Musicological Observations 1: Björn Heile, Lauren Redhead and myself on the relationship between scholarship and new musicPosted: September 18, 2014
I am continually fascinated by the possibilities available to musical scholarship and by interactions between plural musicological methods, but equally disappointed by how few such possibilities are regularly taken up. I hope to blog at more length in the future on some of the dangers inherent within various musicological sub-disciplines – the so-called ‘new musicology’, ‘soft’ ethnomusicology, and some aspects of popular and film music studies in which the music becomes the least important area of study – but on this occasion I just want to offer a few quotations relating to the relationship of scholarship on new music to the practical operation of that field, hopefully as a starting point for discussion here and elsewhere.
The first is by Björn Heile, Reader in Music at the University of Glasgow and best-known for his work on the music of Mauricio Kagel. This is the opening of a key-note lecture (reproduced with permission) entitled ‘‘Un pezzo … di una grandissima serietà e con una grandissima emozione … e con elementi totalmente bruti’: aesthetic and socio-political considerations and the failure of their integration in Mauricio Kagel’s work post-1968′, given at the conference ‘Faire “de la musique absolue avec la scène”: Mauricio Kagel’, University of Nice, 24-25 April 2014 (held on 25 April).
Scholarship on new music typically suffers from its lack of critical perspective. PhD theses are written, articles and books published and whole careers made on the basis of work that does little more than trace the stated intentions of the composer in question in their work. The process could be described as bargain basement hermeneutics: study the composer’s so-called influences, his or her own pronouncements and look at the work with these things in mind – something will no doubt be found. As a result, the scholar becomes the composer’s spokesperson, dutifully explaining how the master would want their work to be understood – which, evidently, is the only way of correctly interpreting it. There are many reasons for the predominance of this approach. New music scholars are often dependent on the goodwill of their subjects: one critical remark and you may find yourself frozen out from access to the person, their work and other materials, and from speaking and writing engagements – there are a number of (in)famous examples. Furthermore, the new music business is a tight network in which composers, musicians, institutions, broadcasters, publishers, record companies, journalists and scholars cooperate in often murky ways. There is a fine line between scholarship and PR, and some so-called journals are more akin to trade magazines. Finally, the tried-and-tested method delivers results with ease: it’s relatively simple to fill any space needed with material that will appear informative and well-founded; no-one is likely to complain.
It would be unfair to pick out individual examples for what is a widespread problem. That said, Charles Wilson has analysed the literature on Ligeti with respect to what he calls Ligeti’s ‘rhetoric of autonomy’, by means of which the composer sought to overstate his artistic independence, as a way of positioning himself in the compositional marketplace. As Wilson (2004, 6) argues, ‘composers’ self-representations often serve a function that is as much performative as constative. They are “position takings”, to use Bourdieu’s expression, and their assimilation by scholars as straightforward claims to truth often bespeaks a fundamental category mistake.’ He quotes numerous cases in which Ligeti’s exegetes dutifully adopted the composer’s own terms, criteria and outlook, so that their commentaries are little more than summaries of the composer’s own pronouncements. Ligeti’s is hardly a special case: Messiaen’s Catholicism, Nono’s Marxism, Cage’s Zen-Buddhism, Cardew’s Maoism, Lachenmann’s ‘refusal of habit’ – time and again one finds scholars piously repeating or paraphrasing lofty assertions, instead of subjecting them to rigorous critical scrutiny. And – you probably saw this coming – I am not at all sure whether the literature on Kagel represents an exception to the rule. Nor is it my intention to accuse you while exonerating myself. Although I have long been aware of the problem and have sought to avoid it, I am not sure that I have always succeeded. I have to confess that while I was writing The Music of Mauricio Kagel the thought that Kagel would read the book crossed my mind more than once, and I had already found out how touchy he could be. I’d like to say that I remained steadfast, but I could be deluding myself.
Back in 2011, composer and musicologist Lauren Redhead, Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, published an article on her blog following a symposium at the Institute of Musical Research on the music of Brian Ferneyhough, at which the composer was present. This presents a situation self-evidently not an issue for historical musicologists dealing with dead musicians. Whilst unable to hear the academic papers, Redhead made the following important observation (which, having seen some of the papers and other work by the participants, I believe is backed up by the results):
The Ferneyhough day was the latest in a line of academic events which I notice are celebrating authors who are still alive. My initial problem with these events is that it seems healthy debate, critique, and innovative perspectives are hardly likely to be encouraged when the composer or thinker is involved, acting as an authority and essentially vetting the speakers before they are let loose on the audience.
As one who wears two hats, both as performer and musicologist, it is rare for these issues to be far from my own mind. My own earlier writing on the music of Michael Finnissy, as collected in the volume Uncommon Ground, I now consider hagiographic and of little other than documentary value; hopefully in my more recent monograph on Finnissy’s The History of Photography in Sound a greater degree of critical distance has been established, but (as Heile found with Kagel) it is hard to escape the inevitable thoughts of what the subject themselves will make of it, especially in the context of a starkly hierarchical new music world in which composers’ decrees and intentions are frequently assigned an ontological priority. Recently, I have been undertaking my own comparative examination of scholarly and other writing on the music of Ferneyhough (to be published on the Search online music magazine; also a review-article on a new Ferneyhough monograph will appear in Music and Letters), and have found hagiography, unreflected employment of both intentional and poeitic fallacies, and simple hero worship to be rife, in the manner diagnosed by Redhead above. I blogged about this subject a little over a year ago, arriving at what I believe were similar conclusions to Heile, and wanted to offer a few quotes from this here alongside the others:
When considering historical composers, there are many obvious ways in which listeners may also approach the music in question in ways very different from those of the composers (or others from the time). One does not have to be a strict Lutheran to appreciate Bach, nor necessarily accept some of the theological motivations proffered for some of the musical decisions. An atheist would believe these were a delusion or at least a fiction, and might consider them as the expression of some wider human issues. A similar situation can apply to the tropes of heroism which inform some of Beethoven’s mid-period work (and a good deal of subsequent reception), or more ominously the anti-semitic views expressed by Wagner in his 1850 article ‘Das Judenthum in der Musik’; much work has been done considering the question of the extent to which these views, and other common anti-semitic views of the time, might have informed some of the characterisations in his music-dramas, and been understood as such by audiences of the time. If one concludes that this might indeed have been the case, this does not require automatic rejection of the work, but can facilitate an engagement with the music-dramas not simply as art works existing outside of time and place, but ones which reflect a particular set of ideologies of the time, held by the composer, which a reasonable person would today reject without necessarily rejecting all cultural work which sprang up in a context where they were indeed acceptable. Similar positions are possible with respect to representations of women, of characters from outside of the Western world, in musical works involving theatre or text; on a deeper level it is also possible to consider the ways in which abstract instrumental music might itself have grown out of texted/stage work and inherited some of the oppositions between musical materials (especially as had become codified to represent masculine and feminine characters) which were intrinsic to the latter.
In all of these cases, the approach of the writer or listener amounts to something different from simply reiterating the composer’s intentions and wishes, or at least applying a different set of valorising standards to them. When applied with sufficient care for proper and balanced investigation of factual evidence (with proper referencing), rigour and transparency of argument, and elegance of presentation, not to mention some commitment to producing an argument which does more than simply reiterate that of numerous previous writers, this constitutes one variety of critical musicology. Not all or even most such work need arrive at negative conclusions, and some might affirm existing perceptions, but it does so as a result of serious consideration of alternative possibilities, rather than simply declaring them off-limits from the outset.
But the situation is more contested in the field of contemporary classical music. This is itself a field in which many practitioners feel themselves to be marginalised, with very little music of an atonal nature having won any degree of widespread public acceptance (even to the extent of that of composers such as Stravinsky, Britten or Shostakovich). Yet there are musicological critiques of some of this body of work emerging from people other than conservative classical music listeners. A body of work by various scholars associated with the ‘new musicology’ has contested the claims for primacy of various avant-garde music, drawing attention to what is argued to be its elitism, individualism (maintaining a nineteenth-century focus upon the ‘great composer’), abstraction and consequent social disengagement, white male middle-class bias, and artificial institutionalisation (including institutionalisation in higher education) despite its being a small minority interest. This latter point is extremely charged considering that some such musicologists inhabit university departments which they will share with some of the practitioners said to benefit from such institutional privilege.
I would welcome any comments and reflections on the thoughts by the three authors here. Is this situation inevitable? Are there any things which can be done to combat it (for example, lesser tolerance within scholarly communities towards hagiographic or deferential so-called scholarship)? Is this situation likely to be exacerbated by a scholarly environment, like that in the UK, which lends primacy to that work which has an ‘impact’ outside of an academic environment, and does achieving such impact require playing along with the politics of (and fragile egos within) a professional new music world in which critical scholarly perspective is far from being a top priority? Is the only route to one’s work gaining a wider audience and impact by serving a system of institutionalised prestige, or might impact be achievable in other environments as well? How can those involved in both scholarship and practitioners reconcile their two worlds, if indeed they can?
Today a vigil was held at Rocks Lane, Barnes, at the site of the former Elm Guest House, a fundamental location for the VIP paedophile ring, where boys are believed to have been trafficked from nearby children’s homes to service the VIP guests, and which is at the centre of Operation Fernbridge. A series of videos were made of speeches from the event (which I was unfortunately unable to attend). Amongst those present were Peter McKelvie, who led the investigation in 1992 into Peter Righton, Peter Saunders, founder of NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood), and Dr Liz Davies, Reader in Social Work at London Metropolitan University and the social worker who in 1992 blew the whistle on abuse at care homes run by Islington Council.
The videos, which were taken by someone from the Occupy News Network, can be accessed here (see the range at the bottom of the page): http://bambuser.com/v/4928350
The following attempts to be a comprehensive list of serious sources on Elm Guest House. There was a flurry of stories in August 1982 in various UK national newspapers (all linked to on the first Spotlight link given below), then very little, save for a range of pieces in Capital Gay magazine (see below), then a range of stories in 1990 at the time of the death of Carol Kasir. Then the story was taken up again following Tom Watson’s question to the Prime Minister in October 2012, and there has been a renewal of attention since Simon Danczuk’s appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committe on July 1st, 2014. On the whole I would recommend first and foremost reading the articles in the mainstream media, then those on blogs and Exaro (whose accuracy some have disputed), though many of the Spotlight articles simply feature scans of newspaper articles.
Elm Guest House: The History of a Cover-up (updated) (essential reading – includes all newspaper reports from the period in August 1982 when Elm Guest House was in the news, and also some reports from 1990, following Carol Kasir’s death from an overdose, which include reports that a top Tory was named during the inquest)
How the British Establishment covered up a paedophile network
Leon, Maggie, Elm Guest House, and the CGHE
Was the Scotland Yard investigation into missing boys stopped?
