A gay member of the London Assembly has claimed that former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath was warned to stop having sex with men in public.

Brian Coleman, a Conservative, claims that Sir Edward was warned by police to stop cruising for sex as part of a vetting process in 1955.

That year he became a Privy Councillor and Chief Whip under Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

“The late Ted Heath obtained the highest office of state after he was supposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the 1950s,” Mr Coleman wrote on the New Statesman’s website.

He claims that the police warning was common knowledge in the Tory party.

Senior Conservative MPs denied that Sir Edward was gay.

Sir Peter Tapsell, who became an MP in 1959, told The Mirror: “I knew him well and would be astonished if he was a practising homosexual.”

Sir Edward’s successor as MP for Bexley and Old Sidcup, Derek Conway, said:

“Ted was wedded to politics. He didn’t have a great deal of companionship but there are people capable of getting on with their lives without companionship.”

Sir Edward led the Conservative party from 1965 to 1975, and was Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974.

He never married and while many rumours about his sexuality circulated, it was generally thought he was married to his job.

If Mr Coleman’s assertion is correct, it means that Britain has already had a gay Prime Minister.

Mr Coleman’s article on the New Statesman’s website condemned the practice out outing people, and said that voters do not care about the sexual preferences of politicians as long as they are good at their jobs.

“In my experience the only people fascinated as to who does what and to whom are other gay men,” he wrote.

“The average voter could not care less if their Member of Parliament visits Hampstead Heath at midnight as long as they get the holes in the road mended.”

Heath died in 2005 aged 89.