The BBC TV Panorama programme The VIP Paedophile Ring: What’s The Truth? was broadcast on Tuesday, investigating claims that a VIP paedophile ring existed in Parliament. It has been criticised for bias and “lacking objectivity” by the campaigning investigative organisation Exaro.
Mark Watts, Exaro editor, says the programme failed to take account of the evidence from former senior police officers testifying to VIP involvement in child sexual abuse.
The Metropolitan Police are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for corruption relating to historical child sex abuse. The allegations by retired police officers include claims that investigations in the 1970s were halted by high-ranking officers and Special Branch after it was discovered MPs were involved.
The latest investigations are in addition to 17 inquires announced earlier this year. They all relate to claims about the suppression of evidence, officers hindering or halting investigations and claims offences were covered up.
In 2012 the Metropolitan Police were about to arrest a former Tory cabinet minister when Commander Peter Spindler, who had been leading the police criminal investigation into organised paedophiles sexually abusing young children from a council children’s home in Richmond upon Thames, was taken off the investigation and moved sideways to another job.
The suggestion is that powerful figures had complained about Spindler’s work in pursuing three major paedophile investigations and he had to be stopped.
Hilton Tims, editor of the Surrey Comet, was issued with a D notice in 1984 — an official warning not to publish intelligence that might damage national security — when he sought to report on a police investigation into the notorious Elm Guest House. This is the guest house where Cyril Smith MP and other Establishment figures preyed upon vulnerable children taken there from the children’s home.
Don Hale, former editor of the Bury Messenger, has recalled that Special Branch officers seized a paedophile dossier naming Establishment figures drawn up by Labour peer Barbara Castle in the 1980s. Officers citing “national security” confiscated the file which listed 16 MPs along with other local VIPs.
The National Archives recently released a file prepared for prime minister Margaret Thatcher which detailed the paedophile activities of Sir Peter Hayman, a former career diplomat and head of MI6. He was named by Geoffrey Dickens MP in the House of Commons when his name, along with those of many other MPs and government officials, was discovered in another dossier Dickens had collated.
The Director of Public Prosecutions at the time did nothing despite correspondence within the dossier showing Hayman’s link to the Paedophile Information Exchange and evidence of his interest in the sexual torture of young children.
This lack of action mirrored those of the then home secretary Leon Brittan, who did nothing and allowed the dossier to get lost in the Home Office.
A convicted paedophile Michael McAuliffe recently claimed to be able to provide information about paedophile MPs. James Bourne-Arton QC defending McAuliffe told Bradford Crown Court his client, “has information [related to] the abuse covered up in the 1970s in Westminster.”
The late solicitor general for Scotland, Nicholas Fairbairn, who was appointed by Thatcher, was a regular visitor at the notorious Elm Guest House where Smith also abused small children.
In 2000 the daughter of a Scottish lawyer alleged Fairbairn was part of a paedophile ring — Susie Henderson told the Daily Mail: “I told the police about him in 2000, I told them what Fairbairn was. But they wanted me to go away.”
In addition to that report, police are also investigating historical sex abuse allegations made against Labour peer Lord Tonypandy, the former MP George Thomas, involving a nine-year-old