any of 86 separate alleged cases. The allegation against Powell was made by one individual.
Among its many inquiries on the subject of establishment sex abuse, the Metropolitan Police are investigating the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith and former Home Secretary Leon Brittan.
The allegations about Powell were passed originally to Operation Fernbridge, an investigation into abuse at the notorious Elm Guest House in south west London. Although Fernbridge has ended, other enquiries are making use of evidence that was found.
Enoch Powell never used the phrase "rivers of blood" with which he has become linked.
But in a 1968 speech he did tell a Conservative party association meeting in Birmingham that immigration from countries such as India and Jamaica was a threat to social harmony.
He said: "We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population.
"It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancées whom they have never seen."
He continued: "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'."
The next morning he was sacked as shadow defence secretary by Edward Heath.
Powell's biographer Simon Heffer defended his late friend.
"When he died, I had unique access to a vast collection of private papers, including numerous intimate letters. If there is anyone alive other than Enoch's widow and daughters who knows more about him than I do, I'd like to meet him," he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
"His probity in personal and financial matters was rock solid. When on Saturday evening a fellow journalist told me of the allegations made by the Church of England, my first instinct was to laugh: but that soon changed into utter outrage when I realised he was serious."
Condemning the actions of the Church, Heffer continued: "They might as well accuse him of having been a war criminal or an armed robber, for there would be as much truth in either allegation. The appalling slurs are just like those made against 91-year-old Lord Bramall, a D-Day veteran and former chief of defence staff, whose homes in London and North Yorkshire were gratuitously raided by police recently on the back of an unspecified allegation of a sexual nature dating back to the 1970s.
"It is not just that the bishops who have made these accusations are behaving in a remarkably un-Christian fashion by putting this smear into the public domain. But that they do not appear even to have engaged what passes for their brains, or consciences, before behaving in this grotesque and offensive fashion."
He called for the Church to launch its own investigation into those responsible for the "smear".
"These post-Savile accusations bring to mind the hysteria surrounding allegations of satanic abuse in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including notorious cases in Rochdale and the Orkneys that involved social workers and police forcibly removing children from their homes in dawn raids."
The Church posted a statement on its website refuting Heffer and defending its actions. The Church said it was untrue to say that it proactively placed these allegations into the public domain. "Rather this occurred through a story published by the Mail on Sunday on 29 March 2015.
"The Mail on Sunday approached the Communications Office of the Church of England on 27 March 2015 seeking confirmation that the name of Enoch Powell was part of a conversation in the 1980s in relation to ritual satanic abuse.
"The extent of the Church of England's actions in this matter has been to pass these allegations to the police and to confirm to media outlets who approached our Communications Office that we had done so. In passing these names on to the police the Church of England made it was clear it was not making any judgment but simply fulfilling its responsibility to pass on information when it is widely known that the police are conducting a serious investigation into the possibility of past abuse by politicians, including the possible cover up of some stories. The victims and survivors of abuse would expect us to do no other.
"We are committed to full participation in the statutory inquiry into historical child sexual abuse established by the government to be chaired by Lord Justice Goddard."