Child sexual abuse: Thank you survivors and Zac Goldsmith

Today I got  praised by Zac Goldsmith MP for the work  Exaro and I have been doing on investigating child sex abuse and helping to press for an overarching inquiry into the issue.

But I could not have done this without the help from survivors,contacts  and MPs who have passed vital information allowing me to investigate this scandal in the first place.

Also this is a team effort.  Exaro colleagues like Mark Conrad have uncovered amazing  leads and Mark Watts, editor of Exaro, has fearlessly put this whole investigation together.

There is much more to be done, much more to be exposed, but it is great to get some recognition from MPs like Zac.

I can assure everybody that Zac Goldsmith,Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk are very concerned to get to the real truth behind such a disturbing scandal that has remained hidden for decades. No one is going to be silenced very easily.

Magnificent Seven MPs champion survivors voices on new panel

Zac Goldsmith MP

Zac Goldsmith MP

The seven  MPs who demanded an overarching inquiry into child sexual abuse have written to Theresa May, the home secretary again – this time to say survivors must be appointed to the new independent panel.

My  report on  the Exaro website reveals that the seven have asked for a meeting to discuss who will sit on the panel and what the terms of reference should be.

The letter says: “If Lady Butler Sloss is to Chair the Inquiry, and given the many questions that have surrounded her appointment, it is essential that the group as a whole is absolutely robust, with a wide range of trusted representatives, including survivors.”

The good news is that all the MPs are agreed that survivor involvement is a must and a robust panel is essential. Zac Goldsmith said:”The strength and credibility of the inquiry will depend on the terms of reference and the panel of people, who must be absolutely bullet-proof.

The seven Mps are: Zac Goldsmith, Simon Danczuk ,Tessa Munt,Tom Watson,Tim Loughton,         Caroline Lucas and John Hemming.

It is excellent that the seven are emphasising the role for survivors and tough people on the inquiry. It is exactly what is needed. The signs are that Theresa May is willing to meet them possibly early this week as she is not expected to be affected by the reshuffle.

Elm Guest House : Crown Prosecution Service handling leads to MP’s complaint

A second MP, Simon Danczuk,,has complained to the Director of Public Prosecutions over the handling of  Met’s Operation Fernbridge investigation into Elm Guest House.

This time the complaint is against the Crown Prosecution Service who have told a victim who says he was sexually abused there he is the only case where this has happened.

The official reply from the CPS is patently untrue since the Met Police themselves have admitted to Channel Four’s Dispatches that Sir Cyril Smith visited the house and was involved with rent boys there. And the person who says he was assaulted there was not involved with Cyril Smith.

The full story by my colleague Mark Conrad is on the Exaro website. It comes after Tom Watson complained to the DPP about the way the Met Police handled a rape claim from a woman against a former Tory minister which was also investigated by Fernbridge.

All this suggest that part of the  Fernbridge investigation is not going well. And it strengthens the case for an overarching inquiry into historic child sex abuse investigations now demanded by 135 MPs of all parties.

Now all MPs asked by their colleagues to back child sex abuse inquiry

Tim Loughton MP

Tim Loughton MP

Every MP in Parliament is to be asked by former Conservative children’s minister, Tim Loughton, and  Zac Goldsmith, Tory MP for Richmond, to sign up to the original call by seven MPs of all parties for an independent panel  to be set up by Theresa May, the home secretary.

The latest move revealed today by Exaro news is a further acceleration of a campaign  which has now attracted support – at the latest count of 53 MPs.

A groundswell of support in Parliament for such an inquiry quickly grew thanks to a crowd-sourcing campaign by Exaro’s Twitter followers (@ExaroNews), and David Cameron was challenged about it at prime minister’s questions last week.

The original seven – as well as Loughton and Goldsmith – are Tom Watson. the Labour MP who raised the Peter Righton scandal in Parliament; Simon Danczuk, who has written a book and raised the scandal about serial paedophile Sir Cyril Smith;Liberal Democrats Tessa Munt and John Hemming and Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP.

Full details of the letter sent to Theresa May and a full list of the 53 MPs backing the inquiry are on the Exaro website.

Exaro Exclusive: The magnificent seven MPs campaign for independent inquiry into historic child sex abuse

Zac Goldsmith MP

Zac Goldsmith MP

An important step was taken today when seven MPs wrote to Theresa May asking for an independent panel  inquiry to be launched into repeated failures by police to investigate thoroughly historic cases of child sexual abuse. They want the equivalent of the investigation into the Hillsborough disaster.The initiative came from Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond, who has become acutely aware that the Met Police have still not got to the bottom of the historic child sex scandal at Elm Guest House in his constituency despite two people  due to stand trial.

