The late Sir Peter Morrison, a gay former Conservative MP and ex-parliamentary aide to Margaret Thatcher, has been described as a “paedophile” by the former leader of the Welsh Conservatives Rod Richards.

Mr Richards was a Welsh Assembly Member until 2002 and briefly led the party in the chamber during 1999.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Richards has seen evidence linking Sir Peter to the North Wales children’s homes scandal, in which up to 650 youngsters in 40 homes were sexually, physically and emotionally abused during the seventies and eighties.

It is claimed Sir Peter made a number of “unexplained” visits to homes across Wales along with another senior Tory who is now dead.

Allegations have also been made in the Daily Star Sunday of a police cover-up of abuse involving senior politicians and that a complaint made by a teenage rent boy against an unnamed former cabinet minister was suppressed.

The paper claims the minister is still alive.

Attention towards Sir Peter Morrison’s private life was first raised last weekend by the former Conservative Health Minister Edwina Currie.

She told the Sunday Times that Sir Peter previously had engaged in sex with 16-year-old boys when the age of consent was 21.

Ms Currie said Sir Peter, a former deputy party chairman, was protected by a “culture of sniggering, of giggling and of nudge-nudge, wink-wink,” and that his behaviour was covered up by senior Tories.

Sir Peter died of a heart attack early in the morning of 13 July 1995, aged 51.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Rod Richards said:

“What I do know is that Morrison was a paedophile. And the reason I know that is because of the North Wales child abuse scandal.”

Mr Richards was the MP for Clwyd North West until 1997 and served as a junior minister in the Welsh Office during the last Conservative government.

He helped establish an inquiry into the scandal and believes William Hague, who was Welsh secretary at the time, “should have seen the evidence about Morrison” regarding his visits to children’s homes.

William Hague has denied being presented with any evidence linking Sir Peter to the child abuse scandal in North Wales.

On Saturday, Mr Hague’s spokesman said:

“Mr Hague established the North Wales Child Abuse Inquiry precisely because of the serious and widespread reports of abuse. It was set up to be as thorough as possible and its terms of reference were widely supported in parliament.”

Last week, Labour MP Tom Watson stunned the Commons when he asked Prime Minister David Cameron to examine historic allegations about a high-level paedophile network linked to a former Downing Street aide – who he later clarified on his blog was not Sir Peter Morrison, but another individual.