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Politics

Published on July 8th, 2014 | by Chris Cooper-Davies
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Westminster child sex abuse scandal could destroy the current political status quo

When the expenses scandal hit Westminster in 2009 it was dubbed the greatest British political scandal of all time. Hundreds of MPs and peers were shamed for their wrongful exploits while a further six were jailed for outright fraud. Since then parliament has been subjected to a steady flow of unwanted media attention. In March this year, MP Mark Menzies resigned from his position as a ministerial aid to Alan Duncan amidst allegations he was fraternising with a Brazilian rent boy and using him to source class-B drugs. And only last week David Cameron was forced to apologise for allowing Andy Coulson- the News of the World’s hacking fiend and convicted criminal- into the inner echelons of government. How his clandestine activities slipped through number ten’s intrusive vetting processes will never be known.

But all these dramas of old pale in the face of a new scandal set to turn Westminster on its head in the coming months. At the moment the details are shrouded in uncertainty, but the substance is clear: evidence exists which links several current and former politicians from all the main political parties to a Westminster paedophile ring.

Rumours of Westminster child abuse have been extant for several decades but resurfaced in 2012 when Labour MP Tom Watson declared during Prime Ministers questions the existence of ‘a powerful political paedophile ring’. Watson was acting on a dossier produced by Peter McKelvie, a retired child protection team manager, who had collected evidence from witnesses and victims over a 20 year period.

Shortly after Watson’s announcement, a police enquiry into the matter at large- dubbed operation Fernbrige- began, focusing specifically on allegations of abuse taking place at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south London. Despite the secretive nature of the police investigation, The Telegraph has reported that a list of names is known to exist which implements more than ten politicians as involved with a Westminster paedophile ring. Some, such as Cyril Smith, Liberal MP for Rochdale, are dead; others are apparently still sitting in the House.

And as if the existence of the allegations alone are not bad enough, new findings are leading some, such as Tory MP Tim Loughton, to accuse the Home Office of covering them up. Such accusations stem from a missing dossier of 1983 which was given to the then Home Secretary Lord Brittan (pictured) by the late Tory MP Geoff Dickens. It contained Dicken’s ‘explosive’ evidence that several senior politicians were involved in child sex abuse. The dossier, which Brittan claims he handed to his officials and then to the ‘appropriate authorities’ (it is of note that he initially denied knowledge of its existence), has disappeared. And the Home Office, after carrying out a review of hundreds of thousands of files last year, has now admitted that 114 ‘potentially relevant files’ have been either lost or destroyed.

The flames of a government cover up are fanned further by Geoff Dicken’s son’s recollections of his family home being ransacked several times shortly after his father handed the dossier to Lord Brittan; recent reports by the Independent on Sunday that Lord Brittan himself may have been investigated by the police for a rape which took place in the 1960s; and Lord Tebbit’s remark that he wouldn’t have been surprised if something sinister did take place because in the 80’s there was an ‘almost unconscious’ tendency to protect the ‘system’. Undeniably, something shady has gone on. At present it is only the extent of the shadiness which is unclear. It is possible, for instance, that the evidence supplied by Dickens was deemed unsubstantial and the dossier subsequently destroyed to avoid an unwanted and untrue scandal. On the other hand, it is also possible the evidence was substantial and subsequently destroyed to avoid an unwanted, but potentially true, scandal.

Yesterday, Theresa May ordered a comprehensive review into these historic child sex abuse allegations. The word ‘historic’ has been emphasised to no end by MPs and minsters discussing the issue. All of them, even those most keen to expose any wrong doing of the past such as Labour’s Simon Danczuk, want to disassociate the current political system as much as possible from the allegations.

But what if The Telegraph’s claims that some perpetrators are still sitting in the House turn out to be true? How historic would the allegations be then? And how historic can one really consider the 80’s anyway?

MPs and Peers are meant to stand up for the best interests of the British public at a national level. The electorate, through the ballet box, instils their trust in them. It was one thing having that trust broken in 2009 when it became evident numerous individuals in positions of power had used tax payer’s money to fund lavish life styles. It was another when we learned some of these individuals, while doing this, had actually broken the law. But it will be another story entirely if we learn that some of them have broken the law in one of the most abhorrent ways possible and abused the most vulnerable in our society, no matter how long ago the events occurred.

If that turns out to be the case, and if evidence surfaces to suggest some kind of government cover-up, the current system will be pushed to its limits. Yes, it is unlikely any senior politicians at present have anything to do with the allegations or possible cover-up. But the public, no doubt, will declare guilt by association. The 80’s were not that long ago and it’s not OK to plead ignorance when there are potentially paedophiles in Westminster. All that can be said is god help them all, not a single party-all of them- if this review into historic child sex abuse unearths anything even remotely unhistorical. Nigel Farage is probably the only person with anything to gain.

 

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About the Author

MA history student at SOAS



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