Feasibility of a new UK centre party? And other Brexit-related thoughts

There has been a lot of activity during the last week, mostly on Twitter, but also a few related newspaper articles, emanating from comments by James Chapman, former Daily Mail political editor, who worked for a while for George Osborne as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and then as chief of staff at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) under Secretary of State David Davis. To cut a long story short, Chapman has been arguing that the Tory Party has been taken over by extremists aiming for a hard Brexit, and saying that Brexit will be a calamity for the country and the party, who may never win power again. He has called for the founding of a new pro-European party to be called The Democrats.

Chapman has claimed that several senior former and two serving Cabinet ministers have contacted him to express interest (though it is important to note his caveat ‘They are not saying they are going to quit their parties’), noting that 60% of the Tory parliamentary party backed Remain. And, significantly, he has given a date of 9th September 2017 to be at Parliament Square, saying ‘I promise some very special guests’. No leading politicians have yet openly declared support, though one might glean sympathies from two articles this morning. Former Labour MP and defeated leadership candidate David Miliband wrote in The Observer today about how Brexit will be an ‘unparalleled act of economic self-harm’ and called for a second referendum (or a vote in Parliament) on the choice between remaining in the EU or the alternative after negotiations, echoing a call made by Tony Blair in October 2016. At the same, Tory MP Anna Soubry, something of a hero of anti-Brexiteers since her endearing appearance and frank statements on the election documentary Brexit Means Brexit, wrote in the Mail on Sunday a quite startling piece attacking the ‘Hard Brexiteers’ (though saying she still respects the referendum result), and saying ‘I would be betraying my principles if I did not make it clear that country must always come before party’. Also this morning, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond have jointly declared, presumably in an attempt to override talk of major cabinet divisions, that the UK will definitely leave the EU, single market and customs union when Article 50 expires in March 2019, while also making clear their support for a transition deal from this point, though stressing that this must not be indefinite, or some ‘back door’ to staying in the EU. Fox has been considered one of the most pro-Leave members of the cabinet, Hammond one of the most pro-Remain, or at least ‘Soft Brexiteers’. Interestingly, Soubry tweeted this morning that the statement by Hammond and Fox ‘shows the need to form #Brexit consensus which Hammond is leading’, perhaps a qualified support for the cabinet member to whom she feels closest, though falling short of unequivocal endorsement.

There had been talk of a new party earlier this year: in May it was claimed that various donors were approaching Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change with a view to launching a breakaway movement which could attract some non- or anti-Corbynite Labour MPs, with talk of 100 such MPs resigning the whip and joining the new party. That was of course before the general election on 8th June, resulting in a hung parliament and a better-than-expected result for Corbyn’s Labour. Nonetheless, a report in the Sunday Times from the beginning of July (reproduced here) suggested that if Corbynites went ahead with deselection of centrist Labour MPs (with which some have already been threatened), then that could be a trigger for a number to leave to join a new party. This story was based upon sources said to be close to Blair, and hints were given that David Miliband might be a credible figure for a senior role in such a party.

Since Chapman’s first statements and tweets appeared, there have been a variety of left-of-centre voices considering the implications of a new party. Former SDP member and then Blairite advisor and then Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis (and staunch anti-Brexiteer) claimed a new party would indeed be much like the old SDP, and would achieve little more than to split the left and help the Tories, a view also echoed by Owen Jones, on the other wing of the party.  Corbynite journalist and Brexiteer Paul Mason, responding to those who had looked to the success of Emmanuel Macron in France as a model for a new centrist force, said that a new party would be ‘a liberal Tory party. The party of Notting Hill and Canary Wharf; the party of free market economics, globalised finance and social liberalism’ and would likely split the Tories rather than Labour. One might have imagined this to be an outcome Mason would have welcomed, not least in light of his earlier suggestion to the Progress faction that they ‘do a Macron’, but he suggested this would provide little more than ‘an emotional comfort blanket’ as global neo-liberalism withers.

However, political scientist and historian Tim Bale notes various questions relating to a new party, asking what such a new party would which is not already provided by the Liberal Democrats, whether existing anti-Brexit MPs would be better to pursue cross-party strategies, whether it is possible to ‘break the mould’ of British politics as SDP co-founder Roy Jenkins once claimed, in light of the UK electoral system which is unfavourable to third parties. However, he also argues that even if unable to achieve electoral victory, a new party could have an effect upon the policies of others, giving as previous examples of such a phenomenon the SDP pushing Labour towards a more centrist and pro-European stance such as won Blair a massive victory in 1997, or UKIP pushing the Tories towards a more overt and pervasive Euroscepticism.

Various issues occur to me immediately in terms of a new centre party and what it might achieve. The first relates to whether it could actually bring down the Tory/DUP quasi-coalition (for the purposes of confidence and supply issues in Parliament). The June election produced the following results: Tories 317, Labour 262, SNP 35, Liberal Democrats 12, DUP 10, Sinn Féin 7, Plaid Cymru 4, Greens 1, Independent Unionist 1, Speaker 1. So the Tories with the DUP have 327 seats; the others (without Sinn Féin, who will not take up their seats, or the Speaker) have 316. In a vote of confidence, I believe all the others, with the possible exception of the Independent Unionist Sylvia Hermon, would vote against the government. If 6 Tory MPs were to join a new party, or resign the party whip, that could leave the Tories + DUP with 321 votes, the others with 322. If Hermon voted with the government, they would win with 322 to 321; if she abstained, then the Speaker would use his casting vote, and support the government. So the new Democrats would have to capture seven Tory MPs to be sure of being able to bring down the government in a confidence vote, leading to a new general election in which they could fight most seats.

I do not believe this is likely at present. It is possible that Soubry (who in her mid-20s defected from the Conservatives to the SDP) and maybe one or two others (some possible candidates might be Kenneth Clarke, Nicky Morgan or Nicholas Soames, but it would be a huge step for any of these) might be prepared to take the ‘nuclear option’ and leave their party, but to gain a whole seven would require a true sense of a party in crisis.

The situation as regards Tories jumping ship is interesting to compare to that in early 1981, when just one Tory MP, Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, joined the new Social Democratic Party (like Soubry, though it would be 29 years before she would become an MP), following the Limehouse Declaration of 23rd January 1981 . In 1981 the Tories had a clear majority (which would increase significantly in 1983). Their government’s reputation did look shaky, and Thatcher’s net popularity, pre-Falklands, was low as unemployment rose sharp, so that by the end of the year  she was declared the most unpopular Prime Minister since polling began. Furthermore, Labour remained consistently ahead in the polls right from the time of the 1979 election (peaking, as might surprise some, soon after Michael Foot became leader in November 1980), though this all changed after the Falklands War in 1982, when the Tories’ support soared from the mid-20s to the high 40s. This could not however have been predicted in early 1981. The Conservatives looked weak in the polls, though this was not an uncommon mid-term situation. They did not face something of such shattering impact as Brexit, nor rely upon another party in order to have a majority in the House of Commons. Thus I would argue that the situation was less serious then, and the incentives for Tory MPs to leave the party correspondingly fewer.

How about the situation for the other parties in early 1981? The Liberal Party then had 11 MPs, down from 13 prior to 1979; they would also go on to win Croydon North West from the Conservatives in October 1981, and Bermondsey from Labour in February 1983. The party had recently suffered a terrible blow with the trial in 1979 of their former leader Jeremy Thorpe on charges of having organised the murder of his homosexual lover. Even though he was acquitted, his refusal to give evidence and the general aspects of his lifestyle revealed in the trial meant his reputation was destroyed, with wider harm for the party as a whole, during a period when public opinion was considerably more homophobic than today. David Steel had taken over as leader in 1976 and tried to restore the party’s reputation, in which he was relatively successful, taking it into the Lib-Lab Pact of 1977-78, but the trial itself caused much strain. So the party was not in a strong situation. However, today we have a situation in which just two years ago, in the 2015 General Elections, the Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg suffered the worst percentage loss of seats of any UK centre party since 1918, down a previous 57 to just 8. They won the seat of Richmond Park in a by-election forced by the sitting Tory MP Zac Goldsmith in December 2016, but Goldsmith won this back in June 2017. Otherwise, under leader (now ex-leader) Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats went up to 12 seats, a modest gain but still a very long way from the numbers they had under leaders Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy. It is hard to see yet any sign that under Vince Cable – widely remembered as a major figure in the Tory/Lib Dem coalition, and the man who trebled tuition fees – as leader, this situation would change. By contrast, when Steel was leader, it was not since the 1920s that they had experienced huge losses. Also, the Lib-Lab confidence and supply agreement, lasting 18 months, was of a different order to the five-year full Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition of 2010-15, which has left many on the left with a visceral disdain and distrust for the latter party, which will take time to shake, especially as the current leader was at the centre of that coalition.

So, the Liberal Democrats are in a relatively weak position, Somewhat more so than in the early 1980s. This just might be enough to prevent a re-run of the events of the 1980s, in which the SDP and Liberals fought two elections in an alliance, then after the 1987 election the former part split down the middle over the issue of a merger. This merger was supported by Steel and most in the Liberals, and various up-and-coming SDP politicians including Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, and veterans such as Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins. On the other side was SDP leader David Owen, with a group of acolytes including MPs John Cartwright and Rosie Barnes, who maintained his own separate SDP following the merger in 1988. This led to the two parties running rival candidates in by-elections, most notably in that in Richmond (North Yorkshire) in February 1989, in which the votes of the two rival centre parties together exceeded those for the Tory candidate (future leader William Hague), but the division of the centre let the Tories through. Following disaster in the May 1990 Bootle by-election, the Owenite SDP was wound up. The situation was not plain-sailing for the new Liberal Democrats, though: they first had problems with their name, beginning as the ‘Social and Liberal Democrats’, then adopting ‘Democrats’ as a shorter version (so anticipating the new party, and alluding to the American party), before settling on ‘Liberal Democrats’ in October 1989 after heated debates in which leading figures very publicly disagreed. Prior to this, they had suffered a terrible set of results in the 1989 European Elections, gaining only one-third of the votes of the Green Party. But Ashdown was able to hold the new party together and eventually more than double their representation in the 1997 General Election, helped by a new wave of tactical voting (which held up until 2015, as Nick Clegg discovered to his immense cost).

Could we see a similar course of events, with the new Democrats in the place of the old SDP? The moderately greater weakness of the Liberal Democrats today might result in some differences, but I cannot see why these would be that significant. A small number of Tory MPs might join the party, and a few from Labour, at present. The election result, and the power of party members, has consolidated Corbyn’s position, so that those who leave are unlikely to ever find a way back in, at least for a long time. However, if deselections begin, this situation might change.

I also find it hard to imagine that Labour under Corbyn could win an overall majority (from which they were well-short in June) in a future election, especially now that the triangulation witnessed during the election campaign – managing to convince some Northern Leave voters on one hand, and Southern middle-class Remainers on the other, that Labour was on their side – is unravelling. This has been clear ever since Corbyn sacked three shadow ministers for voting for a Queen’s speech amendment calling for the UK to remain in the customs union and single market. But there is no obvious rival for party leader likely to win enough support in the party as a whole. Because of the membership, even if Corbyn does eventually stand down, perhaps following another election loss, his successor may be another similarly-minded candidate. With this in mind, it would probably make sense for the likes of Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Stephen Kinnock or Hilary Benn to leave for a new party, especially if supported by Blair and Miliband, but I cannot see them doing so without a wave of deselection. Just this weekend, Andrew Grice argued that unless Corbyn opposes Brexit, then he will be unable to retain the support of many who who might shift their allegiance to a new party. This may be true of voters, but Labour party tribalism should not be underestimated.

But there are other factors to consider. It is very far from a foregone conclusion that a transitional agreement will be agreed by the other 27 EU nations (all of whom must agree unanimously for it to be possible). And this will not come without a price, quite literally. A week ago, it was reported that the UK was prepared to pay a £36bn bill for exiting the EU, provided the negotiators would talk about trade (contradicting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s remark a few weeks previously that the EU leaders could ‘go whistle’ if they expected any such ‘divorce bill’ to be paid). However, immediately following the publicisation of this figure, various Tory Eurosceptics responded angrily and claimed that such an action would be impossible to sell to voters, and Downing Street rejected the claim that they were prepared to pay the £36bn. The Eurosceptics may be right, but I do not believe the EU will take trade, transition, or anything else until the UK government agrees a figure (Michel Barnier made this clear in July). We are informed that the government is about to publish a range of key position papers on various Brexit issues, but it is far from clear if the divorce bill will be included.