In 1981 police were already investigating London ‘child pornography gang’ linked to trafficking and murder
UK connections with international paedophile network Spartacus
The Spartacus paedophile network was exposed by the Sunday People in February 1983
Keith Vaz and the Mystery of Barnes Common
CPS file on Elm Guest House suspects was destroyed in 2007
Scallywag magazine on a “Westminster paedophile ring”
From The Needle Blog:
Operation Fairbank: It’s Not Just Plebs And Slebs Who Should Be Worried (20/12/12)
Regina v Paul Rinehart AKA Michael Stuart Rowe (15/1/13)
Transcript Of The RAWRO Letter (15/1/13)
The Mysterious Death Of Andrew Keir (19/1/13)
Elm Guest House: Mind Map (22/1/13)
The Other Elm Guest House Mind Map (23/1/13)
The Elm Guest House ‘Family Tree’ (26/1/13)
‘Dave’ Speaks Out (4/2/13)
Where Is The File Mr Brittan ? (10/2/13)
Why Would They Not Show Their Support ? (12/2/13)
What Do You Know Keith Vaz ? (13/2/13)
The Ex-Tory Minister And The Press (18/2/13)
Father Tony McSweeney (26/2/13)
Grafton Lodge Children’s Home, Grafton Close, Hanworth (3/3/13)
MSM Connect Missing Children With Elm Guest House (4/3/13)
Uplands, Birmingham (8/3/13)
Rodney Road Children’s Home (12/3/13)
MWT: “100% Faith” In Police Inquiry (13/3/13)
Teddington Park Children’s Home (14/3/13)
Madlands’ Savile Article (4/4/13)
Conservative Homosexual Group (CHE) Was Always A Front For Paedophilia (5/4/13)
Spartacus Invitation To Elm Guest House (8/4/13)
Would The Real Louis Minster Please Stand Up? (1/5/13)
‘The Evil Men Behind Child Sex Empire’ (7/5/13)
From The NAYPIC Log: Elm Guest House (16/5/13)
CPS Considering ‘Elm Guest House Child Abuse’ Charges (17/5/13)
Four Oaks Children’s Home (25/3/13)
Loxley Hall, Uttoxeter Road (25/3/13)
Fernbridge: A Critical Look At The ‘Mary Moss Docs’ (29/5/13)
Ralph Morris: Castle Hill Report (30/5/13)
The Elm Guest House Money Men (6/6/13)
Elm Guest House Charge Sheet (13/6/13)
RAWRO INVESTMENTS (7/7/13)
Op Fernbridge: Over 300 Lines Of Inquiry (9/7/13)
Op Fernbridge: Haroon ‘Harry’ Kasir Arrested (9/7/13)
Looking At Today’s Elm Guest House Story (21/7/13)
Mary Moss Files (23/7/13)
Kincora, a small footnote to history (11/8/13)
Elm Guest House – “Mary Moss” files (23/8/13)
What Is ‘Evidence’ ? (23/8/13)
Elm Guest House, Mary Moss Files – Clarification (24/8/13)
“I know for a fact” (4/9/13)
Paedophile MP Cyril Smith: Questions for Jenny Tonge and Tim Razzall (14/9/13)
Spot The Cabinet Minister (25/9/13)
The ‘Fake’ Elm Guest House List (26/9/13)
Confirmation Of Independent Story (27/9/13)
Operation Fairbank: An Overview (4/10/13)
Operation Fairbank/Fernbridge Telephone Number (21/10/13)
Operation Fernbridge: Carole Kasir, A Liar ? (27/11/13)
Cat Among the Pigeons (29/11/13)
Op Fernbridge: CPS Drop Key Charges Against Stingemore And McSweeney (2/12/13)
Op Fernbridge: Harry Kasir Released From Police Bail (4/12/13)
Comments On Exaro Story (10/12/13)
Email From Colin Peters (2/12/14)
Articles from Capital Gay, as collected on Spotlight
‘£1000 boost for ‘brothel’ charge hoteliers’, Capital Gay, July 2nd, 1982
‘The Elm Guest House’, Capital Gay, July 23rd, 1982
News of the World chase Elm defendants, Capital Gay, July 23rd, 1982
‘Attorney General to probe London brothel reports’, Capital Gay, August 13th, 1982
‘Police drop the worst Elm charges’, Capital Gay, October 1st, 1982
Elm defendants speak out, Capital Gay, November 12th, 1982
‘Elm Guest House couple sent to Old Bailey’, Capital Gay, December 3rd, 1982
‘Elm Guest House case at Old Bailey next week’, Capital Gay, April 15th, 1983
‘Police slash their Elm Guest House evidence’, Capital Gay, April 22nd, 1983
‘Elm Guest House: verdict expected’, Capital Gay, April 29th, 1983
‘Elm Guest House couple walk free’, Capital Gay, May 6th, 1983
‘Police silent over Spartacus chief’, Capital Gay, February 17th, 1984
More recent articles
Gordon Rayner, ‘Allegation of paedophile ring of MPs investigated’, Daily Telegraph, December 15th, 2012 (see bottom of this post)
David Pallister and David Hencke, ‘Police investigate Richmond council over ‘VIP paedophile ring': Met’s Operation Fernbridge finds victims’ harrowing evidence in forgotten council files’, Exaro, January 26th, 2013
David Pallister and Nick Dorman, ‘VIP case cops raid Dirty Harry home’, Sunday People, January 27th, 2013 (see bottom of this post)
‘Top officials linked to ’80s child sex ring’, Morning Star, January 27th, 2013 (see bottom of this post)
Stephen Wright and Richard Pendlebury, ‘Timebomb at Elm Guest House: Pop stars, a bishop and a top politician appear on a list seized by police investigating child abuse at the London hotel in the 1980s’, Daily Mail, February 2nd, 2013
Arthur Martin, ‘They forced me to wear a fairy costume, claims Elm Guest House Victim’, Daily Mail, February 4th, 2013 (see bottom of this post)
Nick Fielding, David Pallister, Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke, ‘Two managers of children’s home named in VIP paedo probe: Records at Richmond council reveal troubled history of Grafton Close children’s home’, Exaro, February 4th, 2013
Tom Morgan and Jonathan Reilly, ‘Delia’s Norwich chaplain held over VIP paedo ring’, The Sun, February 7th, 2013 (see below)
Mark Conrad and Alison Winward, ‘Richmond’s ex-head of social services ‘unaware’ of ‘paedo ring': Louis Minster ‘never heard’ of allegations despite high-profile police raid in borough’, Exaro, February 9th, 2013
Mark Conrad and Nick Fielding, ‘Police examine sacking of Richmond’s head of social services: Louis Minster: councillors met behind closed doors in ‘political’ decision to dismiss me’, Exaro, February 11th, 2013
David Hencke, Mark Conrad, Nick Fielding and David Pallister, ‘Councillors give contrasting reasons for Louis Minster’s sacking: Liberal Democrats face scrutiny over move to fire Richmond’s head of social services’, Exaro, February 11th, 2013
Fiona O’Cleirigh and Mark Watts, ‘Met detectives told of Jimmy Savile’s link to Elm Guest House: Haroon Kasir boasted of friendship with Jimmy Savile, and ‘was odd after star’s death’, Exaro, February 16th, 2013
Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke, ‘Co-manager of guest house in police probe plans to leave UK: Haroon Kasir makes hurried preparations to raise £60K and applies for visa to live in US’, Exaro, February 16th, 2013
Jessia Beckett, ‘Hunt is launched for late MP’s child sex abuse dossier’, Manchester Evening News, March 9th, 2013
Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Simon Danczuk asks DPP to review claim over Elm Guest House: MP accuses CPS of key error on evidence of child sex abuse from ‘Operation Fernbridge”, Exaro, July 1st, 2014
Mark Conrad, Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke, ”Operation Fernbridge’ arrests ex-manager of Elm Guest House: Police detain Haroon Kasir ‘on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children”, Exaro, July 10th, 2013
Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Priest and ex-manager of Richmond children’s home in court: Magistrates bail John Stingemore and Tony McSweeney over charges of indecent assault’, Exaro, September 4th, 2013
David Hencke and Mark Conrad, ‘Police pursue new leads in paedophile case against ex-minister: Met’s paedophile unit probes ex-Conservative cabinet minister’s Amsterdam connection’, Exaro, October 11th, 2013
Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ”Operation Fernbridge’ releases Elm co-manager without charge: Police to take no action against Harry Kasir as they continue to probe Elm Guest House’, Exaro, December 4th, 2013
Mark Conrad, Mark Watts and David Hencke, ‘Met’s paedophile unit seizes video of ex-minister at ‘sex party': Detectives ‘talk to’ former cabinet minister about party where men sexually abused boys’, Exaro, December 7th, 2013 [this story to be treated with caution]
Mark Conrad and David Hencke, ‘Detectives investigate use of ‘staging post’ for Elm Guest House: Witness tells how he was taken to ‘holding house’ before brothel for ‘VIP paedophiles”, Exaro, February 3rd, 2014
‘Murky link to VIP paedos’, Sunday People, March 30th, 2014 (see below)
Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright, ‘Was this woman murdered to cover up Cyril Smith’s sex ring? After a week of devastating revelations, this may be the most devastating question yet’, Daily Mail, April 19th, 2014
Paul Cahalan and Ian Gallagher, ‘I had underage sex with police officers at guest house used by ‘VIP paedophile ring': Astonishing allegations by masseur who worked as a 16-year-old at notorious party venue ‘used by politicians, judges and pop stars”, Daily Mail, April 20th, 2014 (see below)
Peter Dominiczak, ‘Government urged to reassure public about child sex claims’, The Daily Telegraph, May 5th, 2014 (see below)
Tom McTague, ‘Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan urged to step forward and share ‘his thoughts’ on child sex abuse dossier sent to Whitehall in 1980s’, Daily Mail, July 1st, 2014
‘Brittan file action ‘appropriate”, York Post, July 1st, 2014
Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright, ‘Leon Brittan’s faulty memory and a ticking timebomb that could shake Westminster: Tory peer faces questions over 1980s files complied by MP Geoffrey Dickens on Westminster paedophile ring’, Daily Mail, July 2nd, 2014
Ross Kaniuk, ”Kid Porn’, Claim’, Daily Star, July 5th, 2014 (see below)
Tim Shipman, James Gillespie and David Leppard, ‘Police quiz Brittan over rape claim; Files missing in Home Office ‘cover-up”, The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 (see below)
Tim Shipman, ‘Home Office loses 114 sex abuse files’, The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 (see below)
David Harrison and Tim Shipman, ”THIS WILL BLOW IT APART’ ‘THIS WILL BLOW IT APART'; An MP who spent years investigating child abuse identified leading public figures in a secret dossier. Now his son wants them named and shamed’, The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 (see below)
Simon Danczuk, ‘Call for a public inquiry into historic child abuse: Forget the expenses scandal. If MPs have harboured paedophiles, the damage to British democracy will be fatal says MP’, Mail on Sunday, July 6th, 2014
Louise Mensch, ‘Child abuse isn’t party political… covering it up is’, The Sun on Sunday, July 6th, 2014 (see below)
Tom Whitehead, ‘Decades of child abuse ‘covered up’ by Whitehall; Missing evidence, a ‘protected’ Establishment, and VIP paedophiles who felt ‘untouchable’, The Telegraph, July 7th, 2014 (see below)
Stephen Wright, Sam Marsden, Martin Robinson and Amanda Williams, ‘Leon Brittan denies allegations he raped woman at London flat after blind date in 1967 and says claims are ‘wholly unfounded”, Daily Mail, July 7th, 2014
Emine Sinmaz, ‘Child in alleged Westminster paedophile ring traced to U.S: Man now in his 40s said his abuser worked in ‘the big house’ after he was rescued more than 30 years ago’, Daily Mail, July 7th, 2014
Fiona Hamilton, ‘Rape claim is unfounded, says Brittan’, The Times, July 8th, 2014 (see below)
Stephen Wright and Daniel Bates, ‘Victim called himself Daddy’s Little Princess’, Daily Mail, July 8th, 2014 (see below)
Ed Riley, ‘Major public figures involved in YEARS of child abuse! Claims whistleblower’, Daily Star, July 9th, 2014 (see below)
James Gillespie, Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Marie Woolf, ‘Police ‘superlist’ of 21 child abusers; Thirteen forces are now working together in a huge investigation as hundreds more victims accuse officials of a cover-up’, The Sunday Times, July 13th, 2014
Lynn Davidson, ‘I told Mrs T police were probing top Tory’s sex parties with young boys’, The Sun, July 27th, 2014 (see below)
Emma Cowing and Graham Grant, ‘I was raped aged 4 by top aide to Thatcher: Woman claims she was abused by senior Conservative MP who visited notorious guest house with paedophile Cyril Smith’, Daily Mail, August 14th, 2014
Auslan Cramb, ‘I was victim of paedophile ring says woman ‘abused’ by Tory MP’, The Daily Telegraph, August 15th, 2014 (see below)
Jeremy Watson, ‘Minister raped me, says QC’s daughter’, The Times, August 15th, 2014 (see below)
Daily Telegraph, December 15th, 2012
Gordon Rayner, ‘Allegation of paedophile ring of MPs investigated’
SCOTLAND Yard detectives are looking into claims that senior MPs were part of a paedophile ring in the 1980s and avoided prosecution because of their positions.
The officers began the probe after receiving information from Tom Watson, the Labour MP, who told Parliament in October that “a senior aide of a former prime minister” was linked to a network of child abusers.
Some of the abuse is said to have taken place at a guesthouse in Barnes, south-west London, used as lodgings by members of all three main political parties.
The inquiry, code-named Operation Fairbank, is described by the Metropolitan Police as a “scoping exercise” to assess whether there is enough evidence to mount a full-scale investigation.
Officers from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Team have spoken to several adults who claim to have been abused as children, some of whom contacted Mr Watson.
Some alleged victims have claimed that MPs were arrested as part of an earlier investigation into activities at the Elm Guest House, but that no further action was taken.
In 1982 Carole Kasir, who managed the guesthouse, was convicted of running a brothel. Before her death in 1990, she told child protection campaigners she had discovered that boys from care homes were being supplied to paedophiles staying at her establishment in the early 1980s.
Police have been told that the guesthouse was raided and arrests were made.
They are checking through their files to see if there are leads that can be followed.
One of the documents being sought by police is the register from the guesthouse, which they believe still exists.
The inquiry is separate from Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate historical allegations of child abuse involving Jimmy Savile and others.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Officers have spoken with the MP, Tom Watson, who has passed on some information which is now being looked into.”
Separately, the Yard also said it was “reviewing an historical allegation of child abuse in west London”.
Sunday People, January 27th, 2013
David Pallister and Nick Dorman, ‘VIP case cops raid dirty Harry home’
POLICE have raided the home of the former owner of the notorious Elm guest house.
Detectives believe Haroon “Harry” Kasir may hold vital clues to help them uncover a network of paedophiles with links to politics, showbiz and royalty.
Kasir, 69, was the main phone contact for the guest house in adverts placed in gay newspapers.
The Elm is alleged to have hosted sex parties where vulnerable youngsters were preyed on.
Officers swooped at Kasir’s new address to try to recover any evidence that may help identify high-profile abusers. Although Kasir was not arrested, officers are likely to want to talk to him again as they build their case.
Kasir and wife Carole ran the Elm from 1979 for about four years and were in charge when police raided it in 1982.
The Kasirs were fined £1,000 each and given suspended jail sentences after being found guilty of running a brothel.
They are believed to have sold the guest house to cover their court costs.
Carole died in 1990 after an overdose of insulin. Kasir still lives in the area and works as a driver for a charity.
When reporters in a probe by the Sunday People and Exaro investigative website approached him he said: “You might as well contact police.” Officers are close to making their first arrests.
GRAPHIC: ADVERT: Trawling for customers
QUIZZED: Former Elm owner Harry Kasir this week
Morning Star, January 27th, 2013
‘Top officials linked to ’80s child sex ring’
The Metropolitan Police launched a full-scale criminal investigation, Operation Fernbridge, into the historic claims 10 days ago but was tight-lipped on its details. But several former top Tories have since been named on the internet in relation to the case, including an ex-Cabinet member and other former government ministers, MPs, and officials of the right-wing Monday Club. The claims have been published widely on the web in around 60 documents reported to have been part of a dossier compiled by concerned care worker Mary Moss.
