Top Liberal Democrat politicians and the most senior official in charge of social services in the London borough of Richmond appear to have been struck dumb by an extraordinary outbreak of amnesia over the rapidly enfolding child abuse scandal 30 years ago.
Contacted by myself and my colleagues at Exaro News prominent Lib SDP councillors at the time Lord Razzall, Baroness Tonge, Sir David Williams, and former social services director Louis Minster, traced by Exaro colleague Mark Conrad to retirement in Malta, don’t seem to remember a thing about it.
His interview by Mark and Alison Winward is at http://bit.ly/Y2xnzk 81 year old Mr Minster – who is following the police investigation on the internet – told Mark:” There no inquiries[into suspected child abuse] at all.”
In a piece by me, Mark, Nick Fielding and David Pallister on Exaro News(http://bit.ly/YQVguO) it is revealed that Richmond Council held a rare extraordinary general meeting in private session to discuss the premature retirement of Louis Minster. This came a year after the then Liberal SDP coalition came into office and two years after the police raid on Elm Guest House in Barnes.
Exatraorinarily Lord Razzall, who went on to be the Liberal Democrat treasurer and is business spokesman for the party in the Lords, can’t remember anything about it.
Yet the minutes of that meeting show that he and Sir David Williams, then leader of the council, proposed a motion both to end the career of Louis Minster, and for the meeting to be held in private.
Lord Razzall said: “I have no recollection. All I know is that he left shortly after we took control of the council.”
He was unable to say why the council held an emergency meeting to sack a senior officer who had clashed with political leaders.
He said: “The only recollection I have, as is so often the case when a new political party takes over, the senior executives leave if the relationship with the new management is not working.
“I have no recollection of extraordinary meetings, or indeed why there was an extraordinary meeting.”
Sir David who doubts there was any child abuse in Richmond thought they had discovered Louis Minster did not have the right qualifications.
Louis Minster himself has disclosed he was paid off with a £10,000 golden handshake and is still bitter about it all.
While Baroness Tonge,who chaired the social services committee at the time and is known for her ability
to speak her mind, is totally silent.
One has to ask how such a prominent police raid in 1982 – it made the front page of the News of the World- appears to have passed without comment in Richmond .
If as they say they knew nothing about it and the police prove there was child abuse, Richmond Council will have a lot of questions to explain why they knew nothing about this.
The case for an inquiry into the running of Richmond Council at the time will be compelling if people are prosecuted by the Met Police. Particularly as I have now had confirmation from a source that a payout was made to a child abused under Richmond’s care for compensation after the event.
It’s hard, actually impossible, to believe a councillor would ever forget (a) instances of child abuse allegations and (b) getting rid of a chief officer. My first involvement as a Labour Group leader involved both those issues in the early 1990s. It left an indelible mark on me. Lord Razzall is not credible if he says he can’t recall.
Why did’nt Michael Gold and Liz MacKenzie do anything when told about abuse @ LBRuT?
Reblogged this on theneedleblog.
They are lying. Let#s be up front about it – they are implicated in covering up a scandal.
nothin’ more nothin’ less, clear as day – filthy spineless liars. what a shit gutter stuffed worthless life they will all leave behind them. No honour, no nothing.
all this smoke coming from different places. Lets hope the fire is discovered soon. Still covering up?, then its probably still going on.
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I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to remember details of a meeting from 30 years ago. And it is true that when councils change hands there is often an exodus, willing or not. But they MUST have known there were allegations made about boys from care homes being abused at Elm. Denial of that is not credible.
I think most people knew this cover-up was going to happen, why the police started these child abuse searches is a mystery, maybe the police had to show they were doing something.
what do you expect for them to say `fair cop` and apologise – all done and dusted – forget about it – yesterday news
I have been interviewed by the police and have refused to speak to the press or media until they have finished their inquiries. Surely that is the right thing to do?
House of Lords
Why didn’t you go to the police at the time ?
Because I did not know about it. I became Chair of Soc Services nearly two years after it happened. Lib dems were the opposition until Nov 1983.
But do you not see, that if you did not know about it when you chaired Soc Services, why would you think that you might have information that would be of interest to Fernbridge now ?
I’m not interested in details, I’m interested in why it appears you didn’t contact the police when you first became aware of issues rather than almost 30 years later ?
It’s a little harsh on you, as you seem to have accepted that you have information, whereas your colleagues, the Conservative members, and senior officers have not.
But they’ll be plenty of time to ask them searching questions.
Did you know about the pay-off to Peter Hatton-Bornshin? Was this made under your watch?
Perhaps the step-father could anwser that question?
As a person who has many documents re. all of this – included payoff details related to abuse @ LBRuT – it does not suprise me.
So in November 1984 the Liberals were in charge of all committees including those closed to the press and public but not officers and councillors.
There should be confidential minutes of the meetings too, right ?
The documents you may have, or have seen, are very important to the lives of those who still seek justice…..be very careful with them, PLEASE!!!!
Reblogged this on simianpress.com.
Is Andrew Dodgshon who made the top comment here the same person who was a sidekick of Charlie Whelan and Damien McBride in the Red Rag affair?
And where and when was he a Council leader?
He says Labour ‘Group’ Leader, not Council Leader, but I do see that he was once a Labour Councillor in Bedfordshire. I have just read the above article and note that Tom Watson was also involved in the affair.
Do those who buried the scandals of the past continue to cover up the scandals of the present ? Looking for the connections.
None of these people was in charge when the scandal took place. Richmond was Conservative-controlled in 1982, as it is now. Why not ask them about it?
“Razzell was unable to say why the council held an emergency meeting to sack a senior officer who had clashed with political leaders”
“Sir David … thought they had discovered Louis Minster did not have the right qualifications.
Louis Minster himself has disclosed he was paid off with a £10,000 golden handshake and is still bitter about it all.”
Therefore on one hand Razzell is implying Minster was sacked & Williams is saying that he thought this was because Minster had commited fraud by being a ‘senior appointee’ within the council without the right qualifications; but on the other hand this ‘sacking’ resulted in a pay-out of £10,000, which the recipient was ‘bitter’ about (that was a sizeable sum in 1984!). So what exactly was this pay-off ? insufficient ‘golden handshake’ to a loyal council worker’, ‘hush money’ to go quietly’ or ‘bribe’ to not say anything about what had been going on ?
All I know is that having worked in a few government institutions, if anyone had been found to be in a senior position without the right qualifications to do the job, there would have been a stringent internal inquiry leading to disciplinary action, not a ‘golden handshake’.
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