He decided that the issue was too important to become a political football and that an all party approach – it involves MPs from four parties- Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green- was the best way forward.

Caroline Lucas MP

Caroline Lucas MP

 The result is revealed on the Exaro website today in two reports by me outlining the letter and the key cases where they have been repeated failures – every time police investigation have come near VIPs. evidence seems to have gone missing, dossiers lost,surveillance material disappearing, seized child porn DVDs lost and even police investigation reports possibly censored.

John Hemming MP

John Hemming MP

The first report on Exaro details the letter sent to Theresa May and the type of inquiry MPs want. The second report goes into more detail about what MPs want investigated. well as Zac, the other six MPs, are the former coalition children’s minister,Conservative MP Tim Loughton; Labour’s Tom Watson, who raised the question of a paedophile ring run by the late Peter Righton; Labour MP Simon Danczuk, the Rochdale MP who exposed further scandals around the late Sir Cyril Smith; Tess Munt, Liberal Democrat MP for Wells and parliamentary private secretary to Vince Cable, who has concerns about physical and sexual abuse in military schools; John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham, Yardley, who has raised similar issues of child sexual abuse, and Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, who expresses concern about the issue.

Simon Danczuk MP

Simon Danczuk MP

 These magnificent MPs have put their political differences aside and put their heads above the parapet. They do not mince their words about the unsatisfactory situation that still persists. 

Tim Loughton MP

Tim Loughton MP

 As Tim Loughton puts it:“Virtually every week, the public is bombarded with new stories about sexual abuse of children coming to light, yet they stretch as far back as the 1960’s.“Few areas have been left untouched with increasingly alarming stories involving schools, churches, care homes, entertainment, sport and of course politicians and celebrities.“Most alarming is a consistent theme of the reluctance or, more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies to investigate the allegations seriously, and pursue the perpetrators rigorously.

“Documents go missing and investigations are curtailed with a chilling frequency, and that now threatens a serious undermining of the public’s confidence in our current child-protection system despite all the progress that has undoubtedly been made in recent years.”

Tessa Munt MP

Tessa Munt MP

It is really time to act.  Teflon Theresa May – not known as a shrinking violet in dealing with tough and controversial issues – should very seriously consider what the MPs want and why they feel driven to ask for it.


Tom Watson MP

Tom Watson MP

Met Police ” smear ” rape victim in Fernbridge investigation

More damaging revelations are published today on the Exaro website about the Met Police’s handling of a  victim who came forward saying she was raped in her youth by a man who went on to become a prominent Tory Cabinet minister.

My colleague  Mark Conrad reports  that ” Jane” who brought  the allegations to the Met Police is extremely upset that not only did they not put the allegations to the ex-minister but told other people about her medical record which could cast doubt on the validity of her claims.

She told Exaro:“I am very angry. My medical history has nothing to do with the statements that I gave to the police about the rape. I volunteered information on my background and medical history to the police, and expected that it would be treated in confidence.”

This suggests that this particular case has not been well handled. I have met ” Jane”  and  she is remarkably clear about the events that happened to her so long ago.

Again this raises the issue which Tom Watson, the Labour MP, has taken up with the Director of Public Prosecutions, that the case should be reviewed. And so it should soon.

Phone Hacking Trial: Charlie Brooks: Rebekah lived in “paranoia” of police dawn raid – Martin Hickman

It is amazing that according to hubbie Charlie Rebekah Brooks main fear was the ” killer photograph ” – of her being taken away in handcuffs and making the front page of a tabloid. This is the sort of thing dished out by the tabloids themselves – so must believe they are very potent.

Inforrm's Blog

Rebekah and Charlie Brooks Day 79: Rebekah Brooks lived in “paranoia” that she was about to be dawn raided by police and that a picture of her in handcuffs would end up in the papers, her husband Charlie told the phone hacking trial today.

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Why Tom Watson is dead right to call for child abuse FBI

Tom Watson MP: campaigning to get child sexual abuse cases investigated: Pic courtesy The Guardian

Tom Watson MP: campaigning to get child sexual abuse cases investigated: Pic courtesy The Guardian

Tom Watson, the MP who raised the historic child sex abuse issue that could involve politicians in the Commons, has this week called for the setting up of child abuse FBI.
In an article in the Sunday People and also on The Needleblog the MP forcibly questions why the National Crime Agency has failed to arrest any paedophile connected with an international ring or amorphous group.
Mr Watson told the Sunday People: “We’ve got an international policing operation that has netted hundreds of alleged paedophiles and the UK has failed to act on intelligence.

