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Theresa May announces independent inquiry into child abuse allegations

7 July 2014

5:24 PM

7 July 2014

5:24 PM

Theresa May has just given as comprehensive a response as possible to the allegations of child abuse in the Commons. Insisting the government will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the allegations, the Home Secretary told MPs that there will an independent inquiry panel, along the lines of the Hillsborough inquiry, which will examine not just how the Home Office dealt with allegations, but also how the police and prosecutors dealt with information handed to them. As a non-statutory inquiry, it will be able to begin its work sooner and will be at a lower risk of prejudicing criminal investigations because it will begin with a review of documentary evidence. May also said that the government will convert this to a full public inquiry if necessary.

The inquiry will be chaired by NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless. May set out three principles in her statement:

‘I want to set three important principles. First, we will do everything we can to allow the full investigation of child abuse and the prosecution of its perpetrators, and we will do nothing to jeopardise those aims. Second, where possible the government will adopt a presumption of maximum transparency. And third, we will make sure that wherever individuals and institutions have failed to protect children from harm, we will expose these failures and learn the lessons.’

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May was careful to praise the work of Tom Watson and Tim Loughton in this area. This concerted attempt to be consensual meant that the Commons debate that followed was largely devoid of partisan point-scoring, save for a rant from Dennis Skinner about cuts and the public sector pay freeze, and Yvette Cooper’s response focused more on the details than the Home Secretary’s handling of the row. That said, Cooper did tell MPs that the ‘Home Secretary is right to announce today that she has changed her position and her response on child abuse’, which prompted some groans.

The Home Secretary did say the inquiry would consider the Home Office’s record-keeping, but one question that also cropped up that touched on allegations of a cover-up was a comment made by former chief whip Tim Fortescue MP in a 1995 documentary on the whips. Lisa Nandy read the quote:

‘In the mid-1990s, a senior ex-whip who had served in the 1970s told the BBC that the whips’ office routinely helped MPs with scandals including those, in his own words, ‘involving small boys’, and that they did it in order to exert control over those individuals and prevent problems for the government. It’s just one powerful example of how personal and political interests can conspire to prevent justice from happening, so can we have a full commitment that this inquiry will consider not just the police and social services but will also look at what happens at the heart of power, and if those systems are found to exist today, that they will be overturned, whether that makes life uncomfortable for political parties, whether it makes life uncomfortable for parliament, and whether it makes life uncomfortable for the government itself.’

May agreed that it was not her intention that political parties should be outside the scope of the inquiry. Mark Reckless also asked about information held by the whips’ office. Fortescue is dead, but the whips office, always a chamber of secrets in any political party, looks to become part of the hunt for a cover-up, if such a thing exists, rather than simply a very poorly-governed system that let victims down.

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Show comments
  • Martin Smith

    If specific MP’s are found guilty of pedophilia, then can all other MP’s be charged under Joint Enterprise, as they belong to the same group?

  • Mike Barnes

    After watching a BBC documentary last night and finding out David Cameron is so keen on ‘joint enterprise’ punishment, I think anybody who was a high ranking politician in the 1980s needs to go to jail.

    If you had your doubts and didn’t do anything to stop it, you are just as guilty as an abuser. That’s how it works.

    Goodbye Mr Tebbit and co.

    • GraveDave

      Hearing rumours isn’t the same as seeing and knowing. Besides, there’s laws against laying unfounded allegations against someone. So let’s be fair -eh?

  • William_Brown

    No doubt, some hapless Permanent Secretary, or some such, will be hung out to dry and fed to the slathering media, along with a couple of dead guys. The rest of the protagonists, however, will remain incognito whilst keeping their seats in the Westminster village. It’s so depressingly predictable

  • Gwangi

    All very silly, and adding more to the paedophile hysteria sweeping our land, whose flames are fanned by the usual feminist manhaters.
    It is PEOPLE who abuse – not men more than women. Just look at the stats around violent and emotional abuse of children. Look too at how most child abuse of a secksual nature takes place in the home, often in single mother families (because mummy has multiple boyfriends). The social services are way too reluctant to take babies and children away from unfit mothers too: we should be having an inquiry on that.
    This inquiry is just pandering to female voters, frankly, and is just a reaction to hysteria. Decisions politicians make on the hoof like this are almost always bad.
    And how much will this waste of time cost us all anyway? And what good will it do? Far too many people are assuming that as there were rumours then everyone must be guilty. People really are such fecking eejits.

  • Amir
  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “Theresa May announces independent inquiry into child abuse allegations”. I was lock-up in Holland for over a year for forgetting to pay some bills by a judge who was the prosecutor and defense lawyer all in one person, so is it with Mrs. May who in parliament gave a “whitewash” impression.

