The source of Tom Watson’s PMQ writes of his frustration in trying to get a proper reply to his Open Letter to David Cameron:
“It has left me angry and frustrated that letters to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, about the decades of abuse and cover up involving children in care by very powerful individuals, should be passed down for a reply to 3 faceless civil servants who can’t even provide their names or a contact telephone number.
However it gets worse.
I re-read all 3 replies again yesterday.
The first one “on behalf of the Prime Minister” dated 22nd October is from a Correspondence Officer, the signature is illegible with no typing of a name to accompany it and there is no reference or phone number. It is “from The Direct Communications Unit” but on 10 Downing Street headed notepaper.
The second one “on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister” dated 23rd October is also from a Correspondence Officer, the signature is again illegible with no typing of a name to accompany it and again there is no reference or phone number. It is also “from The Direct Communications Unit” but on 70 Whitehall headed notepaper.
The third letter, not dated and with the wrong spelling of my name, is also from The Direct Communications Unit but this time on 2 Marsham Street Home Office headed notepaper.
This third letter gives a name – L. Smart but no job title. It does have a reference number however and a phone number to contact.
Putting aside the fact that the author of the letter doesn’t address a single issue I have raised and the fact that he or she has the audacity to conclude the letter with ” I hope this clarifies the Government’s position on these matters “, at least I had a telephone number and an email address to reply to. Or so I thought.
Yesterday Monday 2nd December I rang the number on the third letter – 020 7035 4848 and asked to speak to L.Smart . I was told that I was through to the Home Office but they did not have a L.Smart at that number.
Today I thought a direct approach would be the best way forward.
I walked in to the Home Office at 2 Marsham Street and asked if they had an L.Smart working there and could I have an extension number for him/her. The person on the Enquiries Desk was helpful but adamant no such person worked at the Home Office.
I then asked the receptionist if she could explain the system to me. Did each Government Department have their own Direct Communications Unit and Correspondence Officer or Officers or was there one centralised Unit somewhere else? She replied that it was not her job to explain that to me and I needed to ring the number on the letter/letters I had received or email the person or persons who had written to me.
I very politely explained that I had rung the only telephone number provided in 3 letters and had been told that a L.Smart was not on the system.
I explained that I had replied to L.Smart on the email address provided ie Public.Enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk but as they were now telling me there wasn’t an L.Smart at the Home Office it didn’t fill me with confidence that my reply would go to the right person or even get to the Home Office.
I again very politely explained that the other reason I had come in to the Home Office was to find out the job title of the last person to write to me ie L.Smart because given the very serious nature of my concerns which had led to me writing to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister I did want to know if a senior Civil Servant was writing to me or was it the office junior or someone on work experience. I said it was very important to me to know the level of response.
I was told they couldn’t help any further and I must phone in and ask for L.Smart. I asked why couldn’t they do that for me.Of course they couldn’t because they had just told me no one of that name worked there.
I went outside and rang the Home Office number and was again told that there was no L.Smart and did I have more details like a Christian name, a section or an extension number or direct line. I politely explained I would have rung the direct number and or extention and asked for the person if I had been given those details.
I then went back in to reception by which time a security person who had overheard the whole of my conversations advised me that it was time for me to leave and the staff there could not help me further.
I am a very slight and polite person and at no time did I raise my voice or use inappropriate language.
It was re-assuring to know that one section of the Home Office security services is in good working order.
It’s a shame it couldn’t have been said about the other parts when the Chairman of PIE worked there or when they were allegedly funding that organisation.
Ironically if I had gone in to the Home Office exactly 30 years earlier in the same circumstances I might have been escorted off the premises by that same Chairman of PIE doing his day job as a security guard.”
This is the original ‘Open Letter to David Cameron’ that both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have failed to respond to:
Dear Mr. Cameron
On the very day, 24th October 2012, that Tom Watson asked you a PMQ re. the possibility of a link between a very large and highly organised paedophile ring and No 10, you made a number of quotes to the mainstream media.
You were in fact referring to the Savile/BBC/NHS scandal.