One other option has been touted by leading anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, who has suggested that instead of a transitional agreement, we should be looking for an extension of the timetable for exit, but as one person has pointed out, it is hard to see how this would be possible with EU elections forthcoming in May/June 2019. For the UK to be part of these would be a huge leap that even some ‘soft Brexiteers’ would find difficult to back, at least to their constituents and local parties.

I think the government will realise soon that it has two options: either to agree a figure, at least for negotiations, in advance, or else have to exit the talks without any agreement. This may come as soon as the Tory Conference at the beginning of October, at which we are told today Theresa May will attempt a ‘mea culpa’ about the election result, in an attempt to hold onto her job. But I do not believe this will be any more successful than Ian Duncan Smith’s ‘quiet man turning up the volume’ speech in 2003, soon after which he was deposed. May looks a weak and wounded Prime Minister, lacking authority, only remaining in place because of lack of a clear successor. If she commits to a Brexit divorce bill, I believe there will be moves against her following the conference, as have been predicted by others, and many Eurosceptic Tories in the constituency parties will put their weight behind an alternative candidate. It is not inconceivable that they might support Jacob Rees-Mogg, who today is said to be considering his options, a result which would be as ground-changing for the Tories as Corbyn was for Labour. I cannot imagine Soubry, Clarke and various others being able to remain in a party led by him, even less so than when it was led by Duncan Smith.

So, in conclusion: a new party might attract some small number of defectors, but will probably become embroiled in a competition for the centre with the Liberal Democrats; as anticipated by Bale, it may have an emboldening impact upon anti-Brexiteers in the two main parties; if the Tories elect a highly right-wing leader like Rees-Mogg (or Andrea Leadsom), more MPs might be prepared to defect, as would be the case for Labour if they begin deselections, or back hard Brexit. And above all, the decisive moment in the Brexit negotiations is about to come, I believe. Either a bill will be agreed, or negotiations will come to a halt, and a hard Brexit without a transitional agreement will be a foregone conclusion.

I am unsure if there exists such a thing as a ‘soft Brexit’ other than entering into an EEA agreement in the manner of Norway, thus remaining in the single market, but a hard Brexit would be the worst possible outcome, and fatal for the UK. At present I see no evidence that either Labour or the Tories have any strategy to avoid this. It is time for all right-thinking politicians in all parties to accept that this matters more than party loyalties. I can personally no longer support Labour (or my local MP, Corbyn) while he maintains essentially supporting Brexit, and would welcome the new party. A second referendum is desperately needed, with much more information about what a post-Brexit Britain will actually entail made available to the voting public. I await 9th September with great interest.

 

 

 

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Labour can and must win in England alone – and has done so several times before

The loss of all but one Labour seat in Scotland to the SNP appears to have sent shockwaves down the political establishment, as if Scotland were a much larger part of the United Kingdom – in terms of population and seats – than it actually is. It’s time for some perspective in terms of figures:

There are currently 650 seats in the whole of the United Kingdom. 18 of these are in Northern Ireland and are generally uncontested by the major parties in the mainland. This leaves 632 for England, Scotland and Wales. Of these, 533 are in England, 59 are in Scotland, 40-in Wales. England has nine times the number of seats of the next largest region.

In 2015, the breakdown of seats in the three constituent parts of the mainland were as follows:

Total: Conservatives 330, Labour 232, SNP 56, Lib Dems 8, UKIP 1, Green 1, Speaker 1

England: Conservatives 318, Labour 206, Lib Dems 6, UKIP 1, Green 1, Speaker 1
Scotland: SNP 56, Labour 1, Conservatives 1, Lib Dems 1
Wales: Labour 25, Conservatives 11, Plaid Cymru 3, Lib Dems 1

Labour continue to have a clear commanding lead in Wales; there is not at present any sign of Plaid Cymru making major advances comparable to the SNP, though of course this situation may change. The Conservatives, however, have an overall majority in England of 107 seats. Were Labour to recapture 20 seats in Scotland (which would now be a significant gain), say, they would still be a long way from denting the Conservatives majority in England.

But Labour have achieved this before. Consider these results in England alone:

1945: Labour 331, Conservatives 159, Liberals 5, Labour Independent 1, Independent Conservative 1, Common Wealth 1, Communist 1, Independent 3
1950: Labour 251, Conservatives 242, Liberals 2, National Liberals and Conservatives 4, Conservatives and Liberals 2, Conservatives and Natural Liberals 2, Liberals and Conservatives 1, National Liberals 1,
1951: Conservatives 259, Labour 233, Liberals 2, Conservatives and Liberals 2, Conservatives and National Liberals 2, Liberals and Conservatives 3, National Liberals and Conservatives 5
1955: Conservatives 279, Labour 216, Liberals 2, Conservatives and Liberals 2, Conservatives and National Liberals, Liberals and Conservatives 3, National Liberals and Conservatives 5
1959: Conservatives 302, Labour 193, Liberals 3, Conservatives and Liberals 2, Conservatives and National Liberals 6, Liberals and Conservatives 2, National Liberals and Conservatives 3
1964: Conservatives 255, Labour 245, Liberals 3, Conservatives and National Liberals 4, National Liberals and Conservatives 2, Speaker 1
1966: Labour 285, Conservatives 216, Liberals 6, Conservatives and National Liberals 2, National Liberals and Conservatives 1, Speaker 1
1970: Conservatives 292, Labour 216, Liberals 2, Speaker 1
February 1974: Conservatives 267, Labour 237, Liberals 9, Independent Labour 1, Social Democrat 1, Speaker 1
October 1974: Labour 255, Conservatives 252, Liberals 8, Speaker 1
1979: Conservatives 306, Labour 203, Liberals 7
1983: Conservatives 362, Labour 148, Liberals 10, SDP 3
1987: Conservatives 357, Labour 155, Liberals 7, SDP 3, Speaker 1
1992: Conservatives 319, Labour 195, Lib Dems 10
1997: Labour 329, Conservatives 165, Lib Dems 34, Independent 1
2001: Labour 323, Conservatives 165, Lib Dems 40, Independent 1
2005: Labour 286, Conservatives 194, Lib Dems 47, Respect 1, Independent 1
2010: Conservatives 297, Labour 191, Lib Dems 43, Green 1, Speaker 1
2015: Conservatives 318, Labour 206, Lib Dems 6, UKIP 1, Green 1, Speaker 1

(Figures taken from the UK Politics Resources site)

In five of the eight elections since 1945 in which Labour won a majority nationwide, they also won an overall majority in England. The exceptions are 1950, when the Conservatives together with associated conservative parties had a total of 252 to Labour’s 251 in England, and Labour’s overall majority in the country was just 6 seats; 1964, when Labour had a nationwide majority of only 5, excluding the Speaker; and October 1974, when Labour had a nationwide majority of only 4. Attlee in 1945 and Blair in 1997 and 2001 won commanding three figure overall majorities in England alone; Wilson in 1966 had a respectable majority of 59, and Blair in 2005 also had a perfectly serviceable majority of 45.

Furthermore, in 1945, 1997 and 2001 Labour had an overall majority in the whole of the country on the basis of its English seats alone; in 1966 it would have scraped one from its seats in England and Wales (317 out of 630). 2005 was different, however; then the total of seats in England and Wales was 315, which would still have made it the largest party by a comfortable margin, but not able to command an overall majority in the UK if the SNP had performed like they did in 2015.

Labour can win, and win decisively in England; being able to do so is key to their winning a comfortable overall majority in the country again.


The rises and falls of the centre parties in the UK since 1918

It is quite informative to look at the plight of the Liberal Democrats in the 2015 General Election and compare it with previous elections since 1918.

During World War One, the Liberal Party split between the mainstream party, led by Herbert Asquith, and a breakaway faction run by David Lloyd George, who was much closer to Conservative thinking on the war and headed a coalition as Prime Minister from 1916, mostly made up from Conservatives. In the 1918 election, two rival parties fought: the Coalition Liberals (Coalition Lib) under Lloyd George, and the Liberals under Asquith. The two Liberal Parties won 163 seats between them, as follows:

1918: Coalition Con, 332; Coalition Lib (Lloyd George), 127; Labour 57, Con 47, Lib (Asquith) 36, Sinn Fein 73.

In the next election, in 1922, the Coalition Liberals became the National Liberals, and together they won in total 115 seats; at the same time Labour significantly increased their representation. Labour under Ramsay MacDonald did even better in 1923, though a reunited Liberal Party under Asquith went back up to 158, at the expense of the Conservatives. The following year, following a successful motion of no confidence against a Labour minority government, the Conservatives made massive gains, with a cataclysmic loss of 118 seats for Asquith’s Liberals. No centre party has ever made a really significant come-back from this 1924 result. Labour took a great many Conservative seats in 1929 and then the reverse situation happened in 1931, with Labour suffering the worst ever defeat in its history, losing 241 seats and reduced to a rump of just 46. But Labour was able to come back and win a moderately respectable 154 seats in 1935 under Clement Attlee, who would of course lead the party to historic victory in 1945. 1931 for Labour was not like 1924 for the Liberals, who made only modest gains to 59 seats in 1929, and split again over the calling of an election at the outset of the Great Depression. The Liberals under Herbert Samuel chose to remain within the National Government, whilst Lloyd George split from it, and another grouping under John Simon was formed in support of Conservative protectionist policies as against free trade from the other two factions. Between the three factions a total of 72 seats were won. In 1935 the Liberal vote plummeted again to 21, with Samuel himself losing his seat (a precedent, also matched by Archibald Sinclair in 1945, of which Nick Clegg is sure to have been aware, and must have been glad to have avoided).

1922: Con 344, Lab 142, Lib (Asquith) 62, National Lib (Lloyd George) 53
1923: Con 258, Lab 191, Lib (Asquith) 158
1924: Con 412, Lab 151, Lib (Asquith) 40
1929: Lab 287, Con 260, Lib (Lloyd George) 59
1931: Con 470, Lab 46, Liberal National (John Simon) 35, Lib (Herbert Samuel) 33, National Labour (MacDonald) 13, Independent Liberal (Lloyd George) 4
1935: Con 386, Lab 154, Lib (Samuel) 21

The first four decades after World War Two saw a long period in the wilderness for the Liberals, never rising to more than 14 MPs prior to 1983, and in several elections falling to just 6. Archibald Sinclair, who served in the wartime government, oversaw the fall of the party to 12 seats in 1945 and the loss of his own seat (like Samuel before him), but his successor Clement Davies did even worse in three miserable elections with 9, 6, and 6 seats. Jo Grimond did little better after taking over the leadership in 1956; the most he could muster was 12 seats in 1966, but then Jeremy Thorpe, who took over the following year, took the party back down to 6 seats again. However, the uncertain elections of 1974, only the second of which produced a wafer-thin majority for Labour, benefited the Liberals a little, gaining 14 and 13 seats respectively. David Steel managed to avoid the complete disintegration of the party following Thorpe’s resignation and subsequent trial for conspiracy to murder, and they held onto 11 seats in 1979.

1945: Lab 393, Con 197, Lib (Archibald Sinclair) 12
1950: Lab 315, Con 282, Lib (Clement Davies) 9
1951: Con 321, Lab 295, Lib (Davies), 6
1955: Con 344, Lab 277, Lib (Davies) 6
1959: Con 365, Lab 258, Lib (Jo Grimond) 6
1964: Lab 317, Con 304, Lib (Grimond) 9
1966: Lab 364, Con 253, Lib (Grimond) 12
1970: Con 330, Lab 288, Lib (Jeremy Thorpe) 6
Feb 1974: Lab 301, Con 297, Lib (Thorpe) 14
Oct 1974: Lab 319, Con 277, Lib (Thorpe) 13
1979: Con 339, Lab 269, Lib (David Steel) 11

The achievements of David Steel, Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy should not be underestimated in terms of building a solid third force in British politics. Not only did Steel manage to hold the Liberal Party intact following the Thorpe resignation, but he also formed an electoral alliance with the new Social Democratic Party which broke away from the right wing of Labour in 1981. Together, the SDP-Liberal Alliance won 25.4% of the vote in the 1983 election, not much less than the disastrous 27.6% achieved by Labour under Michael Foot, but the first-past-the-post electoral system translated this into 23 seats for the SDP-Liberals as compared to 209 for Labour. Running as a tighter alliance under the joint leadership of Steel and David Owen in 1987, they nonetheless did not gain seats and lost one.