Among others implicated are at least one ex-Labour MP, ex-Liberal MP Cyril Smith, former Richmond councillors and officials, a number of top lawyers, police officers and one-time leader of the National Socialist Movement in Britain Colin Jordan. Images posted in recent days and purported to come from Ms Moss’s dossier feature typed and handwritten notes, names and addresses said to have been recorded by at least one care worker looking into allegations of systematic child sex abuse at the Elm Guest House in Barnes between 1979 and 1983. The south London guesthouse is said to have been used to abuse young boys from the age of nine who were transported from care homes in Richmond and elsewhere to the premises. Police visited the home of Ms Moss, who now goes under another name, two weeks ago as part of Operation Fairbank, which is investigating historical claims of child sex abuse. It was launched following Labour MP Tom Watson’s October demand for an inquiry into an alleged paedophile ring which he claimed reached to the top of the British Establishment. Ms Moss has since reportedly handed 19 files to the police, many of which were said to have been hidden with neighbours to protect them against seizure and destruction by third parties. The Metropolitan Police has asked anyone with information to call its hotline on (020) 7161-0500.
Daily Mail, February 4, 2013
Arthur Martin, ‘THEY FORCED ME TO WEAR A FAIRY COSTUME, CLAIMS ELM GUEST HOUSE VICTIM’
A VICTIM of an alleged establishment paedophile ring told yesterday how he was ordered to wear a fairy costume before being abused.
The orphan was 13 when he and his 12-year-old brother were sent by staff at their children’s home to the Elm Guest House for a treat’, it is claimed.
He said boys were plied with alcohol before being told to pose for pictures wearing girls’ clothing.
The men at the guest house – said to include MPs and pop stars – would then abuse the children after pretending to play hide-and-seek, the victim said.
More than a decade after leaving care, the victim’s brother, Peter, killed himself six days after his 28th birthday.
A line in his suicide note which appeared to refer to his ordeal read: I will get those b*******.’
The former guest house in Barnes, south-west London, is now the centre of a police investigation into an alleged child sex abuse ring in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Police are examining claims that children from the Grafton Close Children’s Home were taken to the guest house to have sex with men.
During a police raid on a property in central London last month detectives seized a list of names of high profile alleged visitors to the guest house.
As reported in Saturday’s Daily Mail, the list includes a number of senior MPs, two pop stars, a high-ranking policeman, a leading tycoon, an official from the Royal household and traitorous Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.
Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP, has already been named as a regular at the guest house.
Yesterday the victim, known only as Dave, said: The people responsible have blood on their hands. I shouldn’t think my brother is the only one to have taken his life because of this. I’m speaking out now because I want justice done for me and for my brother. What went on was absolutely disgusting.
When we told the staff at the care home what was happening at Elm they used to say: “They are friends, they are good people”. No one was listening to us. It’s taken 30 years for anyone to listen.’
Dave, who now has young children of his own, told how he and his younger brother were taken into care after their widowed mother killed herself following years of depression. They were sent to Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hanworth, west London, in 1978.
Dave was 13 when minibus outings to the Elm Guest House began. We were told we were going to the “good house” for a party,’ he told a newspaper.
It wouldn’t be more than a handful of us at a time. When we got there it was a huge house.’
He said the children would be escorted through reception without signing the guest book and taken to a back room where parties were held. There would be easy-listening music playing, sort of mellow stuff, and loads to drink,’ Dave said. Sometimes there would be two adults there, other times more. They laid on tables with beer and cider. We would have races to see who could drink it first.
They used to make us dress up, make us put on outfits like fairy costumes meant for girls, then play games of hide-and-seek with the adults looking for the kids.’
When the children were found’, they were forced to take part in appalling sex abuse.
Dave added: There would be flash bulbs going off when someone was taking pictures.
I can remember all the adults had posh accents. They used to say things like “He’s cute, he’s nice”. They would pick out the pretty boys, especially the ones who looked young for their age.’
Last week Dave was visited by two officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Fernbridge, which is investigating the case.
Dave’s testimony echoes that of former child protection worker Chris Fay, who says he was shown photos of children dressed up at Kings and Queens parties’ at the guest house. One photograph is said to show a former Tory Cabinet minister in a sauna with a naked 14-year-old boy.
The Sun, February 7th, 2013
Tom Morgan and Jonathan Reilly, ‘Delia’s Norwich chaplain held over VIP paedo ring’
A CATHOLIC priest signed up as Norwich City FC’s chaplain by TV cook Delia Smith was one of two men arrested yesterday over a VIP paedophile ring.
Father Tony McSweeney, 66, who officiated at boxing champ Frank Bruno’s 1990 wedding, was quizzed along with retired children’s home chief John Stingemore, 70.
The pair, held in dawn swoops by police, are suspected of helping to send vulnerable kids to be abused at Elm Guest House, an ex-guest house in Barnes, South West London, once used as lodgings by pop stars and senior politicians.
The priest presided over Bruno’s wedding to Laura, which ended in divorce 11 years later. It is not clear how long he was linked with Norwich, where Delia, who refused to comment last night, is a director and the majority shareholder.
Cops are probing allegations dating to 1977 that kids from three council children’s homes were taken to Elm Guest House to be abused.
The Operation Fernbridge probe began last month after claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No10″.
Father McSweeney, of St George’s Church in Norwich, has worked as a part-time chaplain for the Premier League side and was personally asked by Delia to hold a Mass for Catholic fans in the club restaurant after a 2004 match.
Last night a spokesman for the Diocese of East Anglia confirmed: “Tony McSweeney, a priest of the Diocese of East Anglia, is currently assisting police with their inquiries into historical allegations of the sexual abuse of children.”
Both Stingemore, of St Leonards, East Sussex, and McSweeney were last night bailed until April.
Manchester Evening News, March 9th, 2013
Jessica Beckett, ‘Hunt is launched for late MP’s child sex abuse dossier’
AN MP’s lost dossier alleging high profile child abuse is being hunted down almost 20 years after his death.
Geoffrey Dickens handed the 50-page report about suspected paedophile rings, police misconduct and abuse of boys in a care home, to the government in 1984.
The scandal is thought to have never been investigated and the file is now missing.
But an MP is calling for it to be tracked down and reopened.
Mr Dickens, who represented Littleborough and Saddleworth from 1983 until his death in 1995 aged 63, spent years collecting his evidence but was left in fear of his life after uncovering the alleged abuse.
Coun John Hudson, leader of Oldham’s Conservative party and Saddleworth South councillor, was Mr Dickens’ agent from 1990 until his death. He said: Geoffrey was very sincere in his views and he was a diligent, hard-working member of parliament who was dedicated to his job.
At the time a lot of people thought he was a bit over the top and these kind of allegations were hard for people to believe.
He wasn’t afraid to break boundaries and speak up for people but he was often laughed at.
Things have changed a lot in the past 20 years and I hope the document is found if it was taken seriously at the time, maybe it could have changed things. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The outspoken MP was convinced he had solid proof of a network of abuse and in 1985 told the Commons he had received threatening phone calls and had been put on a ‘multi-killer’s hit list’ following his campaign. As a result he was given police protection.
At the time some MPs tried to undermine his campaign.
The dossier was submitted the same year as Mr Dickens campaigned for the outlawing of the controversial Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).
In 1983, Mr Dickens said there were big, big names people in positions of power, influence and responsibility and threatened to expose them in Parliament if no action was taken against PIE.
The MP handed a million-strong petition against the group to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan and called for him to investigate the allegations in his dossier. There are suggestions it contained links to the notorious Elm guest house in south-west London which is currently the focus of a police investigation.
Bromwich MP Tom Watson has now asked the government to produce a copy of the dossier which officials are still trying to track down.
Mr Dickens is believed to have made two copies of his report one which he gave to the government and the other which he kept. But that copy was ordered to be destroyed by his widow Norma who thought it was too sensitive to keep in the family home following his death.
She died last year.
Their son Barry, 49, said: I see the new investigations as re-establishing my father’s reputation as a serious, campaigning politician.
People like Jimmy Savile might have been rooted out three decades ago if the government had acted on my father’s dossier.
A Home Office spokesman said: We are aware of media reports from the 1980s about papers collected by Geoffrey Dickens.
Files from that time are no longer held centrally by the department, but work is under way to find out what relevant documents have been archived.
GRAPHIC: LOST FILE The late Geoffrey Dickens, who was Conservative MP for the old Littleborough and Saddleworth consituency
The People, March 30th, 2014
‘Murky link to VIP paedos’
OPERATION Fernbridge is an offshoot of Scotland Yard’s Operation Fairbank probe into claims of sexual abuse and grooming involving parties at Elm Guest House in the 70s and 80s.
Cops confirmed last year they were looking into claims a high-profile “paedophile ring of VIPs” abused boys from Grafton Close Children’s Home in Richmond, South West London who were taken to the nearby Elm. Members are believed to have included ex-spy Anthony Blunt and Liberal MP Cyril Smith. Other alleged visitors to the Elm include ex-diplomat Sir Peter Hayman.
Daily Mail, April 20th, 2014
Paul Cahalan and Ian Gallagher, ‘I had underage sex with police officers at guest house used by ‘VIP paedophile ring': Astonishing allegations by masseur who worked as a 16-year-old at notorious party venue ‘used by politicians, judges and pop stars”
Lee Towsey told new investigation he had underage sex with officers
He was working as a masseuse at London’s infamous Elm Guest House
He is the first person with first-hand knowledge of events to speak publicly
In an MoS interview, he also talks of a sexual encounter with Cyril Smith
He claims police told him to ‘keep quiet about what and who you saw’
A former child actor has told detectives he was abused by undercover male police officers at a guest house at the centre of an alleged VIP paedophile ring.
Lee Towsey made the astonishing claim to Scotland Yard’s Operation Fernbridge, which is investigating historic child sex abuse.
He says it happened while he worked at the Elm Guest House in South-West London in 1982. At the time, Mr Towsey was 16, then under the age of homosexual consent.
‘I was naive and struggling to come to terms with my sexuality,’ he said. ‘After we had sex the officers offered me money.’
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, he also tells of a sexual encounter with Cyril Smith – and how he was warned by police to ‘keep quiet about what and who you saw’.
For years, the question of what went on at the Edwardian terrace in Rocks Lane, overlooking Barnes Common, has been the subject of speculation. It was claimed politicians, judges, pop stars, a high-ranking policeman, a member of the Royal household and an MI5 officer were among the visitors. There were allegations that some VIPs preyed on boys from a nearby children’s home.
But until today no one with any first-hand knowledge of what went on has ever spoken publicly. In bombshell testimony, Mr Towsey, who worked at Rocks Lane for five months as a masseur, claims:
Guest house owner Carole Kasir paid police protection money.
Names of high-profile guests were kept in a black book, referred to by Kasir as ‘my insurance policy’.
Kasir told him a Cabinet Minister was a regular visitor.
He only knew Cyril Smith was a politician when he recognised his Spitting Image puppet years later.
Mr Towsey has also spoken to Labour MP Simon Danczuk, whose book about Smith revealed how he abused scores of boys. Last night Mr Danczuk said: ‘This is a significant part of the jigsaw in what is a complex cover-up. It really moves on the need for a more in-depth inquiry.’
Mr Towsey first visited Elm Guest House in February 1982. At the time he was pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. He later appeared in Grange Hill and Doctor Who.
‘I went out one night with a friend and we ended up going back to where he was staying in Barnes, which was on my way home,’ said Mr Towsey. ‘It was Elm Guest House. We had a couple of drinks in the bar and that’s where I first met Carole Kasir, the owner. She was kind of hippy-ish and made quite a fuss of me.’
She was less welcoming the following morning. ‘Carole’s demeanour changed. She said I had to pay for my night’s stay but I couldn’t afford it. She said: “You can work here as a masseur.” ‘
Carole told him that some of the visitors were prominent people. Mr Towsey said: ‘She kept their names in a black address book, which she referred to as her insurance policy.
‘She said one was a Cabinet Minister and there were judges and politicians. I remember Cyril Smith but I didn’t know he was a politician until I saw his puppet on Spitting Image.
‘Carole told me not to let him in the sauna, as he had got stuck in there before and they had to take the door off to get him out.’ He added: ‘Smith wanted me to strip naked and massage him. I was also forced to watch as he masturbated.’
Carole came to confide in the 16-year-old, complaining how she was under pressure to contribute to Richmond police’s ‘Christmas fund’. ‘It was protection money,’ he said.
In all, Mr Towsey slept with three people at the house. ‘They all turned out to be police,’ he said. ‘One came round in the first month. He was early 20s, good-looking, not the usual sort who went to the house.’
Mr Towsey saw the man again some months later – at Richmond police station – after he and the Kasir were arrested in a raid. Before that, Mr Towsey claims, two other undercover officers visited the house. ‘The first came in April and I had sex with him. He turned out to be one of the officers who later raided the house.
‘He came back about three weeks later and hired a room. He stayed two nights and on the second night his partner stayed too. I ended up having sex with them. Afterwards they asked how much and I told them that they were not clients and felt insulted they wanted to pay me.’
Mr Towsey continued at the house until the raid in June. He was charged with keeping a disorderly house and assisting in the management of a brothel. ‘That year was terrible,’ he said. ‘People were ringing up making death threats. I got a job in the kitchen at a bingo hall in Hounslow. My dad used to pick me up after work in his Nissan Sunny.
‘One day he didn’t turn up because its tyres had been let down. But he didn’t have time to let me know. Yet when I arrived at the usual spot, a Nissan Sunny was in the usual place and I got in the front.
‘There were three police officers inside. One of them was at the station following the raid. They told me they could pick me up at any time and told me keep my mouth shut. I never told anyone, not even my family.’
The day he was due at the Old Bailey, the charges against him were suddenly dropped. Kasir, who died in 1990, was found guilty of keeping a disorderly house but received a fine and suspended sentence.