“This is completely unacceptable. It shows why we need a dedicated national team whose sole aim is to investigate allegations of child abuse.
“I think we need a proper team of officers who have investigative capabilities as well as powers of arrest.
“There are police officers who have been calling for it for years.”
Mr Watson’s call comes after the shocking news that ‘Project Spade’ had arrested hundreds of paedophiles -100 in Canada, 76 in the US and 164 in other countries
Almost 400 child sex slaves were freed and 341 alleged paedophiles arrested as part of the swoop.

I am not surprised about this. After observing the painstaking work the Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit has done to unearth historic child sexual abuse cases dating from the 1970s and 1980s and the long time it is taking achieve results, I am not surprised.
The number of police officers working on this scourge is frankly pitifully low and I am amazed they have got as far as they have. The expertise in this area other forces have outside London is not brilliant either – and they are dependent on outside help.
But child sexual abuse does not always take place within the UK – indeed with the internet there is growing evidence that child sexual trafficking crosses the world. But I doubt David Cameron will want to commit any more public resources to stop it – he prefers to leave it to pressing, as he did today, for Google and Microsoft to take the lead in tackling child sexual abuse.

Crosby Textor reaction: You’re just a two bit blog

managing director and business partner of Lynton Crosby

managing director and business partner of Lynton Crosby

Swift  and arrogant reaction to a rather critical piece today on Lynton Crosby’s  forthcoming libel action in Australia against Labor defence material minister, Mike Kelly.

A splendid exchange between Tom Watson and Mark Textor on Twitter followed publication.

  1. .@tom_watson pity about gross factual errors herein. Quoting 2 bit blogs now Tom? Poor old thing. Nite!

    3:04 PM – 21 Jul 13 ·
  2. @markatextor Oh, and if you don’t know the author of the blog, he’s @davidhencke. He’s very well known in the UK. Have a nice day now.

  3. @tom_watson @davidhencke couldn’t even get the name right. Lolz!

     3:11 PM – 21 Jul 13 ·
    Tweet text

  4. @markatextor I’ll let you get some sleep. It sounds like you need it.

Evidently Mark Textor’s sole objection to the piece was an error I made – which I am happy to apologise and have already corrected – mispelling his name –  substituting an e for an o.

The managing director modestly describes himself on the Crosby Textor website “As Australia ‘s most successful pollster and campaign strategist, Mark Textor is acknowledged as the most astute judge of public sentiment in Australia today.”

Indeed he may well be but I hope his clients who pay him millions get better advice than he gives himself. All I would say is beware of two bit blogs they sometimes can bite.

Justin Welby: An apology on sexual abuse is not enough

Justin Welby: Apology not enough Pic credit: The Guardian

Justin Welby: Apology not enough Pic credit: The Guardian

The decision by the Church of England Synod spurred on by  Justin Welby and John Sentamu,  archbishops of Canterbury and York, to apologise for past sins of child sexual abuse is welcome. But it is not nearly enough.

The words are fine. They offer to apologise unreservedly” for the failure of the Church of England’s systems to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by its clergy and others and for the failure to listen properly to those so abused.

They add: “The sexual and physical abuse that has been inflicted by these people on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame for years to come.”

But as I reported on Exaro News  for an independent inquiry. Graham Wilmer, of the Lantern Project, calls for a Commission for  Truth and Reconciliation ( see

They are big fears as the Stop Church Child Abuse put it : “is this a game, another in the decades of games played out in the public,to present a church responsive to its past failings and moving forward in harmony with survivors; until the next time, the next case that reveals further abuse, cover up and denial, and the inadequacy of effective procedures?” 

Unless there is a real rethink by all the churches and public institutions we are going to get nowhere. In my view from  limited investigations into historic child sexual abuse  the temptation to cover up abuse is enormous. Perpetrators  are often subtle, cunning and very plausible. They know how to get around systems – and are often helped by institutions that don’t want to face up to the shame of public disclosure.

We need to go much further and involve all churches including the  deeply reluctant Roman Catholic church to tackle what amounts to a tidal wave of historic abuse in this country with no fewer than four police investigations involving hundreds if not thousands of cases that have been uncovered.

That is why I am delighted  that Tom Watson, Labour MP who made the original allegations about a historic sexual abuse ring in Parliament is now  going to concentrate on pursuing this investigation – and will no longer be drawn into the time-consuming  battles that  are at present engulfing Labour’s campaign machine.