” I regularly briefed Jenny Tonge on child abuse in Richmond” -children’s director

Baroness Tonge; Still Still Silent,pic courtesy:http://2009fpconference.files.wordpress.com

Baroness Tonge; Still Still Silent,pic courtesy:http://2009fpconference.files.wordpress.com

The anmesia among politicians about  the child sexual abuse scandal in Richmond Council is looking less and less credible by the day. Now Terry Earland, the former assistant director of children’s services at Richmond, has told my colleague Mark Conrad that he held regular briefings with Jenny Tonge, Liberal social services chair and her deputy at the time – now believed to be dead- about child abuse problems. In article in Exaro News( http://bit.ly/WQQz7M) where Mr Earland gives a long interview. He makes it is absolutely clear that he briefed both senior politicians and officials in the social services department about the issue.

Earland was aware of the scandal at Grafton Close and Elm Guest House. He says he may not have specified Elm Guest House to Jenny Tonge but it is clear that he did report to her and her deputy on a regular basis on child care issue.

Similarly he says he did tell Louis Minster,  social services director later prematurely retired by Jenny Tonge, about sexual abuse at Elm  Guest House  in 1982. This directly contradicts Mr Minster’s statement that he knew nothing about it. He also says it was well-known inside Richmond Council after 1983 that  sexual abuse of children was going on. This is when the Liberal Democrats took over from the Tories.

When you consider that two boys have now told the police that one of the abusers was Sir Cyril Smith, the Liberal MP, whose death will mean he will escape prosecution, it is doubly tragic.

A failure by a council  to protect children in its care is a terrible scandal. The fact that it  appears to have been  ignored by the two parties that form today’s coalition government is anappalling dereliction of duty. And that one of the identified perpetrators was a Liberal Mp makes it even worse. Sometimes critics of the Tories call them the ” nasty party ” As this rate the Liberal Democrats could be called the ” sordid party.”

Baroness Tonge was given the opportunity to comment on Mr Earland’s claim and said she had nothing to say. She was asked about Sir Cyril and had no comment to make. She said the information should be passed to the police. I think it already has.