Mr Towsey was contacted by detectives from Operation Fernbridge in 2012. ‘They said they were opening up the case again because of Savile. I have had a couple of calls since to say they are still investigating but they haven’t moved anything on. I am considering legal action against the Met. I shut the door on it once and I want to shut the door on it again and move on.’
Scotland Yard declined to comment.
MP: I may name ‘influential politician’ who visited Elm Guest House with Smith
By PAUL CAHALAN
A Labour MP says he is considering the sensational step of publicly naming an influential politician who allegedly abused boys at Elm Guest House.
Simon Danczuk, who exposed former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, said he would use Parliamentary privilege – giving him legal immunity – to unmask someone ‘much more important’. ‘I have used privilege before and I would consider using privilege to name the Parliamentarian,’ he said yesterday.
Rochdale MP Mr Danczuk published a book last week detailing how Smith, who died in 2010, abused hundreds of vulnerable boys over four decades.
Unlike Smith, the politician he is now considering naming is still sitting in Parliament.
Calling for a new in-depth inquiry into the activities at Elm House, which closed in 1982, Mr Danczuk said: ‘There is undoubtedly a cover-up.
‘This isn’t just about Smith, this is a much wider network of paedophiles, people who were abusing youngsters. We have to get to the bottom of it, not least because some of these people are still alive and should face justice.
‘Anyone who has any more information should come forward so that we can all move on from a horrible piece of recent history.’
The Daily Telegraph, May 5th, 2014
Peter Dominiczak, ‘Government urged to reassure public about child sex claims’
MINISTERS must “reassure the public” about a series of child sex investigations involving Westminster politicians, the Labour MP who exposed Cyril Smith’s behaviour said yesterday.
Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, last month published a book on Smith which reignited the scandal over the former Liberal MP, who used his power and influence to abuse hundreds of boys for more than four decades.
However, Mr Danczuk has also disclosed details of allegations about two other senior Westminster figures who have been accused of historic abuse.
Mr Danczuk said that he has now been contacted by police officers about a case involving a senior Labour politician and said that officers are taking the allegations “extremely seriously”.
He has also disclosed that during the course of his investigation into Smith, who died in 2010, he interviewed a man who was sexually abused by the MP at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, London, when he was 16. The man gave him the name of another parliamentarian who had visited the guesthouse, describing him as a “much bigger fish” and significantly “higher up the food chain”. Mr Danczuk yesterday said that with so many investigations under way, the Government needs to make a public statement about the allegations.
“We need them to reassure the public that the police are getting adequate resources to carry out these investigations,” he said.
GRAPHIC: Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, has disclosed child sex allegations involving senior Westminster politicians
Daily Star, July 5th, 2014 Saturday
Ross Kaniuk, ”KID PORN MP’ CLAIM’
A FORMER top MP was stopped coming into Britain with a haul of child porn, it is alleged.
The Conservative was found to have explicit videos of children “clearly under 12″ – but he escaped without any action being taken, it is claimed Last night the Director of Public Prosecutions was urged to investigate allegations that the politician was stopped by customs while driving back to the UK via Dover.
The videos and paperwork that were taken during the 1980s incident have subsequently gone missing The Customs officer has spoken to detectives on Operation Fernbridge, an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by people including highprofile figures at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London.
The Labour MP Tom Watson, who has led calls for a comprehensive probe into historic child abuse, said he was writing to Alison Saunders, head of the DPP, to ask her to examine evidence. He said: “It’s a remarkable revelation. If true, it shows a crime was not investigated but also it is shocking because it’s yet another example of intelligence going missing.” The senior Tory’s name is said to have been included in a dossier alleging paedophile activity in Westminster, which the Government admits has probably been destroyed.
The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014
Tim Shipman, James Gillespie and David Leppard, ‘Police quiz Brittan over rape claim; Files missing in Home Office ‘cover-up”
LORD BRITTAN, the former Tory home secretary, has been questioned by police over an allegation of rape.
Brittan, 74, was interviewed last month about an alleged assault on a woman in 1967, Scotland Yard said.
The former cabinet minister, who served as home secretary under Margaret Thatcher, was interviewed under caution by appointment at a central London location. He was not arrested. The alleged victim told police she had been raped at an address in London.
The revelation of the rape investigation comes after an admission by the Home Office that more than 100 files believed to contain information on child sex abuse have been destroyed or lost by Whitehall mandarins.
That admission followed the disclosure of the loss of a 40-page dossier by Geoffrey Dickens, the former Conservative MP, which named eight prominent public figures as paedophiles, and which was passed to Brittan in 1983.
The internal review of hundreds of thousands of files found 13 previously undisclosed “items of information about alleged child abuse” last year – including four implicating Home Office officials. But Mark Sedwill, the man appointed by David Cameron to investigate claims of a Whitehall cover-up of political paedophiles revealed that “114 potentially relevant files” were “presumed destroyed, missing or not found”.
The revelations last night led to claims of a “massive cover-up” at the heart of Whitehall. Officials had previously only admitted that irrelevant files were destroyed. In total 278,000 records from the period were destroyed.
It was announced last night that an independent legal figure, expected to be a prominent QC, is to be appointed to conduct a review of the Home Office’s handling of the case.
The lawyer will report back within four weeks. But only the executive summary of the report is likely to be published, a move that could spark further suspicions that there is something to hide. The developments came as the former policeman who first exposed Jimmy Savile’s sex offending and helped bring the case against Rolf Harris revealed he has been the target of a letter bomb and threats of violence since he began investigating sex abuse by celebrities.
Mark Williams-Thomas received a series of telephone threats of violence and was also sent obscene paedophile material showing a child under the age of five being abused. The material has been passed on to the police.
A letter bomb was sent to him while working at ITV in 2012. “It was a petrol letter bomb, an incendiary device addressed to me,” Williams-Thomas said. “Police fully investigated it and analysed the contents but to date no one has been caught.”
In a further case of intimidation, the MP who exposed Cyril Smith as a paedophile also claimed last night that a senior Conservative MP attempted to prevent him from challenging Brittan over what he knew about child sex abuse.
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, says he was warned that targeting Brittan, when he gave evidence to the home affairs committee last Tuesday, could kill the Tory peer – an apparent attempt to silence him.
Danczuk says the MP confronted him on Monday night last week. He said: “He pulled me over to one side and he said: Continued on page 2 uu Continued from page 1 ‘I had Diana Brittan on the phone over the weekend and she’s worried you’re going to target her husband at this select committee.
“He then said she made it clear Brittan is very unwell. He might not have said ‘you’ll kill him’, it might have been ‘he might die as a consequence’. But that was the gist of it – that if you name him tomorrow you could well kill him.
“He wasn’t being compassionate, in my view, he was trying to apply pressure. I was quite bugged by it. I didn’t appreciate the way he approached me.”
Brittan emerged from his home on Wednesday morning and admitted that he had passed the Geoffrey Dickens dossier to officials in 1983.
“I was given the impression on Monday night that he was at death’s door,” Danczuk added. “They were trying to pull a fast one.”
Danczuk told The Sunday Times: “The fact we now have confirmation that 114 potentially important files in connection to serious child abuse have gone missing or been deleted raises some very serious questions about the competency of Home Office officials.
“This suggests either incompetence on a wide scale or a massive cover-up.”
Danczuk added: “The public has lost confidence in these kind of official reviews, which usually result in a whitewash. The only way to get to the bottom of this is a thorough public inquiry.”
The review last year concluded that Brittan had acted appropriately.
The MP also revealed that he spoke on Monday to police investigating historic sex abuse and they told him that one victim of Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in southwest London, where it is alleged a number of public figures abused children during the 1980s, has named a prominent Conservative as his abuser.
The man gave an initial statement but is now refusing to co-operate with the police investigation.
“The police have spoken to a witness who has identified a senior Conservative as the man who abused him,” Danczuk said. “He made an initial statement but now he won’t play ball.”
The Sunday Times spoke to the witness, who now lives in the US, but he declined to comment.
Danczuk also says he has been told the police have spoken to several victims who have named a prominent Labour parliamentarian as their abuser.
“I’ve spoken to quite senior policemen investigating this figure,” he said. “They’ve got a good number of victims. There are significant allegations against him in relation to abuse that it is alleged he carried out on boys.”
Williams-Thomas, who revealed the truth about Savile in a documentary in 2012 and has since played a part in the convictions of Max Clifford and Rolf Harris, backed up Danczuk’s claims and said he knew the names of 10 other well-known people who were the subject of sex abuse allegations.
Williams-Thomas received another violent threat last week after the conviction of Harris. “The case has upset a lot of people – and I understand that. Rolf was a celebrity, and for many, he was their childhood. But don’t take it out on me, direct your anger at him.
“I will continue to dig away and that makes people uncomfortable … I am aware of some very serious pressure being applied to people to be quiet,” he said.
In a letter to Keith Vaz,the home affairs committee chairman, Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary, said the original review did not find a single dossier from Dickens but several sets of correspondence over a number of years to several home secretaries.
“The review found no record of specific allegations by Mr Dickens of child sex abuse by prominent public figures.”
‘This will blow it apart’, Focus, page 18
The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014 Sunday
Tim Shipman, ‘Home Office loses 114 sex abuse files’
MORE than 100 files believed to contain information on child sex abuse have been destroyed or lost by Whitehall mandarins, the Home Office admitted last night.
The internal review of hundreds of thousands of files found 13 previously undisclosed “items of information about alleged child abuse” last year – including four implicating Home Office officials. But Mark Sedwill, the man appointed by David Cameron to probe claims of a Whitehall cover-up of political paedophiles revealed that “114 potentially relevant files” are “presumed destroyed, missing or not found”.
The revelations last night sparked claims of a “massive cover-up” at the heart of Whitehall.
Officials have previously only admitted that irrelevant files were destroyed. In total 278,000 records from the period were destroyed.
The full extent to which information on child sexual offences has disappeared came after the Home Office admitted they had lost a 40-page dossier by Geoffrey Dickens, the former Conservative MP, which named eight prominent public figures as paedophiles, and which was passed to the home secretary Leon Brittan in 1983.
It was announced last night that an independent legal figure, expected to be a prominent QC, is to be appointed to conduct a review of the Home Office’s handling of the case.
The lawyer will report back within four weeks. But only the executive summary of their report is set to be published, a move that could spark further suspicions that there is something to hide. The developments came as the former policeman who first exposed Jimmy Savile’s sex offending and helped bring the case against Rolf Harris revealed he has been the target of a letter bomb and threats of violence since he began investigating sex abuse by celebrities.
Mark Williams-Thomas received a series of telephone threats of violence and was also sent obscene paedophile material showing a child under the age of five being abused. The material has been passed on to the police. A letter bomb was sent to him while working at ITV in 2012. “It was a petrol letter bomb, an incendiary device addressed to me,” he said. “Police fully investigated it and analysed the contents but to date no one has been caught.”
In a further case of Continued on page 2 uu Continued from page 1 Files missing in Home Office ‘cover-up’ intimidation, the MP who exposed Cyril Smith as a paedophile also claimed last night that a senior Conservative MP attempted to prevent him from challenging Lord Brittan over what he knew about child sex abuse.
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, says he was warned that targeting Brittan, when he gave evidence to the Home Affairs committee last Tuesday, could kill the Tory peer – an apparent attempt to silence him.
Danczuk says the MP confronted him on Monday night last week. He said: “He pulled me over to one side and he said: ‘I had Diana Brittan on the phone over the weekend and she’s worried you’re going to target her husband at this select committee.”
“He then said she made it clear Brittan is very unwell. He might not have said ‘you’ll kill him’, it might have been ‘he might die as a consequence’. But that was the gist of it – that if you name him tomorrow you could well kill him.
” He wasn’t being compassionate, in my view, he was trying to apply pressure. I was quite bugged by it. I didn’t appreciate the way he approached me.”
Brittan emerged from his home on Wednesday and admitted he passed the Dickens dossier to officials in 1983. “I was given the impression on Monday night that he was at death’s door,” Danczuk added. “They were trying to pull a fast one.” Danczuk told The Sunday Times: “The fact we now have confirmation that 114 potentially important files in connection to serious child abuse have gone missing or been deleted raises some very serious questions about the competency of Home Office officials.
“This suggests either incompetence on a wide scale or a massive cover-up.”
Danczuk added: “The public has lost confidence in these kind of official reviews, which usually result in a whitewash. The only way to get to the bottom of this is a thorough public inquiry.”
The review last year concluded that Brittan had acted appropriately. The MP also revealed he spoke on Monday to police probing historic sex abuse and they told him that one victim of Elm Guest House, a gay brothel in southwest London, where it is alleged a number of public figures abused children during the 1980s, has named a prominent Conservative as his abuser. The man gave an initial statement but is now refusing to co-operate with the police investigation.
“The police have spoken to a witness who has identified a senior Conservative as the man who abused him,” Danczuk said. “He made an initial statement but now he won’t play ball.” The Sunday Times spoke to the witness, who now lives in the US, but he declined to comment.
Danczuk also says he has been told the police have spoken to several victims who have named a prominent Labour parliamentarian as their abuser. “I’ve spoken to quite senior policemen investigating this figure,” he said. “They’ve got a good number of victims. There are significant allegations against him in relation to abuse that it is alleged he carried out on boys.”
Mark Williams-Thomas, who revealed the truth about Savile in a documentary in 2012 and has since played a part in the convictions of Max Clifford and Rolf Harris, backed up Danczuk’s claims and said he knows the names of 10 other well-known people who are the subject of sex abuse allegations.