1983: Con 397, Lab 209, Lib (Steel) 17, SDP (Roy Jenkins) 6
1987: Con 376, Lab 229, SDP-Liberal Alliance (David Owen, David Steel) 22

Very soon after the 1987 election, Steel proposed a merger between the parties, which was supported by the vast majority of Liberals but bitterly split the SDP, with their leader David Owen amongst those most strongly opposed. Nonetheless, the merger went ahead, and Paddy Ashdown became the new leader, the party eventually deciding upon a name of Liberal Democrats (previously Social and Liberal Democrats). A rump SDP of anti-merger members, led by Owen, continued for two years and contested various by-elections (including an important one in 1989 in Richmond, Yorkshire, caused by the appointment of Leon Brittan to the European Commission; the Social Liberal Democrats and Owenite SDP between them gained more votes than the Conservative winner, future leader William Hague), but eventually wound themselves up in 1990 during financial difficulties, whilst a smaller rump of anti-merger Liberals never achieved any real profile.

In the 1992 election, won with a small majority by John Major’s Conservatives against the predictions of pollsters, Ashdown actually lost two seats (and vote share fell from 22.6% to 17.8%), taking the party down to 20, much bruised by the previous five years, the wounds they had created and a good deal of ridicule in the media. However, Major’s government went from crisis to crisis from the withdrawal of sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on ‘Black Wednesday’, September 16th 1992, onwards, and then was mired in a series of scandals, sexual and financial, as well as major party division, with a small anti-EU faction holding great power as Major’s majority dwindled. In 1997, despite the immense popularity of Labour leader Tony Blair, the combination of massive Tory unpopularity with the experience of four Tory election victories made many extremely cautious, and thus prepared to take part in an unprecedented amount of anti-Tory tactical voting. Ashdown’s Liberal Democrats actually fell in terms of percentage share of votes (from 17.8% to 16.8%), but this tactical concentration led to a near doubling of seats. Exactly how much this is down to Ashdown, how much to wider political trends essentially independent of his particular leadership, is unclear, but certainly the party’s position rose during his leadership. His successor, Charles Kennedy, achieved an increase to 52 seats (and 18.3% of the vote) in 2001, and an enviable 62 (with 22.0% of the vote) in 2005. Kennedy’s tenure has been marred by his resignation in 2006, at the age of 47, with reports of his drinking problem (though that was never a problem for Winston Churchill), and now he has ignominously lost his seat to the SNP. But it should not be forgotten that, even in the face of a seemingly impregnable Labour Party under Blair, he took his party to a representation they had not seen since the 1930s. Furthermore, he was the one senior Lib Dem figure to oppose the coalition in 2010, a position which with hindsight looks extremely wise.

1992: Con 336, Lab 271, Lib Dem (Ashdown) 20
1997: Lab 418, Con 165, Lib Dem (Ashdown) 46
2001: Lab 413, Con 166, Lib Dem (Charles Kennedy) 52
2005: Lab 355, Con 198, Lib Dem (Kennedy) 62

Kennedy’s successor Menzies Campbell was found to be uninspiring, and only remained leader for a little over 18 months, before being succeeded by Eurocrat Nick Clegg (with Campbell’s deputy Vince Cable acting in a transitional leadership role for two months). Following a strong media campaign in support of Clegg, and performance in television debates which was widely admired, certainly in comparison to an unpopular Labour incumbent in Gordon Brown, Clegg achieved a smaller than expected 1% rise in votes, whose distribution actually meant a loss of five seats to 57. But this was little commented-upon as the hung parliament led to the Tory/Lib Dem coalition. But the result from this week took his party to just 14.0% of their seats in 2010.

2010: Con 306, Lab 258, Lib Dem (Nick Clegg) 57
2015: Con 331, Lab 232, Lib Dem (Clegg) 8, SNP 56

Nick Clegg has completely undone the achievements of Steel, Ashdown and Kennedy, and pulled off the unenviable feat of a percentage loss of seats which exceeds even that achieved by Arthur Henderson for Labour in 1931, and a worse percentage loss for the centre parties than in any other election since 1918. In terms of numbers of seats, he has taken the party back to the types of numbers associated with Clement Davies in the 1950s or Jeremy Thorpe in 1970. He can at least console himself with the fact of holding onto Sheffield Hallam and thus avoiding the fate of John Samuel and Archibald Sinclair when they were Liberal leader (and Henderson as Labour leader in 1931).


Full set of reports from the 1991 Frank Beck Trial #1

Below is a long series of reports from the 1991 Leicestershire trial of Frank Beck, which I believe may be very important in coming times. All names of victims, published at the time and appearing in the articles on Nexis, have been redacted. Subsequent reports will appear in another post later.


The Independent
(London)

June 24, 1991, Monday

Children’s home staff charged in abuse inquiry

BYLINE: By JACK O’SULLIVAN, Social Services Correspondent

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 2

LENGTH: 494 words

THE LARGEST case involving allegations of sexual and physical abuse in children’s homes has emerged in Leicestershire, after an 18-month police investigation spanning three continents.

A former social worker who was responsible for three of the county’s children’s homes has been charged with 29 offences against children relating to allegations of serious sexual and physical abuse over 12 years.

The allegations follow a police investigation extending to the United States, Europe and the Middle East to trace former residents of the home. Two other former staff face related charges.

Many former residents have come forward to allege that between 1974 and 1986 they suffered abuse including buggery, actual bodily harm, gross indecency and physical assault. Some former members of staff claim they also suffered abuse.

Det Insp Kelvin Ashby, who is leading the Leicestershire police investigation, said last night that it was the largest case that he had heard of involving abuse allegations in children’s homes.

The main charges are against Frank Beck, 49, who between 1974 and 1986 was officer in charge variously of Rose Hill home, Market Harborough, Ratcliffe Road home, Leicester, and The Beeches, Leicester Forest East.

They were community homes with educational facilities, each catering for 12 to 15 teenage boys and girls in local authority care. The Beeches was the last of the three to close, in January.

Peter Martin Jaynes, 42, deputy officer in charge at Ratcliffe Road, when the offences are alleged to have occurred, has been charged with three lesser connected offences. George Charles Lincoln, 39, former deputy officer in charge at The Beeches and Rose Hill, faces one charge.

The trial of the three men is due to start at Leicester Crown Court on 16 September, and is expected to last six to eight weeks. Mr Jaynes and Mr Lincoln have been bailed and Mr Beck has been remanded in custody. None of the men has worked for the local authority since 1986.

A former resident approached the police early last year and named other alleged victims. After that, the case is said to have snowballed. Some former residents are in their thirties, with children of their own.

Brian Waller, Leicestershire’s social services director, said last night: ”I cannot comment on the trial. What I can state with confidence is that Leicestershire’s community homes currently provide a safe environment for children in care.”

The Government is revising draft guidelines after last month’s ”pin-down” inquiry into solitary confinement in Staffordshire children’s homes. It found that two members of a paedophile ring had visited two of the homes.

The Home Office and the Department of Health are discussing proposals for better access to police records on people convicted of sexual offences living near children’s homes.

The National Children’s Bureau is holding a conference in London today to discuss the future of residential care.


Press Association

September 11, 1991, Wednesday

SECTION: HOME NEWS

LENGTH: 128 words

The Crown Prosecution Service has issued the following note for the guidance of editors on behalf of the Attorney General’s Chambers: “The attention of the Attorney General has been drawn to the publication of material said to be contained in reports by Barry Newell about his findings after an inquiry into Leicestershire Social Services. “Editors should be aware that the trial of Frank Beck and two others, who were charged following a separate police investigation, is due to commence on Monday September 16 1991 at Leicester Crown Court. “The Attorney General wishes to remind editors of their obligation not at any time to publish material which gives rise to a substantial risk of serious prejudice in the proceedings. “Further inquiries: 071 828 7155.


The Times

September 27, 1991, Friday

Woman and two men accuse care officer of sex abuse

BYLINE: Craig Seton

SECTION: Home news

LENGTH: 410 words

A SENIOR child care officer accused of sexually abusing children was alleged to have argued with a boy about visiting ”a man called Greville Janner”, Leicester crown court was told.

Giving evidence on Monday, the fifth day of the trial, a woman, now aged 31, claimed that she had heard an argument between the boy and Frank Beck, the officer in charge of the Ratcliffe Road children’s home in Leicester. The woman, who alleged that she had been repeatedly raped by Mr Beck when she was aged about 15, was asked by Peter Joyce, QC, for the prosecution, whether she had ever heard arguments between Mr Beck and any boys at the home.

She told the court: ”Frank Beck and Mr A arguing about Greville Janner. He (Mr Beck) was not going to let him go and visit Greville Janner.”

The woman was cross-examined on Tuesday by John Black, for Mr Beck. He asked her: ”It was an argument, wasn’t it, about him going off to see a man called Greville Janner?” The woman replied: ”He was shouting to Paul that he wasn’t going to see Greville Janner any more.” Mr Black asked the woman if Mr A used to boast about being a rent boy. She replied: ”When he first came to the home, yes he did.”

The woman had claimed that she had faked pains to have an appendix operation to escape sexual abuse: ”I just wanted to get away. I was certain I would be able to tell someone and never go back, but it didn’t work.”

She told the court from behind a screen that she was petrified of Mr Beck because he had threatened to send her back to a psychiatric unit. She said that Mr Beck had had sexual contact with her about 30 times.

Some of the adults who were children when they were allegedly abused broke down when they gave evidence from behind a screen. Their evidence was relayed from a camera in front of the witness stand to the dock, where Mr Beck and two other defendants were able to see them on a television monitor.

Mr B, now 26, shouted at Mr Beck and broke down during his evidence about abuse he allegedly suffered when he was aged nine or ten. He told the court: ”It was awful. The bastards. It was a nightmare in that kids’ home.” He claimed to have suffered rib injuries when he was attacked by Mr Beck after running away. Mr C, now 20, alleged he was eight when Mr Beck began to abuse him at Ratcliffe Road. He claimed he was sexually abused during bathtime sessions.

The hearing continues today.


The Times

September 27, 1991, Friday

Head of children’s home ‘in 13-year reign of terror’

BYLINE: By Craig Seton

SECTION: Home news

LENGTH: 655 words

CHILDREN as young as eight were sexually and psychologically abused and beaten during a 13-year reign of terror by the man in charge at three council-run children’s homes, Leicester crown court has been told.

It was alleged that nobody tried to stop Frank Beck, aged 48, who was the officer in charge of children in Leicestershire social services’s care between 1973 and 1986.

The court was told that boys between the ages of eight and 16 were buggered, indecently assaulted or beaten, a girl was repeatedly raped and four social workers were forced to submit to buggery or indecent assault. Many of the children, now adults, are giving evidence from behind a screen against Mr Beck, who ran the homes in Leicester and Market Harborough, and two former residential care officers.

Peter Joyce, QC, prosecuting, said: ”It was a tunnel of darkness in which they found themselves. There was no escape. If they ran away or did something wrong, they were sent straight back into the darkness. There was no ray of light for these children. There was simply the endurance of it.”

Mr Beck, formerly of Leicester, is facing 29 charges relating to 17 males and one female. They include 12 charges of buggery, two of attempted buggery, one of rape, seven of indecent assault and seven of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Peter Jaynes, aged 41, of Chatham, Kent, is charged with two counts of indecent assault and one of assault. George Lincoln, aged 38, from Sudbury, Suffolk, is charged with buggery. The three denied all charges.

The court was told that children as old as 14 were put in nappies, fed with babies bottles, given dummies to suck and cuddled as part of a ”regressive therapy” regime. Mr Joyce said: ”Regressive therapy was the disguise behind which the perverts could take their pleasure.”

The prosecution’s case opened last week, but contemporaneous reporting of the proceedings was prohibited by Judge Edwin Jowitt for legal reasons. Among those who have given evidence was a woman, aged 31, who told how as a teenager she faked pains and had her appendix removed to escape sexual abuse.

Mr Joyce alleged that Mr Beck was a remarkable man and that ”children came under his sheer power, his sheer personality and his sheer ego”.

He said the homes were supposed to offer a protected and safe environment. ”Some of the weakest, most helpless and most troubled in society were corrupted. They had their lives totally distorted and twisted by those whose responsibility it was to help them.”

