Dolphin Square and the Westminster Council connection
Scallywag issue 29b, May 1995
Dolphin Square is not particularly exclusive - in the same way as, say, the Albany is. In fact much of it is rather tatty and gaunt. It is formidably large, somewhere between a village and a city with its own shops, sporting facilities, bars and restaurants. Any exclusivity it does enjoy is merely because you have to be 'someone' to get in and that 'someone' has to be au fait with the residents' committee, which is dominated and was clearly motivated by the right wing element of its landlord - Westminster City Council.
There are some fifty MPs in the set of buildings (about one in seven of all members). They include some token non-Tories, like left-winger Tom Pendry, and former Liberal leader Sir David Steel. But most of the inmates are well behaved Conservative back benchers who need a cheap London pad.
Its other great advantage is its anonymity. As long as you don't upset other residents, people tend to let you get on with your life. There is also a very well run security system and service arrangements which guarantees this privacy. If you do dine there, as Portillo, Lilley and co. do quite often, you tend to find yourself in the 'right company'. The staff are the height of discretion.
It creates the perfect setting for private parties and tête-à-têtes, and 'model' agencies providing both young men and woman are a thriving industry in Pimlico. In fact, the local rent-a-boy agencies provide an almost service industry to the complex.
Our 'spy' in the building is a close observer of life behind the grey-white walls and tells us gay parties and 'romps' go on most nights and he has got quite used to young gays wandering around looking for the next rave.
The political importance of Dolphin Square to the Tories on Westminster Council is significant. The complex created the perfect role model to ensure a Tory balance in the wards. Dame [Shirley] Porter's stated goal was to move out unemployed, homeless, and obvious Labour supporters from the marginals, and move in known Tories in what they called the Dolphin Factor - a large enclave of Tory votes carefully nurtured and looked after right in the centre of the ward.
Julian Lewis operates as 'JRJ Lewis' in one of the more opulent pads at 110 Nelson House.
The Westminster Council connection
It is no mere coincidence that the main stages of this sordid drama fortuitously embrace not just the Houses of Parliament and Smith Square, but Dolphin Square and Westminster City Council who administer it and make sure that there is a wide selection of their own friends and sympathisers in the building.
If you are hunting for dirty tricks and gerrymandering it can all be found in less that a square mile of sordid intrigue and nasty conspiracies in the very heart of London.
Dolphin Square - the largest block of flats in Europe, and itself a hotbed of political machinations - is in the safe Tory enclave of Pimlico, nicknamed by politico wags as Pimp-lico for it is here that the rent-a-boy lobby have their headquarters.
While the City Council's invidious supporter Julian Lewis operates his business from 'JRJ Lewis' at 110 Nelson House in Dolphin Square - a stone's throw from his CCO office - none other than our old friend Derek Laud operates his from a private house just round the corner in Winchester Street.
It was Laud, known as 'Golly', who went on holiday with his boyfriend with the Portillos and Lilleys. He is a fore runner and front man for Ludgate Communications, which overtly runs a gay lobby group providing evening soirées for like minded politicos. These are almost exclusively both gay and right wing Tories.
In another block at Dolphin Square is another old friend, Robert Atkins (4 Collingswood House), who played the most central role in the right-wing dirty tricks operation against Owen Oyston.
It is now accepted, at least by every fair-minded person of any hue, that the council house for voters scandal, complete with slush funds, behind-door conspiracies, acute nepotism from the top, and the active participation of the CCO, was one of the worst of its kind in modern politics.
We have now read the full transcripts of the Magill report, in which the District Auditor, John Magill of Touche Ross, carefully, witness by witness, delved for the truth of the matter. It was clear to him, and deeply reflected in his report, that Lady Porter and her cronies and lackeys, led by two mysterious advisors on her personal payroll, had identified ten marginal wards and actively set about turning them blue.
At a cost of £100,000 they bought up the services of five Tory activists to find out the political colour of every person in these wards. Houses which came empty were let in these wards only to known Tory sympathisers. Unemployed and homeless were shuffled off to the safe Labour seats.
So desperate were they to place Labourites in the right ward that the allowed the homeless to inhabit two enormous tower blocks which had been condemned by their own health department for having toxic levels of asbestos poisoning. A full report confirming this is due in the autumn.
The significant thing about this is how many of the names turn up in this scandal who are also apparent in the gay lobby scandal and the Dirty Tricks department run by Julian Lewis.
As in the right-wing clique in Smith Square, with social headquarters in Dolphin Square, so they were able to put up a bold front in the Westminster City Council so discredited by the Dame [Shirley] Porter fiasco of selling council houses to pals for cash and support. And here again, it was predominantly, and quite overtly, gay.
Tony Kerpel, now a special adviser to Kenneth Baker, was not only a prominent force in the council itself at the time. but had joined the CCO at the very same time as Julian Lewis and shared his sympathies, both for extreme right-wing politics, and his fondness for male company. You would be more than correct to put them down as bosom pals and political flatmates.
As you weave your way through the insidious net of dirty tricks, gerrymandering, the more sordid side of lobbying through sex, as we have, the more you keep coming across the name of Tony Kerpel.
Kerpel and co.'s peer on the council include the crucial Chairman of Planning, Robert Davis, the Deputy Chairman, Simon Milton, the leader, Miles Young, and Cllrs [Peter] Martindale, Alan Bradley, Alex Segal, [David] Avery and [Robert] Mortland. All these belonged to the clique who invariably went out in small groups to the more insalubrious 'Boys' Clubs' in the Soho area where their council was, in fact, also the landlords.
Martindale even once toured the clubs in a Ministry car lent to him to go on a late night tour with a handful of pals.
More often they would collect at one of the ongoing soirées in Dolphin Square, where of course, again, their council were the ultimate landlords.
While Kerpel retained his very close relationship with the CCO, Deputy Chairman Simon Milton was helping Ian Greer Associates - the lobby group specially set up to pander to the 100 known Tory gays in Westminster. He then left to start up his own lobby group called ABCO.