A FORMER antique dealer from York claims he was asked to find young men for sex parties by senior politicians in the 1980s.

Anthony Gilberthorpe used to run Stonegate Antiques in the city and was an activist for the Conservative party in the 1980s, and has claimed he paid young men to visit hotels where politicians were staying.

Mr Gilberthorpe, 52, told The Sunday Mirror this week he had been tasked by a senior member of the Scottish Conservatives, Doctor Alistair Smith, who gave him money and told him to "go and fetch some entertainment", and said he was willing to speak to the upcoming inquiry into the abuse.

He was quoted saying: “I am prepared to speak to the inquiry. I believe I am a key witness.

"Because they were the most powerful men in the land, I was led to believe it was all OK. In truth they were abusers and once they had tired of me they simply discarded me. It is time this came to light before anyone else is abused. They didn’t think they were doing anything wrong and it was the norm then. They felt untouchable."

Mr Gilberthorpe ran Stonegate Antiques Centre for more than six years from the late 1990s, before it reopened in 2003 under new hands and under the new name of The Antiques Centre York.

He has now alleged several Conservative politicians were at the parties, including the then Attorney General, Michael Havers - who was the brother of Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the judge who today stepped down as leader of the inquiry - and several others, who have all since died. The newspaper said Mr Gilberthorpe had also named one politician who is still a serving minister, and two of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet ministers.

The claims have been refuted by former home office minister David Mellor, who claimed Mr Gilberthorpe was a "chap who is annoyed that he was not chosen as a Tory candidate", and said the names included in the stories were "improbable".

Mr Mellor, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, said: "He has now found these names, improbable names – Rhodes Boyson: I don’t see Rhodes Boyson with little boys. Michael Havers! Heavens above! I think this is now open season because of a pretty dodgy dossier presented to Leon Brittan by a Tory back bencher, which had very little substance in my view."