Simon Danczuk should stress inquiry call at parliamentary hearing, argues Exaro’s editor
By Mark Watts | 30 June 2014
Prime minister David Cameron is under intense pressure to agree to an overarching inquiry into child sex abuse in the UK. He does not want it, but with a growing number of MPs who are calling for such an inquiry, he may have no choice.
That Cameron and two cabinet ministers on three separate occasions in the House of Commons have been pressed by MPs on the issue shows the huge impact of the campaign behind it.
The establishment does not want it; the mainstream media was slow on the up-take. But it is the best prospect for rooting out the truth. And 122 MPs – so far – are backing the call for the inquiry.
It has been the talk of MPs in the corridors of the House of Commons; the same for peers in the House of Lords.
The campaign started earlier this month after Exaro broke the story about how two Conservative MPs, Zac Goldsmith and Tim Loughton, former children’s minister, led a group of seven who sent a joint letter to Theresa May, home secretary, asking her to set up an independent panel to hold such an inquiry.
The initial group of seven MPs included other key figures who have campaigned against child sex abuse, not least Labour’s Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk. Watson first raised claims in Parliament of sexual abuse by leading political figures in the wake of the exposure of Jimmy Savile, the late BBC star, as a paedophile.
And Danczuk co-wrote a book, ‘Smile for the Camera,’ exposing the paedophile life of Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP who died in 2010.
Through a series of tweets over the past eight days, Exaro has set out why it would be wrong for an MP to use parliamentary privilege – as newspapers have speculated – at a planned hearing tomorrow of the House of Commons home affairs committee to name the former cabinet minister who is at the centre of historical allegations of child sex abuse.
In summarising the main reasons against naming him at tomorrow’s hearing about child sex abuse, I have first focussed on the priority: the call for an overarching inquiry into organised sexual abuse of children in all areas, including “care” and health services, religious groups and politics.
Cameron would be relieved by a diversion from the inquiry call. Naming a name in Parliament tomorrow would provide this relief, as front pages would be dominated by the ex-minister, with the inquiry issue buried.
The prime minister would love an excuse to reject the inquiry call. Naming a name in Parliament tomorrow would provide this excuse, enabling him to argue that an inquiry would only fuel unsubstantiated allegations.
The danger is another ‘McAlpine moment’. A disastrous report in 2012 by BBC2’s Newsnight – based on a case of mistaken identity – led Lord McAlpine, the late former Conservative treasurer, to be wrongly accused of sexually abusing a boy in care.
The danger is another distraction and the setting back of exposing evidence of the organised, institutionalised, sexual abuse of children over many decades in the UK.
Journalists on national newspapers, desperate for a splash story, are pressuring Danczuk to name the ex-minister tomorrow.
They are also briefing MPs on the committee, hoping to ensure that someone will name him.
Exaro knows of at least one member who wants him named.
Danczuk has played an important part in helping to expose evidence of an astonishing scandal in the UK over child sex abuse.
We have strongly advised him against naming the ex-minister tomorrow, and we are grateful that he has listened to us closely and is considering our points carefully.
In the end, the decision rests with him – and other MPs on the committee.
We hope that they use the occasion to pile yet more pressure on Cameron over the need for that overarching inquiry.
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