Paedophile MP Cyril Smith: Possible Questions for Jenny Tonge and Tim Razzall?

Tim Razzall  Emphatically says he knew nothing  Pic courtesy Liberal Democrats

Tim Razzall Emphatically says he knew nothing
Pic courtesy Liberal Democrats

Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council - pic courtesy: richmond.gov.uk Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council – pic courtesy: richmond.gov.uk
The Met Police’s official acknowledgement to Channel Four’s Dispatches programme that Cyril Smith visited the notorious Elm House guest house in Barnes in south-west London – which is alleged to be used by paedophiles raises serious questions for the Liberal Democrats.
So far attention has been centred on former Liberal leaders, David Steel. Nick Clegg and Sir Menzies Campbell,the latter who was shown (possibly unfairly) to be heaping praise on Cyril Smith at his funeral.
But the real Liberal Democrats who should be quizzed are Baroness Tonge, Lord Razzall and Sir David Williams on the scandalous affair that allowed Cyril Smith to sexually assault young boys.
They were the Liberal members of Richmond Council in the aftermath of highly publicised police raid on Elm Guest House and responsible – along with the previous Tory administration – for the safe keeping of children in the council’s Grafton Close children’s home.
Sir David is so much in denial that he believes that the current prosecutions by the Met Police of a senior member of council staff are only being undertaken to please the press.
Lord Razzall, who later moved a motion to sack Louis Minster, director of social services, who was in charge of Richmond’s social services at the time of the alleged abuse, told me at the time – that he couldn’t remember why he moved the motion.
However for the record he says emphatically:” I had no knowledge of the raid you refer to which in any event predated our taking control of the Richmond Council and I had never been a member of the relevant committee or a reader of the News of the World.”
“I did remember that the Chair of Social Services had lost confidence in the Director as often happened on a change of political control of a local council. You did not raise with my any issue of child abuse and indeed had you done so I would have told you that the Directors’ retirement had nothing to do with the events you referred to in your blog. Indeed had you raised them with me it would have been the first time I was aware of them.”
“In the current climate there can hardly be a more serious libel than to allege that I may have covered up Cyril Smith’s visits to Elm Guest House so that he could go on to abuse others.
“For the record, I only became aware of the allegations about Cyril Smith in 2013, fifteen years after I ceased to be a Richmond Councillor.”

Jenny Tonge: Silence pic courtesy: The Guardian

Jenny Tonge: Silence
pic courtesy: The Guardian

And Jenny Tonge, then chair of the social services committee, who was informed of the scandal, and under her watch there were fresh attempts to raise the scandal,is refusing to say anything – even before people were arrested and charged.
Obviously all three can at the moment shelter behind the sub judice rules but when the trial is over next summer – they should be pursued to provide an explanation. At last Tim Razzall has made his views clear now.
But one must at least ask – did they know about Cyril Smith’s visits to Elm Guest House?-

See no evil,Hear no evil, Speak no evil: Richmond’s amnesia on child abuse

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.

Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council - pic courtesy: richmond.gov.uk

Sir David Williams, former lb dem leader of Richmond Council – pic courtesy: richmond.gov.uk

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:  Picture: courtesy Wikipedia

Lord Razzall: Picture: courtesy Wikipedia

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

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

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

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.