It was alleged that when children fought against the therapy they were met with violence. Children were deliberately provoked into such uncontrolled anger that they had to be held so tight they were injured. The comforting that followed would usually end in the child being indecently assaulted or buggered.

Mr Joyce said the three ”and others, not in the dock, not on trial, ruled these children’s homes with a reign, basically, of terror”. The homes, where Mr Beck had been in charge at different times, were The Poplars, Market Harborough, Ratcliffe Road, Leicester and The Beeches, Leicester Forest East. Mr Jaynes had been deputy at the Poplars and Ratcliffe Road and Mr Lincoln had worked at The Beeches.

Children were in care at the homes because they were beyond parental control or because they had other problems. Some had been in trouble and others were there only because one or other of their parents was ill.

The prosecution alleged that Mr Beck buggered young social workers who were dependent on him for their jobs. Mr Joyce said: ”They were in a position where they could not defy him. What chance did the children have if the social workers themselves did not report him?”

Mr Joyce said a boy of eight, who had been buggered three or four times by Mr Beck, was told that sort of thing would happen to him when he was older and that it was normal.


Press Association

September 27, 1991, Friday

CHILDREN’S HOME MAN ‘COULDN’T REFUSE’ HEAD’S SEX DEMANDS

BYLINE: Mervyn Tunbridge, Press Association

SECTION: HOME NEWS

LENGTH: 347 words

A former social worker claimed today that his boss had regular sex with him at a children’s home over a period of three or four years. Mr D, now 38, told a jury at Leicester Crown Court he felt he could not refuse the attentions of Frank Beck. “He was the officer in charge and I was the lowest grade social worker in the home,” he said. “He had my career in his hands. “If I was going for another job I would have to get a reference from him. I felt I had no choice.” Beck, of Braunstone, Leicester, denies 12 charges of buggery, one of rape, two of attempted buggery, seven of indecent assault and seven of assault causing bodily harm. The charges relate to 13 boys, one girl and four members of staff. The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1974 and 1986 when he was head of two children’s homes in Leicester and at The Poplars home in Market Harborough. The former deputy head of two of the homes, Peter Jaynes, 41, from Chatham, Kent, has denied two charges of indecent assault and one of causing actual bodily harm. Social worker George Lincoln, 38, from Sudbury, Suffolk, has pleaded not guilty to a joint charge with Beck of buggering a boy. A ban on reporting the trial, which began at the start of last week, was overturned by the Court of Appeal on Thursday after representations by several newspapers and the Press Association. Mr D said he was just 21 when he got a job at The Poplars in 1974. He became upset by problems encountered in dealing with some children and Beck cuddled and comforted him. Several times, Beck took him to his room and mutual masturbation took place. On one occasion, Beck buggered him. “He had convinced me that I needed to develop my sexual area and this was one way of making me stronger,” said Mr D. The prosecution has claimed that youngsters as young as eight were sexually and physically assaulted at the three homes where they had been placed for their own safety during a reign of brutality and abuse that went undetected for 13 years. The trial was adjourned until Monday.


The Independent
(London)

September 27, 1991, Friday

Appeal court removes gag on child sex trial

BYLINE: By PATRICIA WYNN DAVIES and JACK O’SULLIVAN

SECTION: TITLE PAGE; Page 1

LENGTH: 616 words

THE RIGHT of the media to publish crown court allegations that young people had been repeatedly buggered, sexually assaulted and beaten in Leicestershire children’s homes was upheld yesterday in an important Court of Appeal ruling overturning a blanket ban on reports of the trial of three social workers.

In one of the most significant decisions under the 1981 Contempt of Court Act, Lord Justice Farquarson, Mr Justice Tucker and Mr Justice Owen allowed a challenge by The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, the Press Association and Times Newspapers to an order imposed by Mr Justice Jowitt, the trial judge, when the case opened in Leicester on 16 September.

Although the details of the appeal court’s ruling cannot be publicised now, the overturning of the judge’s order – the making of which was likewise covered by the publicity ban – is likely to come to be a viewed as a substantial victory for press freedom.

Peter Joyce QC, for the prosecution, told the court on 17 September that victims of the alleged offences, which spanned 13 years, had endured a ”tunnel of darkness”. The case concerned ”childhoods that have been stolen, innocence corrupted, bodies abused and minds warped,” by Frank Beck, 49, the officer in charge of three homes, aided and helped by two co-accused, Mr Joyce said. Some of the children were as young as eight.

Mr Beck denies buggering nine boys and a girl, attempted buggery of two boys, assaults on seven children, indecently assaulting five children and raping the girl. He also denies buggering two fellow members of staff and indecently assaulting two others.

Mr Beck is a former Liberal councillor and was, the court was told, a senior figure in the shaping of child care policy in Leicestershire during the 1970s and 1980s. The prosecution has alleged he used ”regression therapy”, a form of child psychotherapy which takes children back to infant experiences, as a means of making them vulnerable and weak so they could then be sexually abused.

Peter Martyn Jaynes, 42, deputy officer in charge of two of the homes until 1980, denies charges of indecently assaulting a teenage boy and indecently assaulting the girl while kicking and hitting her. A third defendant, George Charles Lincoln, 39, deputy officer in charge of two homes from 1977 to 1981 denies a charge that he and Mr Beck buggered a boy of 14. The trial was adjourned yesterday pending the appeal court’s decision.

Of the seven prosecution witnesses who have appeared so far, two have given evidence screened from the defendants, who can observe the witness via a video link to the dock. This is a measure usually permitted only for child witnesses. However, the witnesses appearing in this case are in their twenties and thirties.

Section 4(2) of the 1981 Act allows a judge to postpone reports of proceedings where it is necessary to avoid a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice.

But yesterday’s decision can be viewed as an endorsement of the need to read the section in the light of the legitimate interest of the public to information on matters of public concern and of the principle of open justice.

The five news organisations invoked section 159 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, passed in response to a European Commission of Human Rights ruling, which gives the media the right to challenge gagging orders or decisions to exclude Press or public from any part of a trial. Before the Act there was no avenue of appeal.

The three judges ruled that the arguments canvassed in the hearing and the reasons for the decision should not be reported by the media or by law reporters until the conclusion of the trial.


The Independent
(London)

September 27, 1991, Friday

Social workers ‘raped and beat’ children in care; A court heard of systematic abuse of boys and girls at Leicestershire homes. Jack O’Sullivan reports

BYLINE: By JACK O’SULLIVAN

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 3

LENGTH: 956 words

CHILDREN as young as eight at three Leicestershire children’s homes were subjected to a reign of terror over 13 years, involving sexual abuse, a rape and beatings by social workers, Leicester Crown Court has been told.

The Independent is able to report the case after the Court of Appeal yesterday overturned a ruling by Mr Justice Jowitt, the trial judge, who banned reporting.

Peter Joyce QC, for the prosecution, has told the court that the children were repeatedly buggered, sexually assaulted and beaten. Seven prosecution witnesses during seven days of evidence have testified to abuse by three senior staff at Leicestershire homes. In his opening speech on 17 September, Mr Joyce said that Frank Beck, 49, the officer in charge of the homes from 1973 to 1986 and a former Liberal Democrat councillor, had been the ”trusted supremo of children’s homes in Leicestershire”.

However, Mr Beck had perpetrated systematic sexual, physical and emotional abuse against vulnerable children and four fellow social workers by using a form of child psychotherapy to control them, Mr Joyce alleged.

Children would be provoked into fierce anger and then restrained by staff using violence, Mr Joyce alleged. After the anger had passed, subsequent comforting often led to sexual abuse.

He said that ”these children were effectively corrupted by the cruelty, which was the strength and the weapon of the tyrant”. He told the court: ”You will hear . . . that this is a man whom no one did anything to stop.”

Mr Beck faces charges relating to 17 males and one female. He denies charges of buggering nine boys and a girl, attempting to bugger two boys, assaulting seven children, indecently assaulting five children and raping the girl.

He also denies buggering two members of staff and indecently assaulting two others. The prosecution claimed that Mr Beck deliberately recruited impressionable staff at the homes: the Poplars, Market Harborough, which later moved to Ratcliffe Road, Leicester; Rosehill, Market Harborough, and the Beeches, Leicester Forest East.

Mr Joyce said: ”The zeal with which he pursued his victims was unwavering and there is no zeal like that of the pervert.”

Later, he said: ”For these young men, this was a tunnel of darkness. If they did run away, do something wrong or say something when they ran away, they were sent straight back into the darkness.

”It was no way of life for these children. There was no escape for these children. There was simply the endurance of it.”

On trial with Mr Beck is Peter Jaynes, 42, of Chatham, Kent, who was deputy officer in charge at Poplars and then Ratcliffe Road for eight years until 1980. He has denied charges of indecently assaulting a teenage boy and indecently assaulting the girl allegedly attacked by Mr Beck.

George Lincoln, 39, from Sudbury, Suffolk, deputy officer in charge at Rosehill and the Beeches between 1977 and 1981, denies that he and Mr Beck buggered a 14-year-old boy. Mr Joyce said the cases concerned ”childhoods that have been stolen, innocence corrupted, bodies abused and minds warped, in the main by Mr Beck, aided and helped by Mr Jaynes and Mr Lincoln”.

Most of the children had been aged between 8 and 16, Mr Joyce said. Some were there because they were beyond parental control. In some cases there was no other reason than that one or other of the parents was ill.

He said: ”He has not just buggered the children. He has done the same in certain circumstances to other social workers . . . They could not stop him. They could not defy him. One of the questions the prosecution asks is: what chance did the children have if the social workers themselves did not report him?”

Mr Beck would provoke the fears and insecurities of social workers so that they would seek his counselling in private. ”He took advantage of their naivety. He took advantage of their vulnerability,” Mr Joyce said.

One evening Mr Beck took Mr E, a young social worker, into his room for a ”supervision session”, Mr Joyce said. ”Mr E was told that touching another person’s body was an important thing to appreciate when dealing with children who had been abused by those they trusted. He was told that he had to be touched. He would not be able to understand it unless something happened to him.” Mr Beck then indecently assaulted Mr E, the court was told.

Mr Joyce said that Mr Beck was important in shaping Leicestershire’s child care policy. In 1977, he chaired a council working party dealing with children’s homes.

”He had the ear of those in power. He had the faith of those in power,” Mr Joyce said.

Mr Beck had pioneered the introduction of a form of treatment for disturbed children known as regression therapy. Mr Joyce said: ”Under this therapy, these children were taken back into a state of isolation, loneliness and vulnerability in which they would be ripe to be abused.

”Children were told to go back to when they were last happy, to express their emotions that made them unhappy. They were provoked to be angry, so angry that they would have to be physically held down and restrained.”

During ”regression”, boys of 14 would have to wear nappies, would be bathed by adults and used babies’ bottles. Mr Joyce said: ”Regression therapy was the disguise, the veil behind which the perverts took their pleasure.”

It was also a cover for violence against children, even though corporal punishment was officially banned at the homes, Mr Joyce said. ”We are talking about children being held so tight that they cannot move. We are talking about children being smothered, children with towels twisted around their necks. We are not talking about holding. We are talking about terror.”


The Independent
(London)

September 27, 1991, Friday

Eight-year-old ‘was assaulted at bath times’; A court heard of systematic abuse of boys and girls at Leicestershire homes. Jack O’Sullivan reports

BYLINE: By JACK O’SULLIVAN

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 3

LENGTH: 689 words

THE YOUNGEST boy in Ratcliffe Road children’s home was repeatedly raped by Frank Beck during bath-time sex sessions, the court was told last Friday.

It was alleged that the eight-year-old was buggered on about five occasions. Mr Beck denies the charge.

Mr C, now 20, gave evidence, like some other witnesses, from behind a screen. In a soft-spoken voice, he said that the abuse began in the week he arrived at the home, in 1979, when he was eight and a half. He had attempted suicide after his grandmother had died.

Mr C said that he was washed by members of staff. Mr Beck, he said, assaulted him during bathing sessions.

”He would say ‘You’re getting older’ as he washed my body and private parts. At the start he would have his clothes on. Then he’d take his trousers down and expose himself to me.” Mr C said sometimes Mr Beck would masturbate himself. Sometimes he (Mr C) would be made to do it for him, Mr C said. He also described how Mr Beck allegedly picked him up out of the bath and rubbed his own bare body against his and once ejaculated over the boy’s stomach and chest.

