Politics

MPs turned a ‘blind eye’ to child abuse for decades – but no evidence of Westminster paedophile ring, report finds


POLITICAL leaders from Margaret Thatcher downwards turned a blind eye to and covered up child abuse in Westminster for decades, a bombshell report has found.

The inquiry into the abuse at the heart of government reveals that for decades a culture reigned where “its reputation far higher than the fate of the children involved.”

 Sir Cyril Smith MP was known to have a sexual interest in children

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Sir Cyril Smith MP was known to have a sexual interest in childrenCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

More than 4,500 people came forward to share accounts of abuse in the seats of power – with the inquiry finding a “deference” towards high profile politicians from the Whips’ office, police and prosecutors.

It reveals Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was aware of rumours surrounding former Chester MP Peter Morrison who molested a 15 year old boy on a train to Crewe – but the Conservatives made “efforts to suppress the rumours” rather than investigate them.

Instead of passing the allegations to police, Morrison was made PPS to Mrs Thatcher in 1990, and knighted a year later.

Cops also had enough evidence to prosecute Cyril Smith in the 1970s but it was thwarted by senior officers who thought it was “too political.”

Smith, MP for Rochdale for 20 years until 1992, never faced criminal action despite 144 complaints from alleged victims.

Lord Steel, leader of the Liberal Party at the time admitted to the inquiry he “assumed” Smith had committed the offences but took no action as they pre-dated Smith’s time in office.

Victor Montagu, former Tory MP for South Dorset, was also let off with a caution for abuse.

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The report also found that as recently at 2017 the Green Party allowed to appoint a man who was alleged to be a child abuser as an election agent – he was later convicted.

However the report found “no evidence of an organised paedophile network at the heart of government.”

It concluded that the Tory party, Plaid Cymru, UKIP and the Cooperative Party still do not have proper safeguarding measures in place.

The report reveals it was well known that posh cars would cruise the streets of Piccadilly looking boys dubbed “street rats” by cops in the 1960s.
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Joe Simpson said he was aware of “several ‘cottages’ in Westminster which we don’t investigate” because “they are frequented by celebrities and MPs” at a meeting with Home Office officials in 1966.

And the inquiry recommends that the Cabinet Office re-examine the policy on posthumous forfeiture so that individuals honoured and later found to be abusers after they died – like Sir Jimmy Savile – have their titles stripped.

This should be done to “consider the perspectives of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.”

Chair of the Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay said: “It is clear to see that Westminster institutions have repeatedly failed to deal with allegations of child sexual abuse, from turning a blind eye to actively shielding abusers.

“A consistent pattern emerged of failures to put the welfare of children above political status although we found no evidence of an organised network of paedofiles within government.

“We hope this report and its recommendations will lead political institutions to prioritise the needs and safety of vulnerable children.”

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