Thursday. 27 October 2016

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Ministers block move to lift Official Secrets Act for CSA scandal

Government rejects immunity for public officials who blow whistle on child sex abuse

My amendment would have given immunity from prosecution only in relation to historical incidences of child abuse

John Mann, Labour MP

Ministers defeated a move to amend the Official Secrets Act to ensure that it bars no one from giving evidence about VIP paedophiles.

Theresa May, home secretary, last week repeated in Parliament assurances that the act should not stop anyone from giving evidence to the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse (CSA). David Cameron even underlined the assurance at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday.

But Exaro can reveal that May and most of her coalition colleagues in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties blocked an attempt in Parliament to change the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to give legal backing to such assurances.

The government defeated the amendment proposed by John Mann, Labour MP in a night-time vote in February that went unreported. An alert Exaro reader drew it to our attention.

Mann told Exaro: “What people need are absolute guarantees of protection under the OSA. From what I am hearing, people’s biggest concern about whistleblowing is being prosecuted under the OSA.”

He tried to introduce the amendment to the Serious Crime Bill as it was going through Parliament, and would have created a defence to a charge under the OSA for anyone who had supplied material to an official investigation or inquiry into child sex abuse.

The amendment was defeated by 295 MPs to 233. The move was opposed by 254 Conservatives and 40 Liberal Democrats, suggesting a whipped vote. But Mann’s proposal was supported by 233 MPs in the 9.15pm vote on February 23, including 207 from Labour, as well as 8 Conservatives and 3 Liberal Democrats.

We today publish the full voting break-down of MPs on Mann’s amendment.

Mann said: “My amendment would have given immunity from prosecution only in relation to historical incidences of child abuse. It was very clear, targeted and concise.”

He found May’s opposition “very peculiar”. He said that his amendment would have provided clarity for serving or former public officials not only for the CSA inquiry, but also police investigations. “There are people who are not providing information to ongoing police investigations because of the uncertainty over the Official Secrets Act,” he said.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The home secretary has already stated that the Official Secrets Act will not stop people giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. 

“In addition, there are long-standing precedents for the attorney general to guarantee that witnesses will not be prosecuted for evidence they give to public inquiries.”

He said that May has written to Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand judge who is chairing the CSA inquiry to suggest that “she might wish to secure such a guarantee from the attorney general.”

The spokesman added: “She is clear that the Official Secrets Act should not prevent people from coming forward to give evidence to this inquiry.”

May repeated the assurance when giving evidence to MPs on the House of Commons home affairs committee on Tuesday, although it hardly amounted to immunity from the OSA. She said: “I hope they would not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act, and would not expect them to be.”

On Monday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced that it was investigating allegations that Scotland Yard had halted operations that uncovered evidence of child sex abuse by MPs and others, adding pressure on the government to provide a clear-cut immunity from the OSA for serving and former police officers and other public officials.

Exaro also reveals today that the IPCC investigation will cover allegations that police suppressed operations that might have exposed Lord Brittan, former home secretary, as a paedophile.

Tom Watson, Labour MP, who supported Mann’s amendment, last week started a petition to demand a clear immunity for police and intelligence officers who can provide relevant information for the IPCC investigation.

He pressed Cameron during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday about the issue, asking: “Notwithstanding the reassurances from the home secretary, will the prime minister please give a cast-iron guarantee that former public officials with knowledge of the cover-ups are given full whistleblower protections?”

Cameron replied: “I am absolutely clear about the fact that I do not want anyone to be prosecuted for uncovering wrongdoing in such a way.”

Additional research by Ben Stupples.

If you have information that might help our investigation into child sex abuse, please contact us. Keep re-visiting Exaro for more on this investigation.

LIST OF OTHER RELEVANT PIECES: Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