Mr C went on to describe how Mr Beck would allegedly lean him over the bath and enter his back passage.

”Sometimes he used to bend me over the bath. He used to hold me from underneath.”

He also claimed to have been told to stand up in the bath and bend over while Mr Beck buggered him from behind.

”Sometimes I was leaning against the wall with Beck having one arm around me and the other behind me – putting his penis in my bottom,” Mr F said. ”It hurt so much I cried and it hurt to sit down.”

Mr C denied a suggestion from John Black, for the defence, that Mr Beck had not been at the Ratcliffe Road home during Mr C’s time there.

Mr C admitted the police had come to him to inquire about any complaints he might have had from his time at the home.

He had been unable to recall Mr Beck’s name, and had identified the defendant from a set of photographs produced by the investigating officers.

On Monday, a 31-year old woman told the court that she had been repeatedly raped by Mr Beck at Ratcliffe Road and sexually assaulted by Peter Jaynes, the deputy officer in charge of the home. Both men deny the charges.

The incident began with Mr Jaynes on her second day at the home, she said.

”He started on about my sexuality. He said I was a lesbian, he repeated it several times. He said I needed a man,” the woman said, breaking down in tears.

”I was on my back. He was laying full-length, his body was on mine. He was rubbing it up against mine, his private parts,” she said.

”I just lay there. Eventually he went out of the room, and when he came back he gave me a lollipop and said I’d done well.”

The woman also said that a fourth member of staff, Colin Fiddiman, a former deputy officer in charge at Ratcliffe Road, who died recently, had used a punishment on her which was also used on young boys. ”They used to put a wet tea-towel around your neck and tighten it. Colin Fiddiman did it to me and he used a dry teacloth. The next morning all my neck was red and bruised.”

The woman said she was raped and buggered by Mr Beck after disturbing him and a young boy resident, who she named as Mr F, aged 13 or 14, in homosexual activity.

Mr Beck allegedly sent her to her room and followed on.

”He went on about my sexuality. He said I needed a man and he was going to show me what I’d been missing.

”He buggered me. I was screaming. He was hurting me and he didn’t care. I was on my knees bent over the settee. Frank Beck had his hand on my neck. He was holding my front and waist. I thought he was going to kill me,” she said.

”Then he turned me over and started fucking me, he was like an animal. I shouted at him to stop. He was hurting me, he made me bleed at both ends.”

She said that, subsequently, Mr Beck had had sex with her a further 30 times.

The woman said young boys at the home were summoned to see Mr Beck.

”When they came down they would be crying, walking funny. They’d be holding their bums,” she said.


The Independent
(London)

September 27, 1991, Friday

Teenager ‘prevented from visiting MP’; A court heard of systematic abuse of boys and girls at Leicestershire homes. Jack O’Sullivan reports

BYLINE: By JACK O’SULLIVAN

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 3

LENGTH: 291 words

A RESIDENT of Ratcliffe Road children’s home, who allegedly said that he had been a rent boy, was stopped from visiting Greville Janner, Labour MP for Leicester West, by Frank Beck, the court was told on Monday.

A 31-year-old woman allegedly raped and buggered as a teenager by Mr Beck at the home detailed an alleged row about 15 years ago between Mr Beck and the boy, Mr A, about going to see Mr Janner.

She was asked by Peter Joyce QC, for the prosecution, if she could remember hearing Mr Beck in conversation or argument with a boy.

She told the court: ”Frank Beck and Mr A were arguing about Greville Janner. He Beck wasn’t going to let him go and visit Greville Janner.” Mr H, formerly in care, is now aged 31.

On Tuesday, under cross- examination by John Black, representing Mr Beck, the woman said: ”He was shouting to Paul that he wasn’t going to see Greville Janner anymore.”

Mr Black asked her: ”A used to boast about being a rent boy, didn’t he?” She replied: ”When he first came to the home, yes he did.”

Mr Black continued: ”Mr Beck, I suggest you know perfectly well, utterly disapproved of any form of homosexual contact between men and children at his home, didn’t he?”

”I cannot agree with what you say,” the woman replied.

During her evidence, the woman said that she had been sent to the home at the age of 15 from the Towers Hospital, a local psychiatric unit.

She told the court she had faked pains in her side after being repeatedly raped by Frank Beck and sexually assaulted by other staff. She had deliberately undergone an unnecessary operation to remove her appendix in a desperate attempt to escape sexual abuse at the hands of staff at the home, she said.


The Guardian
(London)

September 27, 1991

Children’s homes ‘run by pervert’

BYLINE: By IAN KATZ

LENGTH: 672 words

CHILDREN as young as eight were systematically abused and beaten by social workers during a 13-year ‘reign of terror’ in three Leicestershire children’s homes run by a ‘tyrant’, a jury has heard.

Children had allegedly been buggered, indecently assaulted, beaten and, in one case, raped by Frank Beck – described at Leicester crown court as the ‘trusted supremo of childrens’ homes in Leicester’.

It was alleged that so-called regression therapy, in which children aged up to 14 were made to wear nappies, was used as a cover for the abuse, and that Mr Beck’s personality was so powerful that even other members of staff had been unable to resist him. Mr Beck, aged 49, was employed by Leicestershire social services as officer in charge of the homes between 1973 and 1986.

The allegations can now be made public after the Guardian, the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and the Press Association won an appeal yesterday lifting a reporting ban which has been in force since the trial opened last Monday.

Opening the prosecution case, Peter Joyce, QC, said some of the weakest and most troubled people in society had been corrupted. ‘They had their lives totally distorted and twisted by those whose responsibility it was to help them.’

He said the three defendants, who include two former colleagues of Mr Beck, Peter Jaynes and George Lincoln, had used a controversial form of child psychotherapy as a cover for their perversions.

It was indicative of the ‘sheer power, force of personality, and ego of Mr Beck’ that he was also accused of offences against adult members of staff, Mr Joyce said. ‘He hasn’t just buggered the children, he has also buggered other social workers. They couldn’t resist him, they couldn’t defy him. What chance did the children have?’

Mr Beck introduced so-called regression therapy during which children as old as 14 were made to wear nappies and given dummies and baby’s bottles, the court heard.

‘Under therapy these children would be taken back to the state of isolation, loneliness, and vulnerability in which they were ripe for being abused,’ Mr Joyce said in the hearing before Mr Justice Jowitt. ‘Regression therapy was the disguise, the veil behind which the perverts took their pleasure.’

Although Mr Beck had publicly condemned the use of brutality and corporal punishment in children’s homes, he allegedly approved the use of ‘outright cruelty’ to provoke children during therapy.

‘We’re talking about children held so tight they can’t breath, children half smothered, children with towels twisted round their necks,’ Mr Joyce said.

The abused children had lived in a tunnel of darkness, he said. ‘There was no escape. If they did run away, or say anything, what happened? They were sent back to the darkness.’

Mr Beck, who has been remanded in custody since April 14 last year, denies 29 charges including buggery, rape, attempted buggery, indecent assault and assault causing actual bodily harm relating to 17 males and one female, 14 of them children in his charge.

Mr Jaynes, aged 42, of Chatham, Kent, denies indecently assaulting two children and assaulting one. Mr Lincoln, aged 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, denies buggering a child with Mr Beck.

The allegations centre on three homes where Mr Beck was in charge between 1973 and 1986. Mr Jaynes and Mr Lincoln were deputy officers in charge at the homes: the Poplars in Market Harborough, Ratcliffe Road Children’s Home in Leicester, and the Beeches, near Leicester.

The court heard how Mr Beck had also instilled ‘fear, insecurity, and a sense of helplessness’ among his staff.

‘They were dependent on him for their jobs and he took advantage of their naivity, impressionability and vulnerability,’ Mr Joyce said.

As chairman of a council working party on care and control in community homes in 1977, Mr Beck had been influential in the running of Leicestershire children’s homes. ‘He was the trusted supremo,’ Mr Joyce said.

‘Childhood torment’, page 2


The Guardian
(London)

September 27, 1991

‘Abuse victims’ tell of their childhood torment: Witnesses give evidence from behind screen – ‘We were just sitting chatting when he picked me up and carried me to his bedroom. He took my clothes off’ – Former children’s home resident says she feigned appendicitis to escape sex attacks

BYLINE: By IAN KATZ

LENGTH: 938 words

SEVEN former residents of Leicestershire children’s homes have told a jury of sexual abuse and violence by social workers in charge of the homes.

Three males, now adults, claimed they had been buggered by Frank Beck, the officer in charge of three homes between 1973 and 1986, and a 31-year-old woman said she had been repeatedly raped and buggered by Mr Beck and sexually assaulted by other social workers.

Two men said they had been repeatedly sexually assaulted as children in Mr Beck’s care.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman told Leicester crown court that she had had her appendix removed as a teenager to escape sexual abuse by social workers.

Cross-examined by John Black, counsel for Mr Beck, she described how she had heard an argument between Mr Beck and a boy resident, who boasted that he was a rent boy, relating to Greville Janner, MP for Leicester West.

‘He was shouting to Paul (the boy) that he wasn’t going to see Greville Janner any more,’ she said.

Mr Beck, aged 49, denies 29 charges of buggery, attempted buggery, rape, indecent assault, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Two social workers who served as deputies to Mr Beck, Peter Jaynes and George Lincoln, deny a total of four charges of buggery, indecent assault and assault.

The catalogue of alleged abuse and violence unfolded during seven days of evidence given by former residents, some of whom were shielded from Mr Beck’s view by a screen.

Day one

Last Tuesday Mr G, from Blackpool, now aged 29, told the jury how Mr Beck held him face down and buggered him after he had been taken to his quarters.

‘I was telling him to get off me but he was holding me down after he’d got inside me,’ Mr G said.

He added that he felt scared and ashamed after the incident and told no one.

Mr G claimed he also received regular beatings from Mr Beck ‘for nothing’. He said up to a dozen members of staff were involved in administering summary beatings to children in the home.

Day two

Cross-examined by John Black, Mr G denied pressure had been put on him by the police to give evidence.

He admitted that he had applied for compensation from the criminal injuries compensation board but denied that he was motivated by the possibility of receiving financial compensation if Mr Beck was convicted.

Day three

Mr B, aged 26, described how Mr Beck had performed oral sex with him at the age of 10 or 11. Mr B said staff at the home would keep him away from school on days when his injuries would be noticed. He also denied a suggestion by Mr Black that he had been pursuaded to make a statement by the police.

Later Mr H, aged 32, from Dartford, Kent, alleged that he had been raped by Mr Beck at the age of 16. ‘We were just sitting chatting normal when he actually picked me up and carried me to his bedroom. He took my clothes off.

Day four

Mr C, 20, claimed he was buggered by Mr Beck on five occasions at the Ratcliffe Road home where, aged eight, he was the youngest child.

From behind a screen, he claimed this happened during bathtime homosexual sex sessions when Mr Beck would also masturbate himself or get Mr C to do it for him.

Cross-examined by Mr Black, he was asked why he had never made a complaint before.

He said he had always thought he would not be believed.

Day five

On Monday a 31-year-old woman, who claimed she had been repeatedly buggered and raped by Mr Beck and indecently assaulted by Mr Jaynes, described how Mr Beck had threatened to return her to a psychiatric unit if she did not do as he wished.

She said she was sent the Ratcliffe Road children’s home from the Towers Hospital, a local psychiatric unit, at the age of 15.

The woman also claimed she was raped and buggered by Mr Beck after disturbing him and a young boy resident in homosexual activity.

The woman said she was still a virgin when the alleged rape happened.

Mr Beck had sexual contact with her around 30 more times before she feigned illness, which led to her hospitalisation, to escape the home.

Day six

Cross-examined by Mr Black, the woman confirmed that she had overheard an argument between Mr Beck and a boy, named as Mr A, concerning Greville Janner.

‘He was shouting to Paul that he wasn’t going to see Greville Janner any more,’ she said. Mr Black asked her: ‘A used to boast about being a rent boy, didn’t he?’

‘When he first came to the home, yes he did,’ she replied.

Mr Black continued: ‘Mr Beck, I suggest you know perfectly well, utterly disapproved of any form of homosexual contact between men and children at his home, didn’t he?’

‘I cannot agree with what you say,’ replied the woman.

She denied a suggestion by Mr Black that she was lying by claiming she was a virgin when she was allegedly raped and buggered by Mr Beck.

