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Parliament's record of child abuse

What has happened to Cameron's promised inquiry into paedophile networks in Westminster's corridors of power, asks STEVEN WALKER

As the Tories wind down from their bread and circuses festival in Manchester, the last thing they need to be reminded of is the outstanding public inquiry into claims that a "powerful paedophile network" may have had links to a former prime minister, No 10 and Parliament.

Labour MP Tom Watson told the House of Commons in October last year there was "clear intelligence" suggesting a notorious group was connected to a former No 10 aide and suggested that a widespread cover-up had been orchestrated. Yet nothing has been done about it.

Hansard recorded last year that the police file relating to Peter Righton, who was convicted in 1992 of importing child pornography from Holland, needed to be re-examined.

"The evidence file used to convict Peter Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring."

The central allegation was that a large body of material seized in a raid on Righton's home had not been fully investigated.

Though Righton was the subject of a BBC profile, The Secret Life of a Paedophile, little has been done to follow up the leads from the case.

A specialist unit at Scotland Yard had the material which supplemented a wider investigation into organised paedophile rings at children's care homes.

?A recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme outlined the allegations that arose regarding the role of senior politicians, the security services and the Crown Prosecution Service in covering up the abuse carried out by former Liberal MP Cyril Smith over five decades.

The overlap with another famous predatory paedophile, Jimmy Savile, in terms of who knew about this abuse were laid bare.?

?Conservatives Edwina Currie, Gyles Brandreth and Rod Richards have made damning statements of how it was well known in Westminster circles that Chester MP Peter Morrison was a dangerous paedophile - and yet his career was unaffected as he rose to be deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

He was Thatcher's parliamentary private secretary in 1990 and her campaign manager that same year despite this knowledge having been around for many years.??

Tim Fortescue, Edward Heath's chief whip from 1970-73, made public on Michael Cockerell's 1995 BBC documentary called Westminster's Secret Service that there was a tried and tested method for cover-ups named the "dirt book system."

Talking about the role of the chief whip, Fortescue said: "For anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth ... a scandal involving small boys ... we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. And if, I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it's one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more."??

There is an extensive history of paedophile activity and Parliament.

For example, in June 1986 The People newspaper published claims that Tory MP Harvey Proctor had taken part in spanking and cane beating of teenage male prostitutes in his London flat.

The recent McAlpine fiasco and BBC Newsnight's ineptitude ensured that any allegations against others could be dismissed as malicious, plain wrong or someone out to make money from compensation.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Police's Operations Fernbridge and Fairbank are among the latest ongoing investigations into paedophile activity and it is expected that their findings are going to be sensational.

The following year Proctor was charged with gross indecency. At his trial in May 1987 Proctor pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £1,450.

More recently, former Tory Party general election candidate Michael Powell was convicted and jailed for three years for downloading hardcore child porn.

The mainstream media, political spin doctors and crafty public relations outfits have a long history of colluding with cover-ups that threaten the reputation of the Establishment and supposedly sacred institutions like Parliament.

But the drip-feed of facts over the past 20 years amounts to an extraordinary, damning indictment against those who conspire to abuse the most vulnerable citizens in society, while posturing at their party conferences about the sanctity of the family and children's welfare.


Steven Walker is a former child protection social worker.


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