Article Comments

Interesting that Mr Cameron says that he does not want anyone to be prosecuted if they were to give evidence BUT as Cameron does (allegedly) not control the UK State Police and Crown Prosecution Service, his assurances mean nothing (in law).
What decent minded person would try to block this Their are lots of them saying they want to get to the truth then trying to put obstacles les in the way still If they cannot tell the whole truth now about something so important who h ranks above any national security purity issues then politics really has had its day. Didn't someone high powered who worked with BRITTAN WHO WOULD KNOW JUST SAY IT WAS ALL CONSPIRACY THEORIES and would have been briefed of the truth at no5 meetings if it was national security issues How can it every be secret national security when you are talking about the abuse of children
Proof, if proof were needed, of just how massive the cover-up was and how terrified these people are.
They are protecting High Court Judges, Military Chiefs, MPs, etc who were involved with Dolphin Square, and Elm Guesthouse. They are also blocking any leads to people who could give names of people attending those 'parties'. It looks as if the secret service are heavily involved in this cover up.
this amendment was definitely whipped. They have tried to make it look like a free vote. Another offshoot of the overall conspiracy. Shame on those who have not taken this seriously. They will probably give the excuse that the amendment was not far reaching enough which makes them look like the good guys. This brings the cesspit analogy more real. The arrogance of the criminal minds behind all this is sickening when set alongside the suffering and endurance of the survivors. Some are at breaking point with having their hopes raised and then dashed by heartless monsters in positions of wealth and power. Faith in the IPCC to get to the truth is not high. With the reach of these un subs both at home and abroad it is hard to know who you can trust to bring justice for the past and present victims. This is still going on and these morons are laughing in the faces of decent people who would stop this tomorrow if they could. May has been trying to divert and in some ways attempting to spread the blame by making statements that it is more widespread than expected. We have had the occasional sacrificial goat of a minor celeb or two. Some have been found not guilty which implies the police can get things wrong. Newsnight last week covered the Cyril Smith story with little or no mention of Thatcher's knowledge when giving him a knighthood. One reporter did a piece to camera at the end of the report and his remarks were quite telling of the BBC's attempt to play things down and close down further investigation. He said "there are some who say that we should let sleeping dogs lie". What a disgraceful approach from a programme that played a questionable role when the Saville revelations came out. If survivors take to twitter and start naming names and the inevitable storm ensues then who can blame them. Despite the best efforts of Exaro team and the odd other good journalists no arrests have been made and anyone following these matters many wonder why?
The TPTB control MSM so MSM just drip feeds us as the TPTB see fit. They are protecting a lot of people. i dont take them seriously they are minnions who are controlled like puppets they are! Like i said the world is being run by SATANIC souless people. They are part of the club, so if they go down the whole establishment will!! It is exactly that a sick world that is works beyond the five sense reality!!!
Last week I was surprised to hear Theresa May said she hoped that police officers would not be prosecuted under official secrets act. As far as I was aware that was largely her call. Then I heard there had been a vote and the amendment had been voted down. And later today I discovered that the vote had been held in secret in a night time sitting in February and that May had already voted against what she claimed to be hoping for. I had hoped that her involvement with CSA inquiry was positive and that she was actually trying to do things right , probably without much support. Now I see how dishonest she is. It is remarkable that the fates of children can be decided on political lines, this was clearly a whipped vote and there is not a chance that a single constituency represented by these MPs would have asked the MP who is supposed to represent them to ensure that witness testimony be hidden in this case. This is the vilest abuse of the "democratic" system. But make no mistake, this brings things to a new phase. No one who voted the amendment down can ever dismiss this as "historic" or mistakes that were made in the past. By entering the house and reinforcing the fact that the Official Secrets Act still binds these police officers, the coalition has made this their crime. They supposedly assessed facts and risks and decided that the freedom of MPs takes precedent over the rape and murder of children. They have weighed things out and said that if an MP wants to help themselves to a child from a home or off the streets, for rape for torture for murder, not only is that to be accepted, it is a criminal offence for a policeman to talk about to an inquiry board. Their decision to uphold the restrictions put on police officers makes them as culpable as whatever agencies first decided to protect these people, The governing party of the UK is guilty of harbouring criminals, it is guilty of obstructing justice and it is guilty of joint enterprise. Please repeat this to any MP who might come to your town hall or doorstep. The Tories have about forty days left, they hoped that by accusing the police of incompetence or worse that they could turn attention from themselves. Instead they have proven themselves to be more concerned about the protection of the criminals in their midst than they are for the lives of children. There is nothing they can say to justify their decision. They can admit they were wrong and reverse it. Or stand by their decision and go down in disgrace
Put the list on the front page of the mirror or Sunday people This will remind people who not to vote for in the election This is more serious than the other topics
Well said Adrian Mcgrath May Help but May not After all they were only disenfranchised children Come on Milliband get this out in the forefront even if it hurts some labour people show your moral compass is in the right place
Let's have an election where the people know just what slimeballs they have been voting for in the past. Who will remain? Doesn't matter, we don't need dishonest, perverted, blackmailed, corrupt people in power, no matter how mighty they seemed.
Heard your LBC interview on the 20th in which the OSA was discussed. Led to a discussion with Vauxhallman the next day. Even he agrees with you Mark. That amazed me but his reasoning was the OSA is not there to protect paedophiles (...and it is a bit antiquated as well!) But then he has read all the files 'across the River' on dead and current MP paedophiles.
FWd the list to your local newspaper and get your mp to answer why
The only way is for the people around the WORLD to getup and demand change by marching on to parliament with thousands upon thousands contiounsly!!! But their are too many sheep who wont do it.
Well you know the list so go to your MP and demand why he voted the way or she did!! Expose them, and DONT vote for the left and or right paradigm they are one and the same.!!!
Theresa May wtf is it your trying to prevent from becoming manifest?! Whatever it is you are trying very hard to cover-up it will one day be known by the public.

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