    • the_ex-expat

      in the Netherlands people are not locked up in jail for any time for “forgetting to pay some bills”. The judge is separate from the prosecutor and the defence. If you went to jail by order of a judge you you stole or defrauded or committed a crime, not forgot to pay some bills ((i.e. you are a *thief*, not an innocent absent-minded scientist). If this was not the case you are now a very rich man indeed as there are appeals and higher courts. So quit slandering a normal democracy just to seek sympathy like most sociopathic criminals do!

  • Sean Lamb

    Much as I love the thrill of “missing files” as the next person, did the House of Commons budget not run to a couple of photocopiers for its MPs when Geoffrey Dickens was an MP?

    If his dossier was so earth-shattering, why on earth did he not run off a few copies before handing it over?

    • Andy

      As the Home Secretary said yesterday there was no dossier. There were a number of letters, all of which were actioned. If they hadn’t been why did Dickens thank the Home Office in 1987 (see Hansard) ? And what has become of Dickens papers ? I would expect him to have kept copies of all the letters he wrote (I do) so what has become of these copies ?

      What we are seeing here is nothing more than hysteria, following Savile.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Call me paranoid if you will, but don`t you get the impression that for the last 100 years and more, the vast majority of the British people have been lied to, betrayed and otherwise shafted by the aristocrats and those in authority? The public schools fed into the officer class, the civil service, the church… First and second class citizens; implicit if not explicit. But at long last the worm appears to be turning. Paedophelia is the one crime that cannot be excused or even swept under the carpet, and it`s starting to look as if almost nobody is above the law. There must be many in society`s upper stratum who are starting to feel rather uneasy. The fall out is going to be pretty damn devastating. Now if only we could pin something on Tony.
    Jack, Japan Alps

    • allymax bruce

      The veil is being torn in two, Jack. Soon, we will all be able to see who were responsible for all the most horrible crimes/cover-ups in history. We may even get to see the period between 1929 and 1945 are where we are now, again; but without the wars!

  • http://www.taxis-colchester.co.uk Emily John

    lets see whats happens…its right Politicians are not above the law

    Blackwater Taxis

  • Smithersjones2013

    I don’t know. You wait 25 years for a public inquiry and then two come long all at once. Its like London buses

  • redrum

    Thank God – this has been whirling around the internet undergrowth for some time and needs to have a healthy dose of sunlight shone on it. Politicians are not above the law, and must be treated in accordance with the law. Child sexual abuse is one of the worst crimes one human being can visit on another – the detrimental effects can last a lifetime ….

    • Geronimo von Huxley

      Man, I am telling you man!!! It is so important right now not to publish any findings until say a month before September 19, man. These crazy Scots just don’t want their own independence day man!!! They just no haters man, they need to be made to hate!! Insane!!!

    • GraveDave

      Yes, and how they laughed and put all down to conspiracy nutjobs with too much time on their hands. Well thank god because I was one myself at one time. A conspiracy nutjob that is. I even had the men in black standing outside my window some nights and certain buggers tapping into my phone, and then there was this Mandy, a cross dresser, said S/He regularly blew off one of Blair’s political advisers and provided him with homeless rent boys – oh, and did I tell you about….

  • David Booth.

    I’m sure our Security Services have files on politicians and senior civil servants who are suspected of these nasty sexual proclivities as a means of assessing their vulnerability to blackmail. If so these files should be available to any enquiry.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Oh, you mean those “missing” 200 files? Where are they? They were here a minute ago.

      • David Booth.

        Err no?
        The Security Services will have their own files.

        • GraveDave

          Yeah, but who has files on them

          • David Booth.

            And there you’ve hit the nail on the head Dave or as the Roman poet Juvenal is reputed to have said
            “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
            Or
            “Who watches the watchman?”

            • Count Dooku

              The Americans?

              • David Booth.

                And who watches the Americans?
                I think Juvenal had it about right.

                • Count Dooku

                  The Iluminatti and Bilderberg Lizardmen.

                • GraveDave

                  The Masons – The Jews.

            • GraveDave

              The eternal question mate.

              • David Booth.

                You said it.

  • Earlshill

    They don’t need an inquiry if they just want to get the lowdown on any politicians caught with boys or girls. They just need to ask MI5 to disclose all the relevant files. That will of course include the 114 files transferred from the Home Office to the Security Service at the appropriate times…………

  • Adegoke Udo

    BBC’s constant coverage of paedophilia reads like some sensationalist tabloid rag-mag and not some sensible source of reporting of world events. They think of children more than paedophiles must do.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      It will soon change when Labour names start getting mentioned: they have completely ignored one big story about a Labour Lord in the past week: this is with a dozen evidence based claims but why mention that when some dodgy rumour from one source names a Conservative, they seem not to have learnt their lessons.