Day seven

On Wednesday Mr I, now 30, told the jury how he complained to police more than 15 years ago about sex abuse in the Ratcliffe Road children’s home.

Mr I said he told his mother that he had been abused by Mr Beck and Mr Jaynes at the end of his two-year stay in the home and the police were informed.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, he described two incidents during which he was allegedly sexually abused by Mr Beck and one in which he was allegedly abused by Mr Jaynes.

Cross-examined by Mr Black, Mr I agreed that he had previously tried to escape from a children’s home but denied that he had fabricated allegations of abuse to escape the Ratcliffe Road home.


The Times

September 28, 1991, Saturday

Social worker tells of abuse

BYLINE: By Craig Seton

SECTION: Home news

LENGTH: 366 words

A FORMER social worker told Leicester crown court yesterday that he fell under the influence of the man in charge of a children’s home at the centre of sex abuse allegations and was eventually buggered by him every fortnight for three or four years.

Mr D, now aged 38, said that he came to fear Frank Beck and felt that he had no choice but to have sex with him. He said: ”From the outset, it was a very unreal world. I was under his influence for a number of years. I think I am still scared of him.”

Mr Beck, aged 48, is accused of 29 charges relating to alleged sexual and physical abuse of children and others at three county council children’s homes in Leicester and Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where he was officer in charge between 1975 and 1986. Peter Jaynes, aged 41, of Chatham, Kent, and George Lincoln, aged 38, of Sudbury, Suffolk, who worked at the homes, face four charges. They have pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Beck was a tyrant who stole the innocence of children in the care of Leicestershire social services. The court has been told the boys aged between eight and 16 were indecently assaulted or beaten, that a girl was repeatedly raped and that young social workers were forced to submit to sex.

Mr D told the court that children were provoked physically and verbally by social workers until they were out of control under a regime called regression therapy.

Mr D said that he was 21 and inexperienced when he went to the Poplars home at Market Harborough in 1974, when Mr Beck was in charge. He soon felt cut off from his family and friends while working at the home. After a confrontation with a child, he had wept, and Mr Beck had comforted him in his room.

Mr D said that Mr Beck told him to express his feelings because the children would be able to manipulate him in the area of sex. On that occasion, Mr Beck had kissed him and touched his genitals.

Sessions with Mr Beck had developed into mutual masturbation until eventually Mr Beck had assaulted him. Mr D said: ”I did not feel I had any choice. He was the officer in charge.”

The trial continues on Monday.


The Independent
(London)

September 28, 1991, Saturday

Man tells of sex with homes head

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 3

LENGTH: 346 words

A FORMER social worker told a court yesterday that his boss regularly had sex with him at a children’s home over a period of three or four years.

Mr D, 38, told a jury at Leicester Crown Court that he felt he could not refuse the attentions of Frank Beck.

”He was the officer in charge and I was the lowest grade social worker in the home,” he said. ”He had my career in his hands.

”If I was going for another job I would have to get a reference from him. I felt I had no choice.”

Mr Beck, of Braunstone, Leicester, denies 12 charges of buggery, one of rape, two of attempted buggery, seven of indecent assault and seven of assault causing bodily harm. The charges relate to 13 boys, one girl and four members of staff.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between 1974 and 1986 when he was head of two children’s homes in Leicester and at The Poplars home in Market Harborough.

The former deputy head of two of the homes, Peter Jaynes, 41, from Chatham, Kent, has denied two charges of indecent assault and one of causing actual bodily harm. A social worker, George Lincoln, 38, from Sudbury, Suffolk, has pleaded not guilty to a joint charge with Mr Beck of buggering a boy.

A ban on reporting the trial, which began at the start of last week, was overturned by the Court of Appeal last Thursday after representations by several newspapers and the Press Association.

Mr D said he was aged 21 when he got a job at The Poplars in 1974. He became upset by problems encountered in dealing with some children and Mr Beck cuddled and comforted him.

Several times, Mr Beck took him to his room and mutual masturbation took place. On one occasion, Mr Beck buggered him.

”He had convinced me that I needed to develop my sexual area and this was one way of making me stronger,” Mr D said.

The prosecution has claimed that youngsters as young as eight were sexually and physically assaulted at the three homes during a reign of brutality and abuse that went undetected for 13 years.

The trial continues on Monday.


The Guardian
(London)

September 28, 1991

Child worker ‘submitted to buggery’

BYLINE: By IAN KATZ

LENGTH: 560 words

A FORMER residential care worker in two Leicestershire children’s homes yesterday told a jury how he allowed himself to be regularly buggered by the officer in charge for more than three years, because he believed it would make him a ‘better social worker’ and that his ‘feelings would be strengthened’.

Mr D, aged 38, said Frank Beck, who ran the county council homes between 1973 and 1986, first persuaded him to engage in mutual masturbation sessions telling him that he ‘needed to develop in the sexual area’.

He also told the court how children were challenged and provoked until they ‘blew out’ as part of so-called regression therapy developed by Mr Beck. Staff repeated taunts like ‘You hate your mother’ and shook children until they lost their tempers. If they did not, they were isolated from other children.

Mr D was giving evidence at the trial of three former Leicestershire social workers. Mr Beck, aged 49, denies 29 allegations of physical and sexual abuse. His former deputies, George Lincoln, aged 39, of Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk, and Peter Jaynes, aged 41, of Beacon Hill, Chatham, Kent, deny a total of four charges.

Mr D told Leicester crown court that the incidents began shortly after he was employed as a residential careworker at the Poplars home in Market Harborough in 1974, aged 21. He said he soon felt lonely and on several occasions broke down crying and was ‘cuddled’ by Mr Beck.

On one occasion, Mr Beck told him to strip down to his underpants and masturbate. ‘He told me sex was an area I needed to work on,’ Mr D said.

Asked by Peter Joyce, QC, prosecuting why he had heeded Mr Beck’s request, he said: ‘It sounds silly now, but I thought perhaps I had to do it to become better.

‘The team of staff who were working together seemed very strong in what they were doing and I wanted to be part of that team. The assumption that was in my mind was that if Frank Beck was doing this kind of therapy with me, he was probably doing it with everyone else, so why should I feel odd about it happening?’

During the third or fourth such session, he said, Mr Beck buggered him.

‘Did you want him to?’ asked Mr Joyce. ‘No.’

‘Did you consent to that?’ asked Mr Joyce.

‘I didn’t feel I had any choice. I was the lowest grade social worker in the house. He had my career in his hands. He was also a very powerful personality,’ Mr D replied.

He was subsequently buggered by Mr Beck around once a fortnight for three to four years.

Mr Beck had once told staff: ‘Don’t forget I know something about each and every one of you.’ Mr D said: ‘I think I’m still scared of him.’.

On Wednesday, Mr J, aged 29, a former resident of the Ratcliffe Road Children’s Home, told the jury how children were given a lollipop after they had been abused.

‘There was a lot of lollipops given out. He used to buy them in boxes,’ he said.

Mr J, who was 14 when he was sent to the home, claims he was sexually and physically assaulted by Mr Beck and other staff.

He said there were four kinds of regression therapy sessions: ‘It was happy, sad, randy or angry. If they chose a randy session then you were touched. You were touched all over. They just messed about with your head – playing mind games.’

The trial continues.


The Observer

September 29 1991

Scandal of ‘back to babyhood’ therapy

BYLINE: SARAH LONSDALE

SECTION: Pg. 3

LENGTH: 950 words

REGRESSION therapy, practised by three Leicestershire children’s home care workers now undergoing trial on charges of physically and sexually abusing children over 13 years, is widely used in Britain.

The Observer learnt this week that a home practising one kind of regression therapy is funded by the Department of Social Security, despite a Shropshire Social Services inspectors’ report, which found that patients were sometimes tied up to staff members by rope, or made to stay in the corner of a room and ignored for up to 24 hours.

The inspectors found these practices ‘dangerous and potentially abusive’, and demanded an immediate halt to them.

Regression therapy is based on the theory that, in order to get to the root of personal problems, subjects have to be taken back to their childhood. The technique involves putting patients in nappies, bottle- feeding and standing them in corners, and alternately shouting at and hugging them so that they eventually feel like helpless children.

Social workers and therapists who use the system admit it is open to abuse and misinterpretation. Leicester Crown Court heard last week how children at local authority homes were subjected to regression therapy by Frank Beck, the officer in charge. Children as old as 13 were made to suck dummies and wear nappies, were bathed like babies and told to ‘regress’ to the time they were last happy. Mr Peter Joyce QC, for the prosecution, told the court the technique had left them isolated, lonely and vulnerable, ‘ripe for being abused’.

Mr D, a residential care worker, said in evidence that the children were challenged and provoked until they ‘blew out’. Staff repeated taunts like ‘You hate your mother’, and shook children until they lost their tempers. If they did not, they were put in isolation.

Frank Beck has pleaded not guilty to a total of 29 charges involving youngsters and staff at the homes between 1973 and 1986. Two other men involved also deny charges.

The Institute of Transactional Analysis, which actively promotes regression therapy amongst among psychotherapists, social workers and teachers, in this country has several hundred members and regularly organises workshops to disseminate ideas.

Regression therapy encompasses a range of controversial treatments, including so-called ‘re-parenting’, where patients are encouraged to reject their own parents and adopt the therapists as their new parents.

The institute also promotes a form of regression therapy widely discredited in the United States, where it originated, called Cathexis.

Cathexis was the brainchild of American social worker Jacqui Schiff, who developed the technique of ‘re-parenting’ for her work with schizophrenics. In her book All my Children, she describes making patients stand in a corner, restraining them with a heavy chair and spanking them. She also describes how she got a patient over his castration complex by holding a knife to his genitals.

Courts in Virginia ordered Ms Schiff never to work again, and a home she operated in California had its licence taken away. She is now living in Birmingham, where she runs a private re-parenting practice.

Nick Irving, head occupational therapist at West Norfolk and Wisbech Health Authority’s child and family unit in Kings Lynn, supports regression therapy and admits to bottle-feeding and hugging adult clients. He says regression therapy is widespread: ‘There is a potential for abuse .. the therapist has to understand what is driving him.’

A home for mentally ill adults that uses Cathexis techniques, is operating in Birmingham. The home, run by Trident Housing Association, operated in Shropshire until June. Shropshire Social Services inspectors demanded a stop to ‘dangerous and potentially abusive practices’ there, including:

Making patients stay in a corner of a room, where they were ignored for up to 24 hours.

Tying ropes to patients and carers, as a ‘symbolic umbilical cord’. Witholding mail from patients.

Encouraging patients to reject their parents in favour of their new ‘parents’, care workers.

Earlier this month, Birmingham City Council refused an application to have the home registered with the social services department. However, Nick Moreton, director of Trident, says the home will challenge this decision at an appeal tribunal.

The home is funded by the Department of Social Security to the tune of pounds 170 a week per patient. It has eight patients, but the application is for 12 places. If the appeal fails, the home risks losing its funding.

The Midlands Regional Director of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, who visited the home, says its techniques should be monitored carefully: ‘Some methods of treatment are unproven and even rejected by practising professionals.’

Regression therapy has its casualties. Mark Stein, a council official from Bury, Manchester, says he has lost Madeleine, a former girlfriend, to regression therapy. She was admitted to the Trident Housing Association home three years ago and diagnosed by unqualified therapists as schizophrenic.

She is now ‘a completely different person ..I can’t recognise her’, said Mr Stein. ‘She has been reduced to a helpless child.

‘Before she went to the home she had a good job, her own home and a wide circle of friends. She is now totally dependent on carers at the home, whom she refers to as her mothers,’ he added. ‘Her own mother is extremely upset about it.’

She has has rented out her home and is absolutely dependent on the care workers.

Madeleine, 33, originally went into the home for just one year. After three years, she has no plans to leave.