Williams-Thomas received more violent threats last week after the conviction of Harris. “The case has upset a lot of people – and I understand that. Rolf was a celebrity, and for many, he was their childhood. But don’t take it out on me, direct your anger at him. I will continue to dig away and that makes people uncomfortable … I am aware of some very serious pressure being applied to people to be quiet,” he said. “There is a direct threat that I am aware of from a very senior politician basically saying, ‘leave it [the Dickens dossier] alone, it’s all been put to bed, stop making any further inquiries. Leon Brittan is a very ill man’ – well he’s not ill, he’s perfectly capable.”
In a letter to Keith Vaz,the Home Affairs committee chairman, Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary, said the original review did not find a single dossier from Dickens but several sets of correspondence over a number of years to several home secretaries containing allegations of sexual offences. As well as these specific allegations, later correspondence from Dickens focused on broader related policy issues, such as the risk of children and young people being drawn into occult activities,” Sedwill wrote.
“The review found no record of specific allegations by Mr Dickens of child sex abuse by prominent public figures.”
‘This will blow it apart’, Focus, page 18
The Sunday Times, July 6th, 2014
David Harrison and Tim Shipman, ”THIS WILL BLOW IT APART’ ‘THIS WILL BLOW IT APART'; An MP who spent years investigating child abuse identified leading public figures in a secret dossier. Now his son wants them named and shamed’
It was more than 30 years ago but Barry Dickens remembers it as though it were yesterday.
His father Geoffrey, a Tory MP, arrived home from work in November 1983 and told him: “That’s it now.
Let it all begin.
This is going to blow it all apart.” Geoffrey Dickens, the Conservative MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth, had just delivered an explosive 40-page dossier to Leon Brittan, the British home secretary. The dossier was the result of years of investigation into child abuse.
It named leading figures from public life, including senior politicians, who were said to be paedophiles “operating and networking within and around” the Westminster elite. Dickens had doggedly gathered evidence, including testimony from many of the abuse victims and now it was all in the hands of the home secretary.
“My father believed that justice would take its course and that the paedophiles would be exposed and punished,” said Barry Dickens, speaking in the garden of his home on the outskirts of Swindon, Wiltshire. “He had worked on it for a long time and, the more he looked into it, the more he was shocked by what he had found because, in those days, in the 1980s, the subject was not out there like it is now.
He didn’t name the individuals but he said I would be totally and utterly amazed when it all comes out who they are.” Dickens waited for the timebomb to explode and shake Westminster to its foundations. But there was no response.
The MP died in May 1995 and the silence continued. So what happened to the dossier? The question has been revived as part of the series of investigations into paedophilia among the rich, famous and powerful since the Jimmy Savile case.
The inquiries have seen the PR man Max Clifford, the broadcaster Stuart Hall, and, last week, the entertainer Rolf Harris jailed for abusing children.
Police sources said last week that the dossier – said to include the names of Savile, Sir Cyril Smith, the late Rochdale MP, and Sir Peter Morrison, Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary private secretary, who has been linked to child abuse in North Wales and died in 1995 – had “disappeared”. The Home Office said that it had not been “retained”, prompting claims of a cover-up.
Last week Brittan, now Lord Brittan, claimed he had no recollection of the dossier but soon afterwards said it had been handed to the director of public prosecutions, who had passed on Dickens’s concerns to the police.
Last Friday, amid growing political pressure, David Cameron ordered Mark Sedwill, the Home Office’s top official, to carry out a review of what happened to the dossier.
The move followed new claims by Simon Danczuk, the Rochdale Labour MP who raised the allegations about the “VIP” paedophile ring. Danczuk, who exposed Smith as a paedophile, said he had received about a dozen new pieces of information and the allegations threw up the same MP’s name “time and again”. Cameron’s announcement failed to defuse mounting tension over the dossier. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the prime minister’s review did not go far enough, and called for an “over-arching” and “comprehensive” investigation.
Danczuk described the review as “little more than a damagelimitation exercise”.
Yesterday Sedwill revealed that a Home Office investigation had found that “114 potentially relevant files” to the abuse investigation “had been presumed destroyed, missing or not found” – further fuelling claims of a cover-up.
DICKENS was a colourful, rent-a-quote MP who was often mocked for malapropisms, including a reference to the “Prevention of Television Act”. He once called a press conference to announce that he had been unfaithful to his wife.
But he fought a serious and determined battle to protect children from sexual abuse. A former amateur boxer who had sparred with the British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper, Dickens was not afraid to land a few blows on the Establishment – or to take a few below the belt. He had felt the Establishment’s wrath after naming Sir Peter Hayman, a highranking diplomat, who had held senior posts in the Ministry of Defence and Nato delegation, as a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, set up in 1974. Hayman, who had used the name “Henderson” to protect his identity, was arrested in October 1978, after hardcore child pornography addressed to him was found on a bus.
He received only a caution but Dickens used parliamentary privilege to name him in questions to Sir Michael Havers, the attorney-general.
Dickens said his use of privilege had led to a backlash from fellow MPs, including his friend Smith.
Smith, like Savile, was exposed as a serial child abuser only after his death. Smith was a visitor to Elm Guest House in southwest London which was run by Carole Kasir, a German, and is at the centre of the police investigation.
It is claimed that boys from a local care home were taken to the guest house to be abused.
The guest house closed in 1982 after a police raid during which an under-age boy was removed from the property.
Kasir died eight years later and an inquest returned a verdict of suicide, although there were claims that she was murdered because of what she knew. The Sunday Times traced one of the Elm House victims said to have been abused by a senior Tory MP to his home in America. He declined to talk about what had happened.
Barry Dickens said his father had received “many death threats” from people trying to silence him but “he didn’t care.
He was whiter than white and wouldn’t be deterred.” Dickens’s homes in London and Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, were burgled after he named Hayman.”It was done very professionally,” Barry Dickens said.
“They came home after a late vote one night, in the early hours of the morning, and they walked into the bedroom and found a hole cut into the bedroom roof.
The burglars left the London flat place upside down but nothing was taken.
In the main house they went in through the cellar.”
DIANNE CORE, who founded the Childwatch charity in the 1980s and worked closely with Dickens, believes the dossier has been destroyed.
“It was dynamite,” she said.
“But there was “a massive cover-up culture in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Child abuse was an embarrassment.
If you got close to anybody of any importance, in showbiz or government, that you suspected was an abuser you were told, ‘It’s not in the public interest.’ I was told that so many times over the years.
It was as though we were accused of fantasising.” The only other non-Establishment person who knew what was in the dossier was Dickens’s wife Norma, who worked as his secretary.
She never spoke about it, according to Barry.
Dickens had kept a copy of the dossier in their office at home but Norma got rid of it when they were moving house and had a lot of things in storage.
“Dad went into hospital at that time and eventually died,” Barry said. “Mum had to decide what she did and didn’t need.” In 2012 Tom Watson, the Labour MP, revived the claims about a paedophile ring and the Home Office commissioned a review of historical abuse claims.
It found that the Dickens dossier had not been “retained” and that the Home Office “acted appropriately, referring information … to the relevant authorities”.
It also said that four cases involved Home Office staff. Last week it emerged that the dossier was understood to have named a former Tory MP who was found with pornography videos featuring children “clearly under 12″, but no action had been taken. Victims of the child abuse scandal in the 1980s have told police that their abusers included a prominent Conservative and a Labour parliamentarian, according to Danczuk, who is leading calls for a “Hillsborough-style” inquiry into the allegations.
Danczuk also claimed that a senior Conservative MP tried to stop him from challenging Brittan last week over what he knew.
“The MP said, ‘I had Diana Brittan on the phone over the weekend and she’s worried you’re going to target her husband at this select committee.
He then said she made it clear that he is very unwell … the gist of it was that if you name him tomorrow you could well kill him.” When Brittan emerged from his home last Wednesday and admitted he had passed the Dickens dossier to officials in 1983, Danczuk was not impressed. “Brittan came bounding out of his house in Pimlico in front of the press but on Monday night I was given the impression that he was at death’s door.
One gets the impression that they were trying to pull a fast one.” The Home Office said its review had shown than Brittan “acted appropriately” but Danczuk said he found it “astonishing” that the former home secretary had changed his story about the dossier.
He believes that child abuse allegations have been covered up by all political parties and the secrecy culture continues.
“If Savile was named in this dossier then we know that the authorities could have stopped 30 years of abuse by that man,” he said.
“If the prime minister thinks it’s going to go away as an issue, he’s sadly wrong.” Back in Wiltshire, Barry Dickens wants the people named in the dossier to be exposed.
“That’s what Dad worked for and that’s what the victims deserve,” he said. “Justice has to be done after all these years.”
What happened to the ‘paedophile dossier’? 1985 Dickens tells Commons his two homes were broken into and his name appeared on a killer’s hit-list around the time he named Hayman.
1995 Dickens dies aged 63.
October 2012 Tom Watson MP raises concern over ‘ignored’ 1980s paedophile allegations January 2013 Police launch Operation Fernbridge into allegations of child abuse at Elm Guest House, southwest London, in 1980s.
2013 Home Office review finds 1984 letter from Brittan to Dickens saying concerns were passed to the police but Dickens’s dossier was “not retained”.
July 2014 Brittan says he cannot recall receiving the dossier, then says he does remember and he asked officials to investigate
1981 Geoffrey Dickens MP names Sir Peter Hayman as a paedophile
1983 Dickens hands Leon Brittan, home secretary, dossier of alleged VIP paedophiles
GRAPHIC: Leon Brittan as home secretary when he was given a dossier about child sex abuse, reflected in the headlines of the time
The Sun, July 6th, 2014
Louise Mensch, ‘Child abuse isn’t party political… covering it up is’
NICK CLEGG – step away from the brink.
The hypocrite and political coward desperately tried to stop a child sex abuse inquiry last week, hiding behind “ongoing police inquiries”.
“As the files are with the police, we should leave them to get on with it,” he said.
Oh, really, Nick? Well, the public wants to know about cover-ups and Sir Cyril Smith – one of the most famous Lib Dem MPs ever, a pillar of the establishment, a knight of the realm – was at the heart of it.
A paedophile to rival Jimmy Savile in his evil, operating at the heart of Parliament.
Clegg’s motivation is obvious. He doesn’t want the world to know what the Lib Dems knew as we approach the 2015 election. What they covered up.
In contrast, it was Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens who carefully put together the dossier on paedophiles that was handed to Leon Brittan.
Brittan’s changing story on this won’t wash.
Let’s remember that, as Home Secretary, he failed to cut funding for the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). And Labour has no credibility on this because Harriet Harman worked for a group affiliated to PIE, with her Labour MP husband Jack Dromey.
NEITHER has ever apologised. Consider that again.
Harriet Harman is not a figure from the past. She’s not an ex-Cabinet minister from the Eighties. She is Ed Miliband’s No2. And she has never apologised.
That is utterly revolting.
Paedophilia is not a matter of party politics. But cover-ups ARE – and the current set of party leaders will be judged on how quickly and openly they move to investigate the Elm Guest House – where MPs joined other establishment figures to abuse children – the Dickens dossier, and institutional abuse.
I believe Nick Clegg knows very well the Lib Dems knew all about Cyril Smith – and hushed it up as a party.
Ed Miliband has no credibility while Harriet Harman is Labour’s deputy leader.
For David Cameron, the matter hangs in the balance.
Tory MP Dickens tried to open up the scandal to the light. Ex Home Secretary Leon Brittan was in charge while it was destroyed and has since changed his story.
We now hear a former Tory Cabinet minister was caught with child porn tapes.
It will be deadly to public trust if Parliament tries to protect former colleagues – now dead or in the Lords. And in the age of the internet, the truth will eventually come out.
Just ask jailed Rolf Harris, who a few years ago was at the Palace painting the Queen. Now he will end his life at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and quite right too.
David Cameron should begin this inquiry. The weight of unanswered questions and public suspicion is too much for anything else.
Clegg and Harman have harmed their parties irreparably on this issue.
Cameron has a chance to prove himself open and just, willing to look at the brutal facts, no matter how many offenders were Tories – and he should take it.
GRAPHIC: PROBE … Cyril Smith and Nick Clegg
The Daily Telegraph, July 7th, 2014
Tom Whitehead, ‘Decades of child abuse ‘covered up’ by Whitehall; Missing evidence, a ‘protected’ Establishment, and VIP paedophiles who felt ‘untouchable”
THEY were, and some still are, household names, some of the most powerful and respected people in the country.
For the last 50 years the politicians, who operated a VIP Westminster paedophile ring from the heart of the British Establishment, felt untouchable after successfully suppressing their names from being linked with it, it is alleged.
There are now allegations of a massive cover-up across Whitehall spanning decades, pressure on the police and prosecutors not to pursue cases and the apparent disappearance of key dossiers and files detailing claims of child abuse and alleged attackers.
More than 10 current and former politicians are said to be on a list of alleged child abusers now being investigated by police and pressure is growing for a public inquiry. But the belated investigations only serve to highlight decades of apparent inaction in the corridors of power to get to the truth despite relentless campaigning by a number of MPs.
The story begins with Cyril Smith, the late Liberal Democrat MP, who was exposed in 2012, two years after his death, aged 82.
Rumours of child abuse had dogged the 29-stone Rochdale politician throughout his career but no action was ever taken. As early as the Sixties, he allegedly routinely assaulted young boys, especially in children’s homes and special schools in his home town, where he was MP from 1972 to 1992.
He was also said to have been a visitor to the notorious Elm Guest House in south-west London, now the focus of a Scotland Yard investigation into an alleged VIP paedophile ring.
It was claimed earlier this year that police received 144 complaints against him over the years but no prosecution was brought, prompting allegations he was protected by influential friends. Smith was named as a paedophile in the House of Commons in 2012 by the current Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk.
However, Smith was only one of a number of alleged high-profile child abusers within Westminster said to have been named in a 40-page dossier submitted to the Home Office by the late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.
