Youth & Policy No. 17, 1986, by John Pinkerton & Greg Kelly
Labour leader Ed Miliband has made a statement saying that the government should get a move on in setting up a national inquiry into organised child abuse.
“The case now is overwhelming for the Government to get an overarching inquiry into child abuse up and running. We have seen scandals of child abuse in different institutions, in different parts of the country and stretching across different decades. An overarching inquiry has been delayed too long and needs to get moving as fast as possible to start listening to all those who have been let down by a system set up to protect them.” (BBC News)
This is in sharp contrast to the condescending and evasive reply that Ed Miliband’s office gave to a handwritten letter from Peter McKelvie demanding a national inquiry, which referred to an open letter to David Cameron (see below). The reply sounds like it’s discussing a complaint about roadworks, instead of decades of horrific child abuse and subsequent cover-ups by people in authority.
Miliband’s main interest in supporting an inquiry at this late stage seems to be political expediency, after Labour-run Rotherham council has been shown to have allowed 1400 vulnerable children to have been abused, raped, and exploited over a 16 year period.
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.
Sunday People, 12th February 1984
A recently discovered press cutting shows that Peter Righton was questioned about indecent assaults on children by the Obscene Publications Squad in November 1994 – several months after the Hereford & Worcester investigation had been shut down, and after the BBC documentary Secret Life of a Paedophile had been broadcast. It can be assumed by the absence of any further news reports that he was never charged with an offence, despite clear evidence from his diaries including names and ages of victims, along with the name of the institution where he abused them. The November 1994 arrest took place in Eye, Suffolk – presumably at Lord Henniker’s estate, where he had been living since his 1992 arrest.
The Independent, 10th November 1994
A former lecturer on child social work is being questioned about indecent assaults on children. Scotland Yard’s Obsene Publications Squad arrested Peter Righton, 68, in Eye, Suffolk.
Peter McKelvie ( former Hereford & Worcester team manager) gives some background to the case:
“One of the many reasons I contacted Tom Watson MP in October 2012 was my anger and frustration that Peter Righton had been allowed to die with just one minor conviction for possession of indecent images of children when I knew how evil a web he had spun in full sight of leading social work agencies such as the National Children’s Bureau and the National Institute of Social Work not to mention the high regard he was obviously held in at the Department of Health
Much has been made of Savile being given the keys to Broadmoor
Righton didn’t need the keys, he could walk in to any children’s home or local authority boarding school in the UK on ” official business ”
My Director David Tombs retired in 1994 and my team was closed down and disbanded virtually immediately afterwards.”
[Updated: I am immensely grateful to Peter McKelvie, Liz Davies, Martin Walkerdine and @Snowfaked (on Twitter) for providing extra information which has helped to fill in gaps in my earlier account]
I do intend at some point to publish a comprehensive account of all that can be ascertained about the life and activities of the sinister figure of Peter Righton, perhaps the most important of all figures in terms of the abuse scandals soon to be investigated by the national inquiry, and believed to have been a serial abuser himself with a great many victims. Both demands of time and also legal constraints do not permit this at present, but for now I wanted to publish some information and sources on Righton’s activities up until the early 1980s.
Righton was born in June 1926 as Paul Pelham Righton, in Kensington . He grew up in Kent , and attended Ardingly College…
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Viscount Tonypandy (formerly George Thomas MP, Speaker of the Commons) was appointed as chairman of National Children’s Home (NCH) in 1983. He led NCH’s ‘Children in Danger’ campaign – “to counter the effects of a continuing high level of physical and sexual abuse”, and joined a BBC radio crew looking for ‘waifs’ on the streets of Soho and Leicester Square.
Police are currently investigating allegations that the late George Thomas raped a nine-year-old boy. (BBC News)
George Thomas helped former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe escape prosecution for ‘a homsexual offence against a minor’. Leo Abse MP boasted that he had threatened a young ‘delinquent’ who had allegedly tried to blackmail his close friend George Thomas. See Leo Abse MP, George Thomas MP, and Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe
The Times, 13th October 1983
Leo Abse MP on dealing with George Thomas MP’s young blackmailer:
“Over the years, given his exposed position, it was inevitable that he would fall victim to blackmail. On one occasion, after a distraught recounting to me of the pressure upon him, I insisted I would meet and deal with the young criminal in his constituency into whose hands he had fallen.
My reputation in Cardiff’s criminal underworld stood me in good stead in dealing with the wretch. As a lawyer, I had often acted in the courts on behalf of the local prosecution department, and even more frequently, I had defended the city’s gangsters. As one-time chairman of the watch committee, I had the duty of supervising the local police.
The blackmailing cur, therefore, had no doubt that, unless he desisted, I would carry out my threat to ensure he was put behind bars for 10 years; shortly after our encounter he found it was politic to quit the city.”
Leo Abse MP on how George Thomas MP helped Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe escape prosecution for ‘a homosexual offence against a minor’:
“Yet the slightest tremor of scandal, however faintly reverberating into his private domain, reduced him to jelly. One such ocasion was in 1976 when, summoned to his sitting-room in the Speaker’s house, I found him grey-faced and trembling. Investigative journalists, some from the BBC, were pursuing inquiries into the then Liberal leader, Jeremy Thorpe.
They had evidently reached the conclusion that, some 16 years earlier, under a Conservative government, political intervention had saved Thorpe from being prosecuted for a homosexual offence against a minor. They also believed that, when Thorpe became embroiled in another scandal in 1964, he feared that the records in the Home Office of his earlier misbehaviour would wreck his efforts to free himself of his new dilemma.
The journalists had discovered that Thorpe – using his friend, the fraudulent Liberal MP Peter Bessell, as an intermediary – had turned to George, who was then a parliamentary under-secretary at the Home Office, for help. Yielding to Bessell’s importuning, George had set up a private meeting between Bessell and the home secretary.”
Police are currently investigating allegations that George Thomas MP raped a nine-year-old boy. BBC News
Sunday Times, 18th March 2001