Press Association

September 30, 1991, Monday

SEX ABUSE CASE JUDGE STEPS IN OVER ‘TOP NAMES’

SECTION: HOME NEWS

LENGTH: 438 words

A judge intervened in the Leicestershire child sex abuse trial today to prevent names of “people in high places” being revealed. A former social worker was about to name a man said to have had homosexual contact with a boy in care when High Court judge Mr Justice Edwin Jowitt stepped in. He told counsel representing former children’s homes head Frank Beck, who faces 29 charges of physical and sexual abuse: “Are names relevant? “Allegations are made, not necessarily by the people who know, and repeated second-hand against people who are not here to defend themselves. “Counsel have a responsibility not to drag in names of people who are not here to say anything about it.” Mr Francis Sheridan, one of two barristers defending Beck, replied he would continue the questioning “in another way”. Former social worker Mr D, 39, had said he was the care officer of a youth in care named as Mr A who had boasted of being a rent boy. Mr Sheridan asked: “Did he boast of having friends in high places?” Mr D replied: “Yes.” Mr Sheridan asked: “Did he tell you who those were?” At this stage the judge intervened. Mr Sheridan later asked Mr D: “Did you talk about one person in high places or more than one?” Mr D replied: “One. He just knew him and had contact with him.” He said that Beck knew about the relationship and he had raised it with him. Sheridan said: “Did he not make it clear he would raise it with the director of social services, Dorothy Edwards?” “Yes,” he replied. “I think most of the conversations which took place at that time were between Paul and Frank directly.” He said of Beck: “He was certainly going to make sure that action was going to be taken to sever the contact.” Mr D also said the person in question turned up at the children’s home, with a bicycle as a present for the boy. He said the incident happened sometime in mid-1977. Sheridan asked: “And he was sent packing by Frank Beck who told him bluntly no more contact?” Mr D said: “I wasn’t present when the person arrived but that was my understanding when Frank Beck reported back to team meetings.” Mr D earlier alleged he was sexually abused by Frank Beck. Beck, 49, formerly of Braunstone, Leicester, is in the dock alongside former social workers Peter Jaynes, 42, and George Lincoln, 39. Jaynes, of Chatham, Kent, denies three offences of physical and sexual abuse and Lincoln, of Sudbury, Suffolk, denies an allegation of buggery. The offences were allegedly committed between 1974 and 1986. The trial at Leicester Crown Court was adjourned until tomorrow.


The Times

October 1, 1991, Tuesday

Child case judge halts naming of ‘abuser’

SECTION: Home news

LENGTH: 213 words

A High Court judge intervened in the Leicestershire child sex abuse trial yesterday to prevent the names of ”people in high places” being disclosed.

A former social worker was about to mention he name of a man feared to have had homosexual contact with a boy who was in care when Mr Justice Jowitt interrupted, asking: ”Are names relevant? Allegations are made, not necessarily by the people who know, and repeated second-hand against people who are not here to defend themselves.”

The judge told defence lawyers: ”Counsel have a responsibility not to drag in names of people who are not here to say anything about it.”

Francis Sheridan, one of two barristers representing Frank Beck, a former head of a children’s home who faces 29 charges of physical and sexual abuse, replied that he would continue his questioning ”in another way”.

Mr Beck, aged 49, formerly of Braunstone, Leicester, is charged along with two social workers, Peter Jaynes, aged 42 and George Lincoln, aged 39. Mr Jaynes, of Chatham, Kent, denies three charges of physical and sexual abuse and Mr Lincoln, of Sudbury, Suffolk, denies a charge of buggery. The offences are alleged to have been committed between 1974 and 1986.

The trial at Leicester crown court continues today.


The Independent
(London)

October 1, 1991, Tuesday

Judge prevents naming of ‘people in high places’

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 2

LENGTH: 405 words

A JUDGE intervened in the Leicestershire child sex abuse trial yesterday to prevent the names of ”people in high places” being revealed.

At Leicester Crown Court, a former social worker was about to name a man said to have had sexual contact with a boy in care when Mr Justice Edwin Jowitt stepped in.

He told counsel representing Frank Beck, 49, a former children’s homes head, formerly of Braunstone, Leicestershire, who denies 29 charges of physical and sexual abuse: ”Are names relevant? Allegations are made, not necessarily by the people who know, and repeated second-hand against people who are not here to defend themselves.

”Counsel have a responsibility not to drag in names of people who are not here to say anything about it,” he said.

Francis Sheridan, one of two barristers defending Mr Beck, replied he would continue the questioning ”in another way”.

Mr D, 39, a former social worker, had said he was the care officer of a youth named as Mr A, who had boasted of being a rent boy.

Mr Sheridan asked: ”Did he boast of having friends in high places?”

Mr D replied: ”Yes.”

Mr Sheridan asked: ”Did he tell you who those were?” At this point, the judge intervened.

Mr Sheridan later asked Mr D: ”Did you talk about one person in high places or more than one?”

Mr D replied: ”One. He just knew him and had contact with him.” He said that Mr Beck knew about the relationship and he had raised it with him.

Mr Sheridan said: ”Did he not make it clear he would raise it with the director of social services?” ”Yes,” Mr D replied. ”I think most of the conversations which took place at that time were between Paul and Frank directly.”

Mr D said the person in question turned up at the children’s home in mid-1977 with a bicycle as a present for the boy.

Mr Sheridan asked: ”And he was sent packing by Frank Beck, who told him bluntly ‘no more contact’?”

Mr D said: ”I wasn’t present when the person arrived but that was my understanding when Frank Beck reported back to team meetings.”

Also charged are Peter Jaynes, 42, of Chatham, Kent, who denies three offences of physical and sexual abuse, and George Lincoln, 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, who denies an allegation of buggery. Both are former social workers.

All the offences were allegedly committed between 1974 and 1986. The trial continues today.


The Guardian
(London)

October 1, 1991

Abuse case told of boy’s ‘friend’

BYLINE: By IAN KATZ

LENGTH: 383 words

A CHILD in care at one of the Leicestershire children’s homes where social workers allegedly operated a regime of systematic abuse and violence boasted he had been a rent boy and had ‘a friend in high places’, a jury heard yesterday.

Mr D, aged 38, a former residential care worker at the Ratcliffe Road children’s home in Leicester, said he reported the information to Frank Beck, the officer in charge, who took action ‘to sever the contact’.

Mr D told Leicester crown court the ‘friend’, who was not named, came to visit the boy, Mr A, and wrote to the home.

On Friday Mr D told the court he allowed himself to be regularly buggered by Mr Beck for more than three years because he thought it would ‘make him a better social worker’.

Mr Beck, aged 49, who was in charge of three of the county council’s children’s homes from 1973-86, denies 29 charges of buggery, rape, indecent assault, and assault, relating to 17 males and one female. His two former deputies, George Lincoln, aged 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, and Peter Jaynes, aged 41, of Chatham, Kent, deny a total of four charges.

Cross-examined by Francis Sheridan, defending Mr Beck, Mr D said he was a care worker assigned to Mr A and discussed the boy’s problems with him. Asked by Mr Sheridan what they were, he replied: ‘It was clearly that he had taken a homosexual path in life.’

Asked if he had boasted of being a rent boy, Mr D said: ‘I think so, yes.’ Asked by Mr Sheridan: ‘Did he say he had friends in high places?’, Mr D replied: ‘Yes.’

Mr Justice Jowitt, presiding, warned counsel against making allegations against ‘respected persons who are not here to say anything’.

In mid-1977, Mr D said, a letter from the friend was raised at a meeting of social workers. Mr Sheridan suggested Mr Beck had replied that the boy should have no further contact with him because he thought there was ‘a homosexual relationship’. ‘Yes,’ replied Mr D.

Earlier, Mr D admitted that in his first statement to police, dated 23 August 1990, he denied ever having been abused by Mr Beck. ‘Having gone for 12 or 13 years having not said a word to anyone it’s very hard to actually say something.’

The trial continues.


The Independent
(London)

October 2, 1991, Wednesday

Man ‘plotted to kill sex abuser’

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 2

LENGTH: 404 words

A 29-YEAR-OLD man yesterday told a court how he plotted to kill a senior social worker in revenge for sexual abuse he said he suffered as a child.

Mr L said that in 1981 he took a youth training job as a chef at a Leicester children’s home run by Frank Beck with the intention of stabbing him.

Earlier, he had told Leicester Crown Court that he was buggered three or four times and beaten up by Mr Beck at the Ratcliffe Road children’s home in the mid-1970s.

He described being taken to Mr Beck’s bedroom and forced to undress and touch the social worker’s genitals before being sexually assaulted.

Mr L also claimed that Mr Beck and other staff forced himself and other children to have temper tantrums.

”They would hold you down so you couldn’t move. They would run their knuckles up and down your ribs. They would say things like ‘express your feelings’.”

Asked by Peter Joyce, QC for the prosecution, what would happen if he did not have a tantrum, Mr L replied: ”You didn’t have a choice.”

He claimed that despite repeatedly absconding from the home and telling his mother and the police about the alleged physical abuse he was always taken back. He finally left the home after telling juvenile magistrates that he would kill himself if sent back.

He told the court that he was 18 when he hatched the plot to kill Mr Beck after learning that he was running the Beeches children’s home. ”I wanted to take revenge for what he’d done. I wanted to kill him,” he said. But Mr L never carried out the plot and left the home after six days.

Under cross-examination by John Black, for the defence, he admitted robbing a post office at the age of 10 or 11. Mr Black claimed that by the time Mr L reached the Ratcliffe Road home he was ”a significant trouble-maker, sent there as a place of last resort”.

The court also heard from a mining engineer, who alleged that Mr Beck sexually abused him while he was a teenager in care.

Mr M, 24, said he punched Mr Beck after ”finally realising he was a pervert” .

Mr Beck, 49, of Braunstone, Leicestershire, denies 29 charges of physical and sexual abuse against children in his care and former staff members between 1974 and 1986. Two former deputies: George Lincoln, 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, and Peter Jaynes,42, of Chatham, Kent, deny a total of four charges. The trial continues.


The Guardian
(London)

October 2, 1991

Sex ‘forced on boy at council home’

BYLINE: By IAN KATZ

LENGTH: 525 words

A TEENAGER who broke the law to escape being beaten by his parents, was regularly sexually abused by the officer in charge of the Leicester children’s home where he was sent, a jury was told yesterday.

Now aged 24, the man, Mr X, told Leicester crown court he had been forced to masturbate and have oral sex with Frank Beck during ‘counselling sessions’ at the Beeches children’s home.

Giving evidence at the trial of three former social workers alleged to have presided over a 13-year ‘reign of terror’ in three Leicestershire county council children’s homes, he said he was later buggered by Mr Beck, whom he had come to treat ‘like a father’.

He said violence by staff was an everyday thing at the home. Female residents, who were frequently called whore, slag, or bitch, were treated particularly badly. ‘He hated their guts,’ Mr X said.

Mr Beck, aged 49, who was officer in charge of the three homes between 1973 and 1986, denies 29 charges of sexual and physical abuse against 14 children aged eight to 16, and four former staff. His two former deputies, George Lincoln, 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, and Peter Jaynes, 41, of Chatham, Kent, face a total of four charges.

Mr X, who told the court he had enjoyed a career in the forces and now worked for an oil company, said he was sent to the Beeches in 1980, aged 14, after committing two crimes to escape a household where he claimed he was beaten since the age of six.

‘I was more than happy to be there. I thought it was great. I could play football. I could go out of the house without being shouted at. I could have a bath without dire consequences. That was my idea of luxury.’

During his two-year stay at the home, he said he had several ‘counselling sessions’ in which he was made to sit on Mr Beck’s knee in a darkened room and ‘talk about emotions’. During some of these sessions Mr Beck allegedly forced him to masturbate and participate in oral sex.

If he failed to become aroused Mr Beck became aggressive and threatened to have him sent to borstal. ‘He made it plain he could have me transferred within an hour.’

He said he became ‘confused as hell: after these counselling sessions began they seemed a small price to pay to be kept away from my parents’.

Mr Beck had allegedly later visited him after he left the home and buggered him, causing him to bleed for two weeks, he told the court. ‘I felt that if I showed that it was hurting, it would hurt more – he seemed to be enjoying it, the pain.’

Asked by Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, why he had not seen a doctor, he replied: ‘I was 16 years old. I’d just been buggered – in effect just had homosexual sex. I wasn’t about to admit it to a doctor, a man of authority.’

Earlier Mr L’, formerly Mr L, 28, told the court he had taken a job as a chef at the Beeches so he could take his revenge on Mr Beck for abuse he had suffered. He said he planned to stab him with a set of chef’s knives, but changed his mind after some of them were stolen.

He said he had complained to social workers and police frequently about maltreatment.

The trial continues today.