Mr Dickens told his family at the time that it named leading public figures, including senior politicians, and was going to “blow it all apart”.
It was also said to contain information on the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange which was set up in 1974 to promote and lobby for the legalisation of sexual activity between minors and adults.
But the timebomb never exploded. The home secretary at the time, Lord (Leon) Brittan, was sent the file but no record of any subsequent criminal inquiry has been found and the dossier itself has disappeared.
Lord Brittan, who was home secretary under Margaret Thatcher from 1983 to 1985, is now facing questions over his handling of the document and inconsistencies in his account of what he did with it.
He told journalists last year he had no recollection of it but last week said instead that he had been handed a “substantial bundle of papers” by Mr Dickens in November 1983 and had passed them to officials for further investigation but had no further dealings with it.
Just hours later he amended his position again when proof emerged that he had written to Mr Dickens in March 1984 to say the dossier had been assessed by prosecutors and handed to the police.
Over the weekend, Mark Sedwill, the Home Office permanent secretary, con-firmed that a review had not found “a single dossier from Mr Dickens”.
However, officials did uncover “several sets of correspondence over a number of years” from the MP to several home secretaries containing allegations of sexual offences.
Mr Sedwill also revealed that 114 offi-cial files relating to historic allegations of organised child abuse have also gone missing.
The former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, who also served in Mrs Thatcher’s government, said there “may well” have been a political cover-up over child abuse taking place at Westminster in the Eighties.
“At that time I think most people would have thought that the Establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it,” he said.
There are also questions over what happened to evidence surrounding a senior Tory MP who was said to have been found with child pornography videos by a customs officer in the Eighties.
The politician, a former MP believed to be another name in the Dickens dossier, was stopped in Dover after acting suspiciously. The videos, which allegedly involved children under 12 taking part in sex acts, were passed to the officer’s superiors but the MP was never arrested or charged. The tapes and paperwork have also gone missing.
The customs officer has since spoken to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, the Scotland Yard investigation into Cyril Smith and others at Elm Guest House.
Last month, police searched the Westminster office of the Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone in connection with historical child sex abuse allegations.
The search was part of an ongoing inquiry linked to children’s homes in Leicestershire and came after officers searched his home in Golders Green, north-west London, in December. The peer has not been arrested.
Another said to be on the police list of alleged abusers is Sir Peter Morrison, the parliamentary private secretary to Mrs Thatcher, who died in 1995. He was linked to allegations of child abuse at homes in North Wales.
The disclosures were made as it emerged over the weekend that Lord Brittan himself has been questioned by police in connection with a rape allegation.
He was understood to have been interviewed under caution last month after a woman claimed she was raped in London in 1967. The peer is believed to strongly deny the allegation.
The Times, July 8th, 2014
Fiona Hamilton, ‘Rape claim is unfounded, says Brittan’
Lord Brittan of Spennithorne yesterday described a historical rape allegation against him as “wholly without foundation”.
The former home secretary was interviewed under caution last month after a woman claimed that she was attacked at his London flat in 1967 when she was 19.
Lord Brittan, 74, said in a statement through his solicitors: “It is true that I have been questioned by the police about a serious allegation made against me. This allegation is wholly without foundation.”
The woman, 66, has accused Scotland Yard officers of trying to undermine her claim and of questioning whether she was promiscuous at the time. A spokeswoman for the Met said: “This remains a live investigation and it is not appropriate to comment.”
Lord Brittan’s statement also dismissed separate suggestions that he failed to deal adequately with documents passed to him in the 1980s by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, which allegedly named paedophiles operating at Westminster. He said such suggestions were “completely without foundation”.
The development came after Sir Peter Bottomley, a veteran Conservative MP, said that 30-year-old false claims that he [Sir Peter] was involved in child abuse were being recirculated. The MP for Worthing West denied any involvement and warned that he would sue for libel if publishers repeated the claims. He said that he was also being falsely linked to the Elm Guest House, alleged to have been the scene of paedophile activity and sex parties attended by politicians and other prominent figures in the 1970s and 1980s.
Sir Peter successfully sued The Mail on Sunday in 1989 after it printed false claims against him relating to abuse and warned other newspapers at the time not to repeat them.
He told the Today programme on Radio 4: “Now people are trying to restart it. And people have also said that I am somehow connected to the Elm Guest House – a place I’ve not been to, I’ve not been involved. I give this public warning: if any substantial publisher links me in any defamatory way, they can expect the same kind of action as The Mail on Sunday got”.
Sir Edward Garnier, the Tory MP, told the Commons that there was a “dripfeed of insinuations”. He said that the guilty parties should be convicted but the reputations of innocent people should not be ruined.
The late Conservative peer Lord McAlpine of West Green was wrongly implicated by the BBC’s Newsnight programme in 2012 over allegations that politicians sexually abused boys in the care of the Bryn Estyn children’s home in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
The report did not name Lord McAlpine but he was then wrongly identified on the internet. The BBC apologised unreservedly and settled his defamation claim. He then pursued some of those who named him on Twitter, including Sally Bercow, the wife of the Speaker of the Commons.
GRAPHIC: Lord Brittan said he was questioned by police over “a serious allegation”
Daily Mail, July 8th, 2014 Tuesday
Stephen Wright and Daniel Bates, ‘Victim called himself Daddy’s Little Princess’
A BOY linked to the alleged Westminster paedophile ring was so traumatised by his ordeal that he despairingly referred to himself as daddy’s little princess’, it emerged last night.
The tormented youngster also had a pet name for one of his suspected attackers that suggested he was a politician who later became a cabinet minister.
The disclosures were made by a care worker who comforted the youngster when he was rescued from years of alleged abuse at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London.
The care worker was present when the boy – then eight or nine – was taken into care in 1982 and interviewed by police about his ordeal. The child said the suspected abuser worked in the big house’, which detectives believed could have meant the Houses of Parliament.
He also provided social workers with the man’s first name, which the Mail is not revealing for legal reasons.
With the help of overseas law enforcement agencies, Scotland Yard traced the alleged victim, now in his 40s, to the United States in a bid to gather further evidence about his suffering three decades ago. But according to sources in America, the alleged victim either changed his story or declined to give a statement elaborating on what he told police in the 1980s.
* A Labour minister suspected of sexually abusing children with a convicted paedophile tried to help the pervert foster two young brothers, it was claimed yesterday.
The politician, said to be close to Tony Blair, was alleged to have brought pressure on social services to allow children’s home boss Michael John Carroll to get care of two vulnerable boys aged 12 and 14. Carroll said the claim was nonsense.
Daily Star, July 9th, 2014
Ed Riley, ‘Major public figures involved in YEARS of child abuse! Claims whistleblower’
A VIP paedophile ring involved at least 20 major public figures who abused kids for decades, a whistleblower has claimed.
Top politicians, military figures and even high-ranking officials linked to the Royal Family were among the alleged members.
The Daily Star has seen a list of the suspected abusers which includes the names of six one-time MPs.
The claims were made by former child protection officer Peter McKelvie.
He said victims were treated like “lumps of meat” and taken from place to place to be molested by the “elite” group.
But he claims police probes were blocked.
Peter McKelvie, former child protection officer
It comes after Home Secretary Theresa May, left, earlier this week announced two probes into the scandal engulfing Westminster.
Mr McKelvie said: “There is strong evidence that there’s been an extremely powerful elite among the highest levels of the political classes.”
Home Office top civil servant Mark Sedwill is to be quizzed about the handling of abuse claims, including loss of files.
A dossier handed to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 is said to have named Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, and Lib Dem MP for Rochdale, Cyril Smith, who died in 2010.
Related articles Home Secretary lauches probe into child abuse allegations X-Men child abuse claim: Director linked to ‘paedophile parties’ SAME AS TV PAEDO SAVILE: Top cop compares disgraced Max Clifford to evil child abuser
The Sun, July 27th, 2014
Lynn Davidson, ‘I told Mrs T police were probing top Tory’s sex parties with young boys’
A FORMER top policeman has told how he warned PM Margaret Thatcher that one of her senior aides was suspected of holding sex parties for underage boys.
Personal bodyguard Barry Strevens informed Maggie of damning intelligence that Peter Morrison could be a paedo – but she ignored it and promoted him to a key role regardless.
Maggie appointed Morrison, who she trusted as a loyal confidant, to be deputy party chairman in the 1980s despite police misgivings about his private life.
Besides rumours of sex parties, stories abounded of him kerb-crawling and being cautioned for having sex with a boy of 15 in a public toilet.
Old Etonian Morrison – now dead – has since also been linked to scandals at children’s homes in Wales. Last night Barry, now 70 and retired, said of Mrs Thatcher’s decision to promote him: “I wouldn’t say she was naive but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.
“I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.”
In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, ex-detective chief inspector Barry said he first heard rumours about Morrison from a senior Cheshire Police officer.
He knew Mrs T was considering appointing Morrison, the MP for Chester, as deputy party chairman to replace disgraced Jeffrey Archer – who had stepped down over prostitute allegations in 1986.
So he immediately dashed to Downing Street and had an evening meeting with the PM and her private secretary Archie Hamilton, who took notes of what was said.
Barry recalled: “A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about underage boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison.
“After we returned to No10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that so they would have known it was something serious.
“When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.
“There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more.
“This was just after the Jeffrey Archer scandal and I knew she needed to know about it because they were deciding on the appointment of the next deputy chairman. “I always told her things straight, as I saw them. She listened and thanked me.
“I assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Peter Morrison following that.
“When he was appointed I assumed there had been nothing to the claims – as there was no way on earth she would have given him the job otherwise.”
Since then Morrison has been named in connection with a series of official inquiries into allegations of child abuse in North Wales children’s homes. But even at the time of his appointment there were stories of him being seen kerb-crawling for rent boys in central London and being cautioned for having sex in a public toilet in Crewe with a 15-yearold boy.
‘He was supportive and she liked him’ Senior Tory figure Lord Tebbit even admitted hearing rumours about Morrison and young boys and confronting him – and being met with a flat denial.
Morrison, a member of a wealthy family who own the Scottish island of Islay, was a close confidant of Mrs T. She spent her first holiday as PM on the whisky-producing Hebridean isle and Barry, who accompanied her on one trip, remembered Morrison as an affable chap.
He said: “He was very personable. She liked him. He was very supportive to her.
“I’m sure Peter knew I had spoken to her about him because he mentioned something to me when we were away in the US and I knew what he was referring to.”
Morrison’s father John was made Lord Margadale in recognition of his services to the Conservatives and he himself was knighted in 1988.
Maggie later made him her parliamentary private secretary and put him in charge of her disastrous re-election campaign in 1990, where she lost office.
However Morrison continued to work for her out of loyalty as an unpaid parliamentary aide. He died of a heart attack at 51 in 1995. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a full-scale investigation into historical claims of child abuse at Westminster and an alleged paedophile ring.
Asked whether Maggie had considered the possibility some of her closest aides were paedophiles, Barry said he thought she would have had no idea.
He said: “It was a different generation and she would need solid proof to convince her.
“If all the rumours turn out to be true I am sad because Peter Morrison failed Maggie.”
Speaking outside his Westminster flat, Archie Hamilton confirmed Barry Strevens’ account of coming to No10 but failed to remember there being any mention of underage boys.
He said: “I remember Barry Strevens coming in and what he actually said at the time was that there were parties at Peter Morrison’s home in Cheshire and there were only men who were there.
“I don’t remember him saying they were underage. There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved in the party.
“She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there.”
Asked about rumours at Westminster about Peter Morrison, he added: “There were always rumours if you weren’t married, whoever you were.”
email@example.com DYNASTY WITH LINKS TO TOP SIR Peter Morrison was part of a rich political dynasty loyal to the Conservatives. His father John was a close friend of Margaret Thatcher and his sister Mary is one of the Queen’s most senior ladies-in-waiting. Morrison, who studied law at Oxford, became MP for Chester in 1974. Described as a closet gay – and said by fellow Tory MP Edwina Currie to be a “noted pederast” – he reportedly took young boys to his hunting lodge in Scotland. In 2012 ex-minister Rod Richards implicated him in the North Wales homes scandals where up to 650 children were abused.
The 32yrs trying to find truth November 1983: Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens hands dossier on alleged child abusers in establishment to Home Secretary Leon Brittan. March 1984: Mr Brittan informs Mr Dickens the 40-page dossier has been assessed and given to police. October 1986: Maggie Thatcher’s bodyguard tells her of sex allegations concerning Peter Morrison. May 1995: Mr Dickens dies. His wife later destroys a copy of the dossier.
September 2010: Death of Rochdale MP Cyril Smith, who was never charged with any child abuse offences. September 2012: Jimmy Savile abuse scandal breaks. October 2012: Labour MP Tom Watson claims “clear intelligence” suggests a powerful paedo network linked to Parliament and No10. November 2012: New Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk claims Cyril Smith, right, sexually abused boys. CPS reveals it considered allegations against him. December 2012: Cops set up Operation Fairbank to look into allegations about Elm Guest House, where it is claimed establishment figures abused boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
March 2013: Lord Brittan is asked about the dossier by journalists but has “no recollection” of it.
December: London home of Labour peer Lord Janner is searched by police. He is not arrested.
June 2014: Lord Janner’s Westminster office is searched by police. Later it emerges the Home Office can find no record of Mr Dickens’ dossier.
July 2: Lord Brittan confirms receiving a dossier and asking the Home Office to “look carefully” at it.
July 7: Home Secretary Theresa May launches child abuse inquiry.
July 8: Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is made chairman of review into abuse. July 13: She quits when it is revealed her late brother Sir Michael Havers tried to stop suspected paedophiles being named in Commons.