  • Bernard from Bucks

    “Theresa May announces independent inquiry”.
    Then a few lines down –
    “the government will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the allegations,”
    This doesn’t sound very independent from where I sit.

    • Mynydd

      It’s not meant to be independent, only to look like it’s independent. Mr Cameron/May will picked the chairman, and will set out its terms of reference, thus in reality, the inquiry will be limited to avoid embarrassing this, and Mrs Thatcher’s government.

      • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

        will be limited to avoid embarrassing this, and Mrs Thatcher’s government.

        Eh? You’re not very clued up on the rumours then…

        • realfish

          If you look back at Mynydd’s posts, I think that you’ll find that Mynydd has some sort of Thatcher fetish.
          There’ quite a lot going on beyond those reflexive rants that he / she serves up…hourly.

          • Mynydd

            My concern is that there is no cover-up of the inaction by Mrs Thatcher and her government on this matter, and that those who abused children are brought before the courts if still living and those who have died are named.

            • Colonel Mustard

              How do you feel about the cover-up of the inaction by Andy Burnham and the New Labour government on the matter of Mid-Staffs, and those staff who criminally neglected patients. Are you as concerned about that?

            • Andy

              There was no ‘inaction by Lady Thatcher and her government on this matter’. The stuff Dickens brought to the Home Office was actioned and Dickens himself thanked the Home Secretary on the floor of the House in 1987 long AFTER he passed over his supposed dossier. So he was satisfied with their work.

              But we should also start and ask questions regarding the horrific child abuse that happened in childrens homes run by Islington Council and what the Council leader Margaret Hodge (leader 1982-1992) knew and when.

              We should also start and ask questions about P.I.E. and the role of senior Labour Party figures in furthering its activities and/or defending it. And also if PIE got either directly or indirectly any funding from the government – it is said it did from 1977 under a Labour Government.

              • GraveDave

                Yes, I agree, Hodge got off way too lightly with this.

            • GraveDave

              Course, the present rulers would have a vested interest. Especially a year before election time.

          • GraveDave

            It was a Tory government. At least that’s the way it’s looking right now. And what is this anyway – these crimes need to be dealt with , whoever was about at the time. Don’t worry though, we’ll get down to Heath and Wilson too – hopefully.

        • Mynydd

          The original papers were given to Mrs Thatcher’s ministers. That is not a rumour it’s a fact.

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            A fact indeed but this has nothing to do with what you are saying above.

        • Baron

          Tell us more, Span Ows, what are the rumours?

      • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

        will be limited to avoid embarrassing this, and Mrs Thatcher’s government.

        Eh? You’re not very clued up on the rumours then…

      • davidofkent

        Is the CEO of NSPCC independent? Surely his salary depends on convincing us that his organisation is essential in the hunt for any form of cruelty to children, real or imagined.

        • Mynydd

          But he is only given the job of reviewing the review carried earlier.

        • allymax bruce

          Childline in the eighties is profoundly quiet on this. Can Wanless be trusted to spill the beans?

      • William_Brown

        There is a deal of assumption by some, that this scandal implicates only the Conservatives. I doubt whether this is the case, since historically there have been a plethora of perverts scattered across all party lines and levels of responsibility.

  • Peter Stroud

    Waste no more time: get on with the Inquiry. There has been too many cover ups – if guilty, even the great and good need to be exposed, and prosecuted. However, due process is essential. There must be no unfounded whispering campaign. The whole matter has gone on too long.

    • Mynydd

      Cover-up what cover-up, You don’t think for one minute that this Conservative government will allow an investigation into a possible cover-up by Mrs Thatcher’s and her government.

      • Andy

        As Geoffrey Dickens died in 1995 and Labour came to power in 1997 it is more than likely that the files and the cover-up was orchestrated by Labour. And after all the Home Office moved buildings in 2005 (or 2003). Lets not mention P.I.E.(step forward Harriet Harperson, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt amongst others). Lets not mention the wide spread abuse in homes run by Islington Council (step forward Margaret Hodge, leader 1982-1992).

        • telemachus

          The decisions were 1992
          Patrick Mayhew

  • Amir

    Read this article about the child abuse cover up

    http://www.casualpolitics.co.uk/2014/07/what-child-abuse-cover-up-reveals/

    • Gwangi

      Yep, but it’s a shame no-one is asking questions about the massive child abuse that goes on in ethnic communities – including at mosques and churches. That makes any truth behind these rumours pale in comparison.

      • GraveDave

        I posted a link on one blog yesterday . I cant remember the author, Alex someone —– Why is Paedophilia Such a Problem in Britain.
        Seems it’s quite rife in African American communities too.

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