I made a note of some of those quotes :-
”The Government will do all it can do, other institutions must do what they can do, to make sure that we learn the lesson of this and it can NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN”
“Collusion should NEVER happen again ”
”The measure of how our society is, is how we treat its most vulnerable members”
There are no more vulnerable members of our society than children who have been taken in to care and then re-abused by the very people charged with the responsibility of caring for them and protecting them,and even worse then passing them on to be further abused by the very people who make the laws in this country and are expected to lead the way on the moral compass of that society.
I have no doubt that you have watched or been made aware of Channel 4′s Dispatches on 12th September and the allegations that arose from it regarding the role of senior politicians, the security services and the Crown Prosecution Service in covering up the horrendous abuse carried out by Cyril Smith over 5 decades.The overlap with Savile in terms of who knew about this abuse were laid bare.
I also have no doubt that you are aware that your colleagues in your party, Edwina Currie,Gyles Brandreth and Rod Richards have made very damning statements of how well known in Westminster circles it was that Peter Morrison was a dangerous paedophile, and yet his career was unaffected as he rose to be Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Mrs. Thatcher’s PPS in 1990 and her campaign manager that same year despite this knowledge having been around for many years.
I also have no doubt that you are aware of the statement of Tim Fortescue,Edward Heath’s Chief Whip from 1970-73, made public on Michael Cockerell’s BBC Documentary in 1995 called “Westminster’s Secret Service “.
Talking about the role of the chief whip, Fortescue said ” For anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth ………….. it might be erm erm a scandal involving small boys ……….. we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points ……. and if I mean, that sounds a pretty,pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then,he will do as we ask forever more.”
I don’t need to tell you of the revulsion I feel towards our political masters having worked with sexually abused children for over 30 years when I heard of how the Whips ran the Dirt Book system.
Your colleague, John Whittingdale, in his role as Chair of the Culture Committee,put himself forward as the moral voice of Parliament in the days following the exposure of Savile on national TV.
He lost no opportunity to appear on every news channel for many days to demand in effect the head of the Director General of the BBC.To date I have not heard you or Mr. Whittingdale demand such investigations in to your own institution despite the mountain of concern a small proportion of which I have referred to above.
Just on Savile alone without looking any further why was there no investigation along the lines of the many BBC inquiries in to why a British Prime Minister was so close to Savile that he allegedly attended 13 consecutive New Year’s Eve parties at Chequers and why the same Prime Minister allegedly persevered for many years in insisting that such an evil man long identified as having a deviant sexual history should get a knighthood,ignoring the advice of her closest advisers.
Why was the same man so welcome in Prince Charles’s properties despite the security services and similar vetting institutions having enough opportunity to tap in to the ” gossip” about Savile that was around for decades.
I would dearly like to go in to more detail but until the Metropolitan Police’s Operations Fernbridge and Fairbank are completed then for obvious reasons I can not.
In the aftermath of the Lord McAlpine affair I was extremely disappointed by the confusion you attempted to create by making accusations of gay witch-hunts. There is no connection whatsoever between being gay and being a paedophile.
This is about and only about people who abuse young children regardless of whether the abuser is heterosexual or gay.
There is no witch-hunt against gay people and it was most irresponsible for a Prime Minister to make such a statement when the abuse of our most vulnerable was the issue.
Now is the time for you to show the genuine commitment expected of a Prime Minister and do what you preached in those statements last October especially ” COLLUSION SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN ” and the demand that ALL institutions look inwards and examine their role in past collusion/cover up.
A starting point, and to give Parliament and Government any credibility in this heinous historical scandal, is for you to put all party political considerations aside and arrange an urgent meeting with Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to draw up a blueprint as to how your own institution will be investigated along the lines of the way you and colleagues demanded that people be brought to account in the BBC or NHS for their failure to blow the whistle on Savile.
It would be better if you led such an exercise before it is forced upon you by public demand.
The latter will happen in time.
A starting point would be an immediate statement that there will be urgent cross-party talks to set up an independant body to examine who ordered these cover ups of people like Smith and Morrison, after ordering an immediate Police investigation by the National Crime Agency and ensuring that the latter body has sufficient resources to go wherever the evidence takes them and however long it takes. This must include the investigation of living politicians, police officers,civil servants,security services personnel etc.
The source of Tom Watson’s PMQ