The Guardian
(London)

October 3, 1991

‘Abuse victim’ denies giving away navy secrets

LENGTH: 360 words

A FORMER navy weapons expert yesterday denied handing over secret ships’ movements to the social worker who allegedly abused him as a teenager.

The man, 24-year-old Mr X, was confronted with the timetable of navy movements at the Leicestershire child abuse trial of former social worker Frank Beck.

John Black, defending Mr Beck, asked Mr X, who was a resident at the Beeches children’s home in Leicester, if he had given the document to the former head of the children’s home after joining the navy in the early 1980s.

The witness studied the handwritten list and angrily declared: ‘That is not my handwriting and I can prove it. I am absolutely sure I have never sent in advance any ships’ movements, except with the express permission of the captain, to any person – Frank Beck included.

‘That would be in breach of the Official Secrets Act and a treasonous act.’ But he told the jury he recognised a forces identification number written alongside the list.

‘I know the person whose number that is,’ he said but declined to name the sailor. The judge, Mr Justice Jowitt, ordered that the list be given into the care of the court.

Earlier Mr X, who now works for an oil company, had alleged he was buggered and indecently assaulted by Mr Beck while in care at the Beeches from 1980 to 1982.

During cross-examination he denied making up the allegations, saying they were ‘absolutely truthful’.

Mr Black asked him about what he said were discrepancies between the man’s evidence to Leicester crown court and his original statements to the police.

Mr X said there were errors in the statement on particular points but not lies. ‘I believe there is a difference,’ he said.

Mr Beck, who was officer in charge of three Leicestershire county council homes between 1973 and 1986, denies 29 allegations of physical and sexual abuse relating to 17 males and one female, 14 of them former children in his care. Yesterday he denied a further charge of buggery against Mr X.

Two former deputies, Peter Jaynes, of Chatham, Kent, and George Lincoln, of Sudbury, Suffolk, deny a total of four charges.

The trial continues.


The Independent
(London)

October 4, 1991, Friday

Home head ‘humiliated social worker’

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 2

LENGTH: 313 words

A SOCIAL worker yesterday told the Leicestershire child sex abuse trial how he was ”humiliated and degraded” by his boss during so-called supervision sessions.

Mr K, 40, told Leicester Crown Court how former children’s home head Frank Beck, 49, subjected him to repeated sexual assaults culminating in buggery.

Mr K, now a child care officer in Scotland, said he had ”felt degraded, debased, humiliated, de-humanised”. He told the jury trying Mr Beck and two other social workers how Mr Beck would organise ”supervision sessions” at the Beeches children’s home in Leicester.

Mr K, who began his social work career at the home aged 28, said these soon turned into homosexual sex sessions.

He said ”personal growth therapy” soon began to be dominated by questions of sexuality. ”It was hugging initially, fondling . . . It ended up with either one or both of us in a state of undress.”

Mr K said the sessions began to include masturbation. ”It developed, if that’s the correct phrase, into a period of oral sex.”

Peter Joyce QC, for the prosecution, asked why Mr K became involved in the sex acts.

Mr K said: ”He used threats, physical assault and I felt he used his ability to manipulate the staff and residents to make life in work rather difficult for me.” He said he was threatened by Mr Beck with having his social work probationary period revoked.

The witness said he was slapped by Mr Beck in front of both other staff and children at the home.

He said once he tried to resist Mr Beck, but ”he physically took my clothes off, put my genitals in his mouth and bit very hard”.

Mr Beck denies 30 charges of physical and sexual assault against children in his care and other staff. Two former deputies, Peter Jaynes, 42, and George Lincoln, 39, deny a total of four charges.

The trial continues.


The Independent
(London)

October 9, 1991, Wednesday

Abuse ‘led to homosexuality’

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 2

LENGTH: 254 words

A WITNESS told a child sex abuse trial yesterday that he was turned into a homosexual by a senior social worker. Mr F, who was giving evidence at Leicester Crown Court on his 29th birthday, told of repeated beatings and sexual abuse by the officer in charge, Frank Beck, 49.

He claimed that after leaving the Ratcliffe Road children’s home in Leicester he went to London, where he had a number of sexual encounters with other men, sometimes for money.

Peter Joyce QC, for the prosecution, asked Mr F: ”Why did you go with blokes?” He replied: ”Because of the way I had been treated at Ratcliffe Road. If you had put a girl in front of me I wouldn’t have known what to do. It was the way I’d been brought up by Beck. I thought it was right and I knew no difference.”

Mr F, a serving prisoner, was giving evidence on the fifteenth day of the trial of Mr Beck, who denies 31 charges of physical and sexual abuse on former members of staff and children in care between 1974 and 1986. A new charge of buggery on a former boy in care was denied by Mr Beck yesterday. A co-defendant, Peter Jaynes, 42, of Chatham, Kent, denies three offences of physical and sexual abuse on children, and a second co-defendant, George Lincoln, 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, denies an offence of buggery.

Mr F told the court that at 13 he was often taken to Mr Beck’s quarters at the home where he was made to perform various homosexual acts, which culminated in him being buggered by Mr Beck. The trial continues.


The Independent
(London)

October 10, 1991, Thursday

Man tells of homosexual abuse by care staff

SECTION: HOME NEWS PAGE; Page 8

LENGTH: 252 words

A MAN aged 27 told a child sex abuse trial yesterday how he was sexually assaulted as a teenager by two social workers who were waiting for him with no trousers on.

Mr N said at Leicester Crown Court that when he was 14 or 15 he was in care at the Rose Hill children’s home in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, when he was summoned to the private quarters of the deputy officer, George Lincoln, and found him and the home’s former head, Frank Beck, dressed in only their shirts.
”I think he Beck had a tea towel or a hand towel laid across his private parts.” Mr Lincoln was naked from the waist down.

Mr N said that he was beckoned to sit on Mr Beck’s lap. After a short time he was propelled on to the bed where he was buggered, first by Mr Beck and then Mr Lincoln. At some point, some sort of lubrication was applied to his backside. Since the alleged buggery, he had felt ”more than hatred to people in uniform, to anybody to do with the Government”, he told the court.

Cross-examined by John Black, for Mr Beck, he admitted there were inaccuracies in one of his police statements because he had been smoking marijuana immediately before being interviewed.

Mr Beck, 49, denies 31 charges of physical and sexual abuse against children in his care and former staff members between 1974 and 1986; Mr Lincoln, 39, of Sudbury, Suffolk, denies one charge of buggery; and a third former social worker, Peter Jaynes, of Chatham, Kent, denies three charges.

The trial continues.


Who are the Mystery Liberal MPs Des Wilson refers to?

Former Liberal Party President Des Wilson has written a scathing piece about Cyril Smith and the Liberal/Liberal Democrat Party for today’s Mail. Wilson writes in disparaging terms of a self-serving parliamentary party out of touch with its own activists, of feeble MPs too afraid to stand up a sexual and political bully like Smith, the ineffectiveness of David Steel as leader, and so on. The following passage is especially interesting:

Oh, I remember them all.

There was the MP who virtually sustained the whisky industry on his own. If you lit a match too close to his breath you could have made Guy Fawkes Night look like a back-garden barbecue. Many a bar would have been bankrupted without his presence. (And this was before the days of Charles Kennedy.)

As for affairs, Paddy Ashdown was not the only parliamentary party member whose secretary was valued for more than her typing skills.

Then there was the local party leader from well to the north of Watford who had to be woken from his bed on many a Friday and Saturday night to attend a local police station and rescue his MP from trouble after he had been picked up in one dubious circumstance or another. This MP once asked me to travel for three hours to speak to his local party one Friday evening. When I arrived at his house he was just welcoming two attractive ‘boys’ who had also travelled from London on the same train. I was put in a taxi and sent to the meeting without even the offer of dinner while the MP headed to some dodgy backstreet club with his much younger friends.

And, then, there was Cyril Smith who somehow survived more than 140 complaints to the police. How could that possibly happen?

So who in particular was this MP from north of Watford to whom Wilson refers, who may also have been guilty of criminal offences (depending upon the age of the ‘boys’)? Wilson was involved in the Liberal Party from 1973, becoming the President of the Party from 1986-87 (just before the merger with the Social Democratic Party in 1988, producing the Liberal Democrats), then running the 1992 election campaign, after which time he stepped down.

I intend to look at Wilson’s other books presently to see if there are any other clues, but though for now I would list all Liberal or Liberal Democrat MPs for seats North of Watford during this period. It is unlikely to have been Steel, Smith, Kennedy or David Alton as they are all mentioned in other contexts in the article. I would also imagine the MP in question to have been in Parliament during the period of Wilson’s Presidency from 1986 to 1987, or possibly during the run-up to the 1992 election campaign.

Jo Grimond, Orkney and Shetland, 1950-1983 (Liberal) (deceased)
Emlyn Hooson, Montgomeryshire, 1962-79 (Liberal) (deceased)
Russell Johnston, Inverness, 1964-83; Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-97 (Liberal Democrat) (deceased)
David Steel, Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles, 1965-83; Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-97 (Liberal Democrat)
Richard Wainwright, Colne Valley, 1966-70, 1974-87 (Liberal) (deceased)
Michael Winstanley, Cheadle, 1966-70; Hazel Grove, 1974 (Liberal) (deceased)
Cyril Smith, Rochdale, 1972-88 (Liberal), 1988-92 (Liberal Democrat) (deceased)
David Austick, Ripton, 1973-74 (Liberal) (deceased)
Clement Freud, Isle of Ely, 1973-83; North East Cambridgeshire, 1983-87 (Liberal) (deceased)
Alan Beith, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 1973-88 (Liberal), 1988-present (Liberal Democrat)
Geraint Howells, Cardigan, 1974-83; Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire North, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-92 (Liberal Democrat) (deceased)
David Alton, Liverpool Mossley Hill, 1979-88 (Liberal), 1988-97 (Liberal Democrat)
Michael Meadowcroft, Leeds West, 1983-87 (Liberal)
Malcolm Bruce, Gordon, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-present (Liberal Democrat)
Alex Carlile, Montgomeryshire, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-97 (Liberal Democrat)
Archy Kirkwood, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-2005 (Liberal Democrat)
James Robert Wallace, Orkney and Shetland, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-2001 (Liberal Democrat)
Richard Livsey, Brecon and Radnorshire, 1985-88 (Liberal), 1988-92, 1997-2001 (Liberal Democrat) (deceased)
Elizabeth Shields, Ryedale, 1986-87 (Liberal)
Menzies Campbell, North East Fife, 1987-88 (Liberal), 1988-present (Liberal Democrat)
Ronald Fearn, Southport, 1987-88 (Liberal), 1988-92, 1997-2001
Janet Ray Michie, Argyll and Bute, 1987-88 (Liberal), 1988-2001 (Liberal Democrat) (deceased)
Charles Kennedy, Ross, Cromarty and Skye, 1988-97, Ross, Skye and Inverness West, 1997-2005, Ross, Skey and Lochaber, 2005-present (Liberal Democrat)
Robert Maclennan, Caithness and Sutherland, 1988–97; Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, 1997–2001 (Liberal Democrat)
Michael Carr, Ribble Valley, 1991-92 (Liberal Democrat)
Nicol Stephen, Kincardine and Deeside, 1991-92 (Liberal Democrat)

Other MPs not North of Watford:

Jeremy Thorpe, North Devon, 1959-79 (Liberal)
John Pardoe, North Cornwall, 1966-79 (Liberal)
Graham Tope, Sutton and Cheam, 1972-74 (Liberal)
Christopher Mayhew, Woolwich East, 1974 (Liberal) (deceased)
Paul Tyler, Bodmin, 1974 (Liberal); North Cornwall, 1992-2005 (Liberal Democrat)
David Penhaligon, Truro, 1974-86 (Liberal) (deceased)
Stephen Ross, Isle of Wight, 1974-87 (Liberal) (deceased)
Bill Pitt, Croydon North West, 1981-83 (Liberal)
Simon Hughes, Bermondsey, 1983; Southwark and Bermondsey, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-97; North Southwark and Bermondsey, 1997-present (Liberal Democrat)
Paddy Ashdown, Yeovil, 1983-88 (Liberal), 1988-2002 (Liberal Democrat)
Matthew Taylor, Truro, 1987-88 (Liberal), 1988-97; Truro and St Austell, 1997-2010 (Liberal Democrat)
David Bellotti, Eastbourne, 1990-92 (Liberal Democrat)

All of the MPs listed above should also be asked what they knew about Cyril Smith.