12 Days Remaining

Friday 4th
posted by Morning Star in Features

As the report on paedophile MPs is mysteriously delayed until after the 2020 election, STEVEN WALKER says it won’t be the victims who benefit

JUSTICE Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand lawyer appointed to head the inquiry into historic child sexual abuse, has been pressed by the Establishment to extend and delay the completion of her work.

After her appointment in February 2015 she said that the inquiry would report in 2018. Now in a little-noticed announcement she has moved the deadline beyond the date of the next general election, in 2020. This will allow politicians linked to the Westminster paedophile scandal to escape scrutiny before the public has a chance to vote. Survivors will not receive the justice they deserve and another Establishment cover-up will have been skillfully executed.

The inquiry has been mired in controversy from the start, with Home Secretary Theresa May criticised for presiding over a shambles and helping to engineer a cover-up of the way the Establishment protected paedophile MPs and peers from criminal prosecution in the past.

The first person appointed to lead the inquiry was Baroness Butler-Sloss, who stood down in July 2014 amid questions over the role played by her late brother, Lord Havers.

Havers was the attorney general under the Thatcher government, when many allegations of child sexual abuse were made. In 1981 Havers was accused by campaigning MP Geoffrey Dickens of a cover-up when he refused to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman, a diplomat, former MI6 deputy director and member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a lobbying organisation for child abusers.

Her replacement, Dame Fiona Woolf, was forced to resign in October 2014 due to her Establishment links in relation to former home secretary Leon Brittan, who failed to act on prima facie evidence of a Westminster paedophile ring identified in a document that has since gone missing from Home Office archives.

Operation Fairbank was established in 2012  by the Metropolitan Police to investigate claims that MPs had visited the Elm Guest House in south-west London during the late 1970s, where vulnerable young children had been lured, plied with alcohol and drugs and then sexually abused. Prominent people who attended paedophile parties at there are reported to have included MP Cyril Smith and the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt. Other visitors included Hayman, a Sinn Fein politician, a Labour MP and several Conservative politicians such as Rhodes Boyson, Thatcher’s private secretary Peter Morrison and Keith Joseph.

A full criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, was launched in February 2013 as a result of evidence arising from Operation Fairbank.

The allegations of an Establishment paedophile ring involving MPs, civil servants and MI5 are currently part of a complex ongoing multi-agency investigation. This is running separately to the Goddard inquiry and could compromise witnesses called to testify to both.

The inquiry itself is being conducted under the Inquiries Act 2005, designed to provide a framework under which future inquiries, set up by ministers into events that have caused or have potential to cause public concern, can operate effectively in reasonable time and at a reasonable cost.

MPs on the joint committee on human rights have voiced concerns, as has the Law Society of England and Wales, due to the influence of the executive over the judiciary permitted within the Act. Amnesty International has asked members of the British judiciary not to serve on any inquiry held under the Act, as they contend that “any inquiry would be controlled by the executive, which is empowered to block public scrutiny of state actions.” Canadian Judge Peter Cory is on record as stating that the Act would make any meaningful inquiry impossible because the Home Secretary retains the right to thwart such an inquiry at every step. “In fact, I cannot contemplate any self-respecting Canadian judge accepting an appointment to an inquiry constituted under the new proposed Act,” he said.

While the 2005 Act was being discussed in the House of Commons, United States Republican Representative Chris Smith said: “The Bill  should be named the Public Inquiries Cover-up Bill.”

The Act eventually repealed the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, which had allowed Parliament to vote on a resolution establishing a tribunal that had “all such powers, rights, and privileges as are vested in the High Court” and instead placed the power solely under the control of a minister.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation of 14 separate referrals of alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s has similarly been compromised. Theresa May told the House of Commons that police officers would not be protected from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act in the course of giving evidence to the IPCC, thus effectively silencing any damning testimony.

Similarly, in 2014 the Wanless Report examined how the Home Office dealt with files alleging child sexual abuse by MPs from 1979-99. His report concluded that it was impossible to say whether files were removed or destroyed to cover up abuse, and found nothing to support such a claim.

That report endorsed the findings of an initial review, published in 2013, regarding the dossier presented to Brittan by Dickens in 1983. That review by the Home Office’s top civil servant, Mark Sedwill, found that copies of Mr Dickens’s material had “not been retained.” In other words, it was deliberately destroyed or removed from the Home Office archive.

Sedwill is one of the civil servants who helped put together the infamous “dodgy dossier” that enabled disgraced former prime minister Tony Blair to falsely claim that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq and thus served as a pretext for what the UN called an illegal invasion of a sovereign state.

It is a sobering thought that Theresa May is tipped to become a future Tory leader and potential prime minister after the 2020 general election, when she would be at the height of her powers. Yet she has been at the centre of a catalogue of carefully choreographed moves since 2013 to systematically shut the door on any prospect of a proper, just inquiry into paedophile MPs.

Steven Walker is a Unicef Children’s Champion.