GRAPHIC: Peter Morrison, seen left with Mrs Thatcher at a memorial in 1990
Ex-policeman Barry Strevens, seen here with Premier Maggie in 1985
MP … Morrison in 1976
Warning . . Barry, now retired
Meeting … Maggie Thatcher
The Sunday Times, July 13th, 2014
James Gillespie, Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Marie Woolf, ‘Police ‘superlist’ of 21 child abusers; Thirteen forces are now working together in a huge investigation as hundreds more victims accuse officials of a cover-up’
WHEN officers from 13 constabularies met at the headquarters of Merseyside police last month, they each brought with them a secret list bearing the names of elected officials and celebrities who were being investigated for alleged child sex abuse.
The 30 officers at the meeting compared notes to ensure there was no duplication and then drew up a “superlist” of the 21 best-known suspects – half of whose names have not yet entered the public domain.
The officers were from forces including the Metropolitan police, Greater Manchester, North Wales, Leicestershire, Lancashire and Surrey. There are now 21 separate child abuse investigations under way.
The sheer scale and number of police inquiries means that detectives face a huge task, not just in bringing the guilty to justice but also in reassuring the public that reports of child sexual abuse will be properly investigated regardless of whoever is accused.
There is growing concern that many historic allegations were hushed up because they involved powerful figures.
Over the past week, hundreds of new victims of child sexual abuse – several of whom were allegedly attacked by senior politicians – have approached MPs, complaining about a cover-up.
Some of the most serious claims made against MPs are likely to have been recorded by the parties’ whips’ offices in the House of Commons.But it emerged this weekend that the Conservative office has destroyed or shredded an archive of notes.
Former Tory whips say a policy of shredding notes recording the behaviour of MPs, including their sexual proclivities, drunkenness, extramarital affairs and financial problems, was introduced at the end of 1996 following fears the information could be made public via a court disclosure order.
The notes were regarded as the personal property of the chief whip, who on leaving office would take the notes and their carbon copies home. Former whips said chief whips usually destroyed the documents.
A long-serving former whip said: “It was tittle-tattle that was extremely useful to whips and sometimes it was just something funny but may have looked from the outside spiteful or malicious.
“Sometimes it would just be very silly. You wrote on it [the whips' notes] and you could pull it out and there was a copy behind it. They were read out at whips’ meetings.”
While many of the comments may have been little more than rumour and innuendo, the destruction of the notes will add to fears that misconduct by MPs has been covered up.
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, who has been contacted by dozens of alleged victims, said: “I am absolutely convinced that there has been a series of cover-ups that protected powerful and influential people.”
Mark Williams-Thomas, the former detective and broadcaster who first exposed Jimmy Savile’s offending, said he had received new information about a very senior Tory “yet to fall under scrutiny” and allegations that child sexual abuse claims against the figure were covered up by key Establishment officials in the 1980s.
The Department of Health also faces allegations that it failed to act after being passed a confidential report in the 1990s that exposed a British paedophile network. It is claimed the network included civil servants, a paediatrician and a key adviser on social services policy.
A two-page report warned how members of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which lobbied for sex with children to be legalised, and other associates were involved in a child sex network. It said the evidence comprised “letters, diaries, photographs, magazines and videos.”
The May 1993 document stated: “Amongst the men who have been identified as paedophile or likely paedophiles are a [senior churchman], current social services and education staff, and civil servants.”
Hereford and Worcester child protection officers who compiled the report said the material had been obtained during an investigation into Peter Righton, who had worked as director of education at the National Institute for Social Work and as a consultant to the National Children’s Bureau, a leading charity.
A separate document called for a team funded by the Home Office and Department of Health to investigate “the infiltration of the social work profession” and warned of the “traffic of children around the country as they are passed from the hands of one set of abusers to another”.
Child protection experts say it was disgraceful that the department did not launch an immediate investigation. Righton, who died in 2007, was arrested in 1992 during an investigation into child pornography. The five suitcases of material found at his home in Evesham, Worcestershire, pointed to a network of abusers in senior positions of authority.
The material included a list of the names of 100 children suspected to have been abused by Righton; details of a suspected child abuser in the British Council, the government’s international cultural organisation; and the activities of Morris Fraser, a child psychiatrist and child abuser.
Terry Shutt, a former police officer involved in the Righton investigation, said: “In among all the other documentation, there was a definite link to establishment figures, including senior members of the clergy. So for me there was a definite feel that this was something bigger than we were looking at locally and that it should have been investigated further.”
Liz Davies, a social worker who blew the whistle on abuse in children’s homes in Islington, north London, and who also helped to investigate Righton, said: “People who did not act when they should have done now need to be called to account.”
When Davies left Islington with a “big suitcase of papers”, she started working with Scotland Yard on child abuse connections around the country.
Details of the information passed to the department have emerged as police investigate and review hundreds of cases of historical abuse at children’s homes, schools and detentions centres.
Baroness Butler-Sloss, the retired High Court judge, was last week appointed to head an inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations by public institutions. David Cameron said it would “make sure these things cannot happen again”.
But Butler-Sloss’s appointment has been met with some scepticism because of her establishment connections and allegations that she avoided naming a bishop in a previous inquiry report on sex abuse because “she cared about the church”.
Williams-Thomas described her appointment as “questionable”. “You are going to be challenging members of the establishment – this is what it is about,” he said.
“It is not just about MPs, it’s about children’s services directors and managers, senior police officers and church officials … Significantly she stood down from the inquest into Diana and Dodi Fayed. If she couldn’t cope with that big an inquiry, this one – if done correctly – will dwarf it. ” Another review, headed by Peter Wanless, the head of the NSPCC, will examine how police and prosecutors handled information given to them. It was ordered after it emerged that information provided to the Home Office by former Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens on alleged paedophiles had disappeared.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has tripled the number of detectives working on inquiries that include Operation Fernbridge, looking at allegations that children were abused by paedophiles, including members of the political establishment, at Elm Guest House, in Barnes, southwest London.
Elm Guest House was a gay brothel run by Carole and Haroon “Harry” Kasir in the late Seventies before it was raided and closed down by police in 1982. The Kasirs were convicted at the Old Bailey in 1983 of running a disorderly house, fined and given suspended sentences.
Rumours continued to swirl around the guest house with allegations that underage male prostitutes (the homosexual age of consent was then 21) worked there; that boys from Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London, were taken there before being plied with alcohol and abused, and that the guests included VIPs.
A list that purports to record the names of regular visitors includes a number of senior MPs, a high-ranking policeman, a leading tycoon, figures from the National Front and Sinn Fein, an official of the Royal Household, an MI5 officer, two pop stars and the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt. Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP for Rochdale and an alleged serial paedophile, has also been named as a regular at the guest house.
The truth, however, is difficult to http://www.establish.No one disputes that it was a brothel and advertised in gay publications, offering a discount to Spartacus Club members. This, according to some, was a reference to an organisation based in Amsterdam, which catered to those seeking underage sex.
Another inquiry, Operation Winthorpe, is looking at separate allegations, coincidentally also in the Barnes area, in which five people have been arrested.
Perhaps the biggest inquiry is being conducted by the National Crime Agency, which is looking at sexual abuse of children in several care homes in North Wales. A number of prominent people have been linked to this abuse, including Sir Peter Morrison, a Tory MP and former aide to Lady Thatcher. The agency said this weekend 46 people had been identified as potential suspects and 20 had been arrested and a further eight interviewed under caution.
In Leicestershire, detectives have searched the home of a former MP over allegations of child abuse. In Manchester, police are examining claims of abuse by Cyril Smith at Knowl View, a residential school for boys and, possibly, other care homes.
There are also several inquiries in Northern Ireland where police are reported to be reviewing evidence of the involvement of establishment figures from the military and politics at the Kincora home for boys.
The Department of Health said: “The department will co-operate fully with the inquiry and will make all known documentation available so that it can be independently and thoroughly investigated.”
Six areas where historic child abuse by MPs is being investigated conducting ‘a number’ conducting ‘a number’ Northern Ireland Detectives are conducting ‘a number’ of historical cases. They are said to be re-examining files relating to a sex abuse scandal at Kincora, a former boys home in Belfast. That is said to implicate senior political and military figures No arrests yet Manchester Police examining claims of sex abuse by Cyril Smith, left, former Liberal MP for Rochdale at Knowl View, a residential school for http://www.boys.No arrests yet Leicestershire Police have searched the home and House of Lords office of a Labour peer. He has not been questioned Total of 21 cases involving politicians and celebrities being investigated by 13 police forces East Anglia Unspecified allegations said to involve at least one former MP. Police action unclear London Detectives are probing allegations of sex abuse against children by at least two MPs at Elm Guest House in Barnes North Wales Police have arrested or interviewed 28 people linked to sex abuse claims at care homes. Members of the Tory establishment, including former Tory MP Sir Peter Morrison, right, an aide to Lady Thatcher, have been named in allegations Police are also reviewing allegations about key members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, which include former social work adviser Peter Righton, above What the public thinks Do you think it is probably true or false that some senior politicans in the 1970s and 1980s were involved in abusing children? True 76% False 4% Don’t know 20% 56% think there should be a full public inquiry Source: YouGov questioned 1,963 adults on July 10-11
SOME OF THE MOST SERIOUS CLAIMS MADE AGAINST MPS HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY PARTY WHIPS. IT EMERGED THIS WEEKEND THAT THE CONSERVATIVE OFFICE SHREDDED ITS NOTES
FIVE SUITCASES OF MATERIAL FOUND AT PETER RIGHTON’S HOME AFTER HIS ARREST POINTED TO A NETWORK OF ABUSERS IN SENIOR POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY
GRAPHIC: BOB BARCLAY/TONY HARRIS
Manchester police are investigating claims of abuse by Cyril Smith, left
The Daily Telegraph, August 15th, 2014
Auslan Cramb, ‘I was victim of paedophile ring says woman ‘abused’ by Tory MP’
A WOMAN has claimed she was raped by a Tory MP who was a close ally of Margaret Thatcher and sexually abused by her father, a senior figure in the Scottish legal establishment.
Susie Henderson said she was sexually abused as a small child by her father, Robert Henderson QC, and by his friend Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.
She has waived her right to anonymity to claim she was the victim of an organised paedophile ring that also involved other legal figures.
Miss Henderson, 48, a mother of one who works in social care, first made allegations against Fairbairn, who was made solicitor general of Scotland by Mrs Thatcher, in 2000, when she was known only as Julie X. The police launched an inquiry at the time but no charges were brought after she halted the investigation when part of her statement was leaked to the press.
She said she had now decided to disclose her identity after the late Tory MP, who died in 1995, was linked to the scandal over the Elm Guest House in London, where youngsters from children’s homes were allegedly abused in the 1980s.
Last month, Fairbairn was named as one of those believed to have visited the house, which was also said to have been visited by Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP who has been exposed as a paedophile.
Miss Henderson, who lives with her partner near Inverness, said she wanted a new police inquiry. She told the Daily Mail: “I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil. Not just to me.”
She added that she believes her father, who died in 2012, began abusing her at the age of three and repeatedly abused her until she was eight.
Miss Henderson also claimed her father, who was highly regarded as a defence lawyer and temporary sheriff, could be sadistically cruel, drank heavily and treated her mother like a “slave”.
She claimed that the family home in Edinburgh was often full of her father’s friends, who also abused her.
She told the newspaper that when she made the claims in 2000, senior Tories described her allegations as “rubbish” and her father phoned her and warned her not to continue making the allegations.
Miss Henderson also disclosed that she developed an eating disorder as a teenager, and that following the birth of her son in her twenties she suffered postnatal depression that caused many memories of the abuse to return and later spent time in a psychiatric unit.
She said she now hoped that she would be believed, adding: “He [Fairbairn] used to pay me money for it. A pound here, a pound there. It was as if it was his way of thinking it okay.”
Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, said ministers could not “stand back” from the call for an inquiry.
Fairbairn’s daughter Charlotte told the newspaper that she “utterly doubted” that her father was a child abuser, adding that he was “not here to defend himself”.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Robert Henderson claimed a so-called “magic circle” of judges, sheriffs and advocates were conspiring to ensure that homosexual criminals were given softtouch treatment by the courts. The claims were dismissed in an official inquiry.
GRAPHIC: Susie Henderson waived her anonymity to accuse her late father Robert Henderson QC and the Tory MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, right, of abusing her when she was a child
BRUCE ADAMS/DAILY MAIL /REX & NEWSLINE
The Times, August 15th, 2014
Jeremy Watson, ‘Minister raped me, says QC’s daughter’
The daughter of a prominent QC said she was raped at the age of four by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who served as Scotland’s solicitor-general under Margaret Thatcher.
Susie Henderson has waived her right to anonymity to talk about the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of the late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, a former MP for Kinross & Western Perthshire.
Miss Henderson, 48, the daughter of Robert Henderson, a temporary sheriff, said she was also abused by her father. Locations included the five-storey Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh’s New Town where her family lived.
“I want it acknowledged that my father and Fairbairn did something very evil,” she said. “Not just to me. There are other children out there. And these were people in power. We put them there and they are supposed to be trusted.”
Ms Henderson also alleged that she first made allegations against Sir Nicholas and her father in 2000 but an initial police investigation did not lead to charges. She is calling for the investigation to be reopened by police.
She said Sir Nicholas first abused her at one of her father’s parties at his Edinburgh home. She said: “We were in the kitchen. I was maybe four years old. I could have been younger.
“I had a skirt on and Nicholas and my dad had been drinking, and my dad told me to sit on Nicholas’s knee. I sat on his knee and he put his hand up my skirt and abused me. My dad just stood there laughing.”
In another incident, Ms Henderson, who lives near Inverness, said that Sir Nicholas raped her when she was in bed with him and “another guy” in a guest room on the top floor of her family home.
