I am indebted to Nick Cohen for disinterring this story. Cohen’s article is also an interesting reflection on the fact that the practice in question seems to never be out of the news, albeit in allusions rather than the unalloyed detail.
Michael McManus has a hair-raising scene in Tory Pride and Prejudice, his history of liberal Conservatives’ long struggle to change their party’s mind. Jerry Hayes, an exuberant Conservative backbencher, bounds into a Commons bar in 1986. The Department of Health has decided that the only way to deal with the new threat of Aids is to speak to the public in the most sexually explicit fashion. Being frank with the voters also means that some luckless wretch has to be frank with Mrs Thatcher.
He finds Willie Whitelaw, looking haggard and downing neat whisky. “What’s wrong?” he asks. “I have had to explain to Margaret about anal sex,” comes the reply.