Survivors speak: Fiona Woolf must declare how well she knows Leon Brittan

The remarkably busy Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, needs to come clean about her links to former home secretary Leon Brittan, according to a number of child abuse survivors who have contacted Exaro.

They want the newly appointed chairman of the inquiry – who is yet to chair her first meeting –  to explain exactly how much contact she had with the Brittans.

A report by my colleagues Mark Conrad and Tim  Wood  on Exaro highlights the concern by survivors -particularly among those involved in an alleged Westminster paedophile ring.

Two witnesses who gave accounts to Exaro of how MPs and other VIPs sexually abused them and other children at a series of parties at Dolphin Square, a residential block close to Parliament, expressed deep unease about Woolf’s appointment.

One said: “I would like to see a full and transparent statement from Fiona Woolf as to her links, and why survivors should have confidence in her ability to chair this inquiry.”

The concern about Brittan centres round the disappearance of a dossier submitted to him by former Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Dickens, allegedly naming VIP paedophiles.

Once again this seems to emphasise the need for Fiona Woolf to clear matters up  so that survivors have confidence in the inquiry.

11 thoughts on “Survivors speak: Fiona Woolf must declare how well she knows Leon Brittan

  1. The paperwork exists – it may not be the four Dickens Dossiers but it was described to me so – ‘ I am one of a the few security officers to have read the paper files over the river. I have read the files on (1) named in full and (2) named in full and all of the other MP’s who have abused little boys and girls here in the UK and abroad’. Revelations in the last few weeks from this senior IO have gone even further up. What was worrying was the IO’s comment about the production of IS files predominantly located in 5 and a few periphery ones in 6. It appears the Head of the 5 Service will be ‘given what the directors (- I understand there are three – ) want to give him’ !
    Even if Ms Woolf asks for specific files on individuals X Y and Z there will be no guarantee that she or the HofS will receive them. ‘The Head is a political appointee and he is told what the Directors want to tell him’.

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  2. Over 10 weeks ago Simon Danczuk told how a current (now possibly ex-) Conservative minister “stepped out of the shadows” to warn him over naming names, but not out of any health concerns:
    “I knew straight away he wasn’t telling me this out of concern for the man’s welfare. There was no compassion in his voice.”
    The ‘take home message’ of that Mail piece was clear – a current Conservative minister was knowingly trying to cover up past misdeeds.
    Why do we still not know the identity of the individual? There is no reason for not naming the minister, if what Danczuk claimed is correct. In fact, I suggest he & others have a moral duty to do just that if they do not wish to be judged as little better than the many others who knew much but said little (or nothing).

    Over 9 weeks ago Exaro (including, of course, yourself Mr. Hencke) spoke of an audio file “set to blow the lid off” the scandal. So far as I can see, the lid was lifted slightly and people either found the contents too dangerous or too dubious: despite unhelpful cryptic messages from an individual involved in the gestation of the story, nothing appears to have come of it. Why not?

    The point I am seeking to raise with the above examples is that these could have moved forward – stutteringly perhaps – but independently of the Inquiry, which now seems to have taken centre-stage (including in the minds of those who imagine it as some quasi Court of Law, something it will never be).

    Although I appreciate that a future Inquiry could help loosen some tongues I find it disheartening to see others tongue-tied in the meantime, with no good reason. The irony here is that the current furore over Woolf’s “links” to Brittan might never have arisen if Danczuk hadn’t been persuaded to keep schtum in the past (always assuming that he was basing his threat to name on good solid evidence, and not the say-so of ‘campaigners’ who would have us believe in all manner of madness).

    Under promise, over deliver?

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    • Since no-one else has responded to you, on Channel 4 News, Michael Crick told Krishnan Gurumurthy that he had spoken to Sir Edward Garnier who confirmed he had had a conversation with Simon Danczuk but contested the accuracy of reports of that conversation.

      Garnier is a libel lawyer who represented Lord MacAlpine in his action against Sally Bercow over the allegedly libellous tweets.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2332220/EPHRAIM-HARDCASTLE-Will-Speaker-Bercow-smooth-customer-Sir-Edward-Garnier-future-Commons-debates.html

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      • Many thanks for the reply, Sinter. And no, I hadn’t seen this video.
        So, the ‘minister’ may well not have been a minister at all (at the time of the article), and Danzcuk anyway seems reluctant to repeat the allegations he was happy to make in print, and certainly gives off the air of a naughty schoolboy summoned by the Headmaster for telling fibs…

        Not a very convincing performance. I suggest any & everyone at ‘risk’ of being leaned on pops down to one of London’s several spy-shops (conveniently close to Parliament!) to invest a piffling sum to put an end to these unhelpful episodes that serve only to spread general paranoia & generally leave the excitable accuser looking rather foolish.

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  3. Whether or not Bandini finds Danczuk convincing, there wasn’t much reluctance on his part when he spoke in the Commons in the Child Abuse debate on 27 November. He certainly didn’t “give off the air of a naughty boy summoned by the Headmaster for telling fibs”, as Bandini puts it so oddly. Bandini’s suggestion of MPs keeping themsleves permanently wired to record chance encounters with fellow parliamentarians seems unlikely to be approved by the Parliamentary Standards Committee.

    For the record:
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141127/debtext/141127-0003.htm#14112768000573

    “Earlier this year, I told the Home Affairs Committee that a dossier containing allegations about child abuse by politicians had been handed by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens to the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan. That revelation helped lead to the Wanless and Whittam review and to the establishment of the overarching inquiry, but not everybody was pleased with the idea that I might challenge Lord Brittan. The night before my appearance before the Committee, I had an encounter with the hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Sir Edward Garnier). After the 10 pm vote, he drew me to one side outside the Chamber and warned me to think very carefully about what I was going to say the following day. He told me that challenging Lord Brittan on child abuse would not be a wise move and that I might even be responsible for his death, as he was unwell.

    I understand that people are cautious about naming parliamentarians, but I think that people who might know about child abuse allegations should answer questions, whatever their position. We should not shy away from that.”

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    • (For transparency’s sake, Owen and Sinter are the same person – Sinter is an old identity that WordPress keeps retrieving and imposes when I’m not paying close attention)

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    • Owen/Sinter,

      It wasn’t just myself finding Danczuk unconvincing.

      I was quite clearly referring to the Channel 4 video when talking about the “air of a naughty schoolboy”. The reason was simple – he was being challenged about his PREVIOUS claims made in the Mail regarding a current Government MINISTER threatening him, which was quite simply untrue:

      “As I was I was making my way from the House of Commons on Monday night after a late vote a Tory minister stepped out of the shadows to confront me… he blocked my way… He warned me… blah blah blah.”

      He was lying, he was caught in the lie, and he acted like a “naughty schoolboy summoned by the Headmaster [Channel 4 News) for telling fibs.”

      The correct & decent thing to do would have been to admit that he had exagerated (or to have blamed it on the Mail, although this wasn’t likely given his close relationship with that fine newspaper & anyway would have been difficult given that the article carried his name and no one else’s!). Instead, he allowed the SMEAR against all current Ministers to stand.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2681949/Call-public-inquiry-historic-child-abuse-Forget-expenses-scandal-If-MPs-harboured-paedophiles-damage-British-democracy-fatal-says-MP-SIMON-DANCZUK.html
      It was a disgraceful act which took place at the beginning of July, and notes from Hansard from the end of November won’t erase his guilt. I see no apology.

      And regarding his recent performance (27th November) I’m afraid I’d had enough of the whole farce after watching Zac Goldsmith weaving away on the loom of lunacy:
      https://davidhencke.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/child-sexual-abuse-thank-you-survivors-and-zac-goldsmith/#comment-15156

      I hold tight to my integrity, Owen. Once it’s gone it’s almost impossible to retrieve.

      P.S. My point about recording-devices was made half in jest. However, proof of threats being made by Ministers would, I am sure, trump any minor concern about etiquette!
      You may have noticed that the whole world apparently went soft in the head sometime in that decade of the photocopier, the 80s, and from this point no copies (or, let’s be honest, PROOF) of any of the multiple unsubstantiated allegations were ever made: photographs, videos, allegations made to the police, “massive dossiers”, etc., etc.. Up in a puff of smoke! Pfffff! Let’s have a look in Barbara Castle’s archive, eh?!? Strewth!

      End result? We have to take it on trust… which I think explains why I personally attach such importance to the integrity of those involved. Having failed to find any, I’m off.
      ¡Adios!

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  4. Bandini, your relative lack of concern over the notion of wired-up MPs mixing and mashing one another and other comments expressive of worldy wisdom sit a little awkwardly alongside your punctilious outrage over Danczuk’s reference to the as of then unidentified Garnier as a Tory minister.

    Garnier wasn’t actually a current minister at the time, true, just a fairly recently retired one, but I missed Danczuk or anyone else mentioning that he was a current one. Perhaps you have a point that in his effort to indicate a personage of some substance in the Tory party without giving away names Danczuk should have referred more accurately to a “recently-retired Tory minister”, but perhaps he understood how an experienced legal expert might have spotted a pointed narrowing of the field of possible candidates.

    In any case the reality of this apparent “lack of integrity” hardly lives up to the description of a major betrayal of your personal trust in Danczuk in the way you depict it. An attempt at smearing all current Tory ministers? A little bit overheated, surely?

    If you still want to insist that Danczuk’s air of discomfort was the result of him being caught out in a lie, perhaps you might consider whether you’ve narrowed down the field of possible explanations. It seems equally plausible that Danczuk’s awkward response to being manouevred towards confirming Garnier’s identity and argument might equally have had something to do with an awareness of Garnier’s professional reputation? Or with a multitude of other possibilities beyond the understanding of the camera’s lens.

    It’s sad that your disgust with the “lunacy” and “lack of integrity” of the individuals who have helped achieve a public debate and the beginnings of a full scale inquiry appears to have led you to turn your back on the whole subject. Rigorous scruples are indeed a hard taskmaster.

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    • Owen, there is nothing “relative” about my lack of concern regarding MPs – or anyone else for that matter – resorting to the use of technology to make a morally-justifiable recording of an unwanted & unsolicited warning made by someone stepping “out of the shadows” to try and silence them.

      Danczuk, if you recall, was accosted, a figure with whom he had never previously spoken to came to “warn” him. He knew that this was likely to happen, and so could simply have avoided the threats by announcing that the conversation was being recorded, or have unmasked the “current Tory Minister” by means of the recording of the conversation.

      But this is all pointless nonsense, as the simple fact is that it never happened!

      Danczuk’s “air of discomfort”?
      I’d rather not try & climb inside his spud to work out what’s going on in there! As a public speaker I don’t find him very impressive. In fact, I don’t find him very impressive, full-stop.
      However, his stumbling, bumbling performance was bad even by his own usual low standards:

      “Well… er… er… er… well… er… I’d… er… I’d er rehearsed what he said on a number of occasions…”! I was waiting for the arm of nurse Gladys Emmanuel to reach over from off-camera to mop this Arkwright’s sweating brow!

      You seem awfully keen to give him a free pass. That he should have “referred more accurately to a “recently-retired Tory minister””? Oh, please. Save a bit of Christmas goose-fat to ease your moral slide-rule’s up and down hithering & thithering, eh?!? It’s all over the shop…

      He lied, Owen. Simple as. In print.

      The result of his deliberate & false statement that a current Tory minister had warned him was that a nation of keyboard-warriors set about casting aspersions on each & every current Tory minister, seeking to taint them with ALL the whiff of pederasty.

      (Unless you belong to that worringly large group who believe that each & every member of “the Establishment” form a part of some bizarre Satanic-sect, you’d surely see that this was unhelpful, undignified behaviour.)

      I have no way of knowing how well aquantainted you are with the methods & tactics of this group of obsessives who insinuate, smear & libel day in, day out. Unfortunately, Exaro felt that they could be of use & the current bun-fight around the inquiry is one of the inevitable consequences.

      Duplicitousness abounds… which reminds me:

      A final word on “integrity” relating to the “solidly Labour” Danczuk:

      – He has repeatedly undermined the leader of his party (while claiming not to be doing so.)
      – He is supping pints with UKIP. Literally! http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/dec/21/simon-danczuk-labour-ukip-nigel-farage-denies
      – He is all-aboard the immigration bandwagon. (The article is badly written tat, but hard to disagree with the final sentence: “UKIP itself would struggle to devise a better recruiting agent.”) http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/10/labour-and-immigration

      Depending on the outcome of the upcoming election – see Hencke’s recent post – we’ll have to wait & see whether or not he remains “solidly Labour” or not in 18-months time! Integrity coming out of his ears!

      P.S. Still time to buy his book for Christmas! And maybe you could pick up a thesaurus, too, and pop it over to Fleet St. (after putting a big black marker-pen through the following: explosive, incendiary, bombshell, dynamite, etc., etc.!) Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas.

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  5. “The result of his deliberate & false statement that a current Tory minister had warned him was that a nation of keyboard-warriors set about casting aspersions on each & every current Tory minister, seeking to taint them with ALL the whiff of pederasty.”

    Bandini, you do rather seem to relish the thrill of going over the top.

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    • Owen, it seems a wee bit ironic being criticized for “going over the top” in my criticism of others’ “going over the top”! (Hope you’re reading that with a clear head!).

      If you read my comments elsewhere on this site you’d know that I was bowing out… damn these notifications! But why don’t we meet back here in a year’s time & see who has been “going over the top”, exagerrating, or – as I prefer to call it – lying? A review of the year, no less…

      Which reminds me: Tom Watson has just done the same for the year about to end. Fascinating stuff, at least for those interested in slaughtering virtual beings in a virtual world: http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/12/date-destiny-tom-watson-best-and-worst-games-2014

      Not your bag? Don’t worry, he manages to squeeze a bit of politics in:

      “During the recent supposed coup against Ed Miliband… If Ed wants an easier life in 2015, maybe he should buy John Mann and Simon Danczuk a PS4 this Christmas.”

      What in blue blazes is he referring to?!? Simon “Integrity” Danczuk has already denied any attempt to undermine his beloved leader, and we simply have no reason to doubt his good word. Right?

      Mr Mann, of course, has just recently remembered that he forgot to do a god damned thing about some “evidence” he now claims to have delivered to the plod over a quarter of a century ago. The saintly Mann must be enduring a hellish festive season, torn apart by feelings of guilt over his dreadful & unexplainable inaction. Let’s spare him a thought, eh?

      Presumably he’ll have made a copy, though, of what will undoubtedly have been a “dossier”. And he’ll provide the names of those who “closed down” the investigation he claims his “evidence” sparked. Otherwise some cynical souls will be thinking he’s just a bandwagon jumping fraud! Poor fellow.

      Right-o. Back in a year (will it unfold or unravel?).
      Season’s wishes… to all honest men.

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