Her father, she says, abused her between the ages of three and eight.
She acknowledges that parts of her story may sound unbelievable. She asked: “Who would believe that the solicitor-general and other top lawyers would be abusing children?” She said she had chosen to come forward and be named after Fairbairn was implicated in the Westminster scandal over the Elm guest house in London, in which young people were abused by high-profile figures in the 1980s.
Fairbairn died in 1995 at the age of 61, while Henderson died in 2012 aged 75.
Lists of VIPs visiting Elm guest house are being used by Scotland Yard as evidence.
GRAPHIC: Susie Henderson said she was raped aged four by Sir Nicholas Fairbairn
Following my article from May 11th, 2014 relating to the mention of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears in the diaries of Peter Righton, I received the following communication by e-mail on September 2nd, 2014 from Kevin Gosling, Director of Communications for the Britten-Pears Foundation, which I am reproducing here with permission.
Dear Mr Pace
Responding to your call for anyone with information about potential links between Peter Righton, Britten and Pears to contact you, we have been looking into the correspondence files and diaries we hold here at The Red House. As you may know, our archive is open to anyone wanting to carry out research. Our search found no letters to or from Peter Righton among Britten’s or Pears’ correspondence, nor does a scan through appointment diaries from the early/mid seventies indicate either had any scheduled meetings with him.
The phrase ‘get-togethers at Snape Maltings’ suggests to us that Righton was not part of Britten’s circle; had he been an acquaintance of any significance, he would have been invited to The Red House, where Britten entertained widely. Perhaps Righton just attended receptions at Snape Maltings in the context of going to concerts there? If there are specific dates mentioned in Righton’s diaries, we would be happy to investigate the archive further, as we are as concerned as you to understand the context of these remarks. Alternatively, you would be very welcome to come up here to go through any relevant material yourself.
Director of Communications
On Friday, September 5th, 2014, the Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, was appointed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to be chair of the forthcoming inquiry into child abuse. Within a few hours of the announcement, Twitter was full of information concerning Woolf’s closeness to former home secretary Leon Brittan (now Lord Brittan), in particular the fact that the two worked closely together for the lobbying organisation TheCityUK, for which Woolf is the President of the Advisory Council, on which Brittan sits (here I wish to give credit to Daniel De Simone, who was I believe the first person to find this connection, which was subsequently tweeted by various people), and also the fact that she is one of just five patrons of the Association of Women Solicitors, another of whom is Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman.
Both of these individuals are extremely important in terms of potential areas of investigation for the inquiry: Brittan was a Home Office Minister of State from 1979 to 1981, during which time the Paedophile Information Exchange were running their operation from the Home Office and receiving funding from them (see also the article in the Mail by Guy Adams from July on this subject), and was Home Secretary from 1983 to 1985, during which time he received a series of dossiers from Tory MP relating to networks of high profile abusers and others. These have mysteriously gone missing (amid suspicions that they may have been destroyed) and an inquiry is underway run by Peter Wanless, chair of the NSPCC, as to what happened to them (see here for the statement by Theresa May on July 7th, and also here and here . As regards Harman, she was legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties during a period when they were affiliated to the Paedophile Information Exchange, had a PIE member as their gay rights officer, and even advertised in PIE’s journal Magpie (there are many more articles which have been published on this subject during the course of the year, easily found through Googling – especially important are those by Guy Adams and Martin Beckford; see also the index of my various pieces of documentary evidence on NCCL and PIE).
The Times detailed the connection between Woolf and Brittan on Saturday, September 6th (not available online, reproduced below), then on Sunday, September 7th, an article by Martin Beckford and Simon Murphy in the Mail on Sunday provided further information, including that Woolf judges an annual City award scheme alongside Lord Brittan’s wife Diana, that she gave a £50 donation to Brittan’s wife for a charity fun-run, and is a neighbour of Lord and Lady Brittan in the same street.
Following a smattering of other articles questioning all of this, an important piece was published in The Guardian on Tuesday September 9th by the Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk, who has been at the forefront of the campaign for an inquiry and whose appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee on July 1st, 2014 was a major catalyst for greater public awareness of the Dickens dossiers handed to Brittan and wider claims of a cover-up, leading to widespread media coverage and the announcement of the inquiry (the further appearance at HASC on July 8th by Home Office Permanent Secretary Mark Sedwill made clear that there were many questions to be asked, and that a previous internal investigation had been far from satisfactory).
Danczuk’s article was sharply critical about the choice of May’s judgement; he clarified that he had spoken to the Home Secretary before the appointment was announced, but could now see that ‘even the most basic of checks would have revealed glaring problems with Woolf that were always going to cause difficulties and ensure victims had no confidence in the process’. Today (Thursday September 11th, 2014), Danczuk tweeted to make clear that he had asked the Leader of the House, William Hague, for a debate about links between Woolf and Brittan. The full Parliamentary question and Hague’s answer can be read here and viewed here at 10:55:28. Danczuk went further than previously in saying that Brittan is ‘alleged to be at the heart of the paedophile scandal and cover-up surrounding Westminster‘. However, Hague merely replied that Woolf ‘is a very distinguished person, well able to conduct this inquiry with the very highest standards of integrity’, etc, so it looks like no such debate is likely to be forthcoming. Woolf herself is currently away on a 10-day lobbying trip to Southern Africa, and has not responded to any of the issues raised about her connections.
This selection process has revealed much about how close-knit are many members of the British establishment, and how questionable it is that some individuals could not be seen to have major conflicts of interest (as with the previous appointment of Baroness Butler-Sloss, whose brother Michael Havers was alleged to have been involved in covering up other investigations in the 1980s).
But it is worth considering who is making the decision not to allow even a debate on this: William Hague. Hague was Brittan’s successor as MP for Richmond, Yorkshire, in 1989, following Brittan’s appointment as a European commissioner. An article from June 15th, 1997, in the Sunday Times (reproduced below) makes clear that Hague was himself appointed as a part-time speechwriter for Geoffrey Howe after having been recommended by Brittan (then working as Chief Secretary to the Treasury when Howe was Chancellor), who had spotted him at a visit to the Oxford Union. Recently released documents from the National Archives make clear that it was only because of Thatcher’s intervention that Hague did not get the job fulltime, as Howe and Brittan wanted. The 1989 article from The Times printed below makes clear, Hague lived in Brittan’s country home in the run up to the Richmond by-election. As a column by Nigel Dempster reproduced below makes clear, Hague also liked to go hill-walking with Brittan. Furthermore, former MP and leader of the Welsh Tories Rod Richard has claimed that the late MP Peter Morrison (PPS to Margaret Thatcher), who was known by several other colleagues to be a ‘pederast’, was involved in the abuse of children in North Wales, and as Welsh Secretary at the time the inquiry was called in 1996, Hague ‘should have seen the evidence’, though this was denied by Hague’s office. Former Tory Party Chairman Norman Tebbit (now Lord Tebbit) has admitted that he heard rumours about Morrison (who was his deputy for a period); Tebbit, to his credit, is one of the few senior Tories who has admitted there likely was a cover-up of high level abuse during the 1980s. A new edition of the diaries of former MP and Morrison’s successor in the constituency of Chester, Gyles Brandreth, Breaking the Cover, is due out on September 18th, and apparently promises more information on Morrison.
Is Hague an impartial judge on this? For there to be faith in the inquiry, there must be no glaring conflicts of interest. And any such conflicts of interest need to be able to be debated openly in Parliament.
[My further thanks to Daniel De Simone for locating and sending the Times and Sunday Times articles, and his amazing work in locating information in general]
The Times, January 10th, 1989
Peter Davenport, ‘Tory rising star aims for Brittan country’
Mr William Hague the one-time teenage hope of the Conservative Party and now the aspiring successor to Sir Leon Brittan as MP for the rural constituency of Richmond (Yorks), was, literally and politically, making himself at home at the weekend.
He is living at Sir Leon’s country home in Spennithorne, near by, while Britain’s new EEC Commissioner settles into a town house in Brussels. On Saturday Mr Hague, who was selected as prospective parliamentary candidate from 363 applicants, took constituency surgeries.
Was it not being over-confident, even with a 19,567 majority bequeathed by Sir Leon who represented Richmond for five years?
“I am not being presumptuous or taking anything for granted. I just wanted to be as helpful as I can to constituents.”
Mr Hague, whose family runs a soft drinks company in South Yorkshire, is aged 27. He has a schoolboy fresh face and fine blond hair but a liking for “country” sports jackets and cavalry twills a “young fogey”, someone said.
He has been a political “name” for some time. Eleven years ago, at the Conservative Party conference at Blackpool and aged only 16, he delivered a barnstorming speech that had the faithful, including Mrs Margaret Thatcher, on their feet. Here, she enthused, was the future of the party.
Such praise, Mr Hague reflected, could be a double-edge sword. “It has its assets and disadvantages. It was all 11 years ago and I thought then, as I do now, that it was all blown out of proportion.”
He contested a Labour seat in South Yorkshire at the last general election and took some pride in increasing the Conservative vote.
Mr Hague emphasizes that he is taking nothing for granted and will fight the seat as if he had a majority of one.
So far candidates have been selected by Labour, the Democrats, SDP and the Greens.
General election: Mr Leon Brittan (C) 34,995; Mr David Lloyd-Williams (L/All) 15,419; Mr Frank Robson (Lab) 6,737. Majority: 19,576.
Daily Mail, August 8th, 1995
Nigel Dempster, ‘Hague brings back the Birch’
JUST as cynics were beginning to despair that not very Welsh Secretary William Hague would ever find a woman to share his elation at becoming the youngest Cabinet member, an old flame has re-appeared on the scene.
Wonderboy William (whose idea of fun is to go hillwalking with Sir Leon Brittan) has been stepping out with an old schoolfriend from Wath-upon-Dearne Comprehensive in Yorkshire called Kim Birch.
At 34 she is the same age as the MP for Richmond.
‘William and Kim have had an on-off relationship for the past ten years,’ says a chum. ‘She recently went with him for a short tour of America and some of us did wonder if they would return engaged. But they didn’t.’
When William dated his last girlfriend, Barbara Kyriakou, four years ago (the relationship lasted a year) some sceptics wondered if the liaison could be cannily political – she was, after all, PA to John Major’s then PPS, Sir Graham Bright. Kim, however, has absolutely nothing to do with politics: she is a secretary in a firm of accountants. In which case it must be love.
The Sunday Times, June 15th, 1997
Michael Crick, ‘Just William?’
The Times, September 6th, 2014.
Frances Gibb and Laura Pitel, ‘London’s lord mayor to chair sex abuse inquiry’
The lord mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, is to be chairwoman of the government’s independent inquiry into historical child sex abuse.
The long-awaited appointment of Mrs Woolf, a leading corporate lawyer, comes after Baroness Butler-Sloss stepped down in July following concerns over potential conflicts of interest arising from the fact that her brother, Lord Havers, was attorney-general at the time of some of the events to be investigated.
Mrs Woolf, a former president of the Law Society and only the second woman mayor of the City of London, is widely liked and respected. However there are concerns about her lack of experience in family or criminal law — although that will be mitigated by the knowledge members of her team have.
It also emerged that she is the President of TheCityUK’s Advisory Council and Lord Brittan, the former home secretary who is likely to be investigated as part of the inquiry, is a member of that council.
Lord Brittan is at the centre of a furore about the way the Home Office handled a dossier on child sex abuse by senior politicians when he was in charge of the department. The dossier was subsequently lost.
A Whitehall source said that the Home Office had approached a series of other candidates with more experience than Mrs Woolf but many had been deterred by the level of public scrutiny faced by Lady Butler-Sloss before her resignation.
Professor Alexis Jay, author of the recent report into abuse in Rotherham, will act as an expert adviser to the panel, said the Home Office, and Ben Emmerson, the leading criminal and human rights QC, will serve as counsel to the inquiry.
Also on Mrs Woolf’s team is Graham Wilmer, a child sexual abuse victim and founder of the Lantern Project, and Barbara Hearn, the former deputy head of the National Children’s Bureau.
The inquiry will examine how the country’s institutions handled their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse over a period of decades.
Originally posted on cathyfox:
Tales from Scottish Legal La La Land
(update 7 June 2014 Robert was not even handing the leaflets out at the time – he only had them in his bag)
(last updated 20 April 2014 Roberts health is poor, needs hospital – see end of article)
A man was arrested on Valentines Day and is still in jail on remand in Scotland, with bail having been refused on 3 occasions [99a] . What is it about this softly spoken genteel 68 year old man that has caused the Scottish establishment to arrange his incarceration for the second time?
What is the connection between this mans imprisonment and the following?
Four Sheriffs and…
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Absolutely essential reading – clarifies the links between Louis Minster, former director of Social Services at Richmond at the time of the Elm Guest House Scandal, Barbara Kahan, leading figure in the social work profession and at one point Minster’s boss, and Peter Righton, the paedophile who corrupted the whole profession.
Originally posted on Bits of Books, Mostly Biographies:
Barbara Kahan pioneered the development of social work in UK with children and families, taking it on as a career from 1948 and its very inception. From the point at which she took her first post at Dudley in 1948 as Children’s Officer where she created its first local authority children’s home to spending 1951 – 1970 building Oxfordshire’s cohesive approach to social services, working closely with her husband an Oxford based child psychiatrist, managing Louis Minster (9 years before he was to become Director of Social Services at Richmond), as County Care Child Officer for Oxfordshire in the mid 1960s to taking opinion from Peter Righton report on Staffordshire’s Pin Down regime in the 1991 report and championing distance learning education particularly for residential children’s care workers – a special interest of Righton’s.
Due to Kahan’s pioneering role, she is a person around which others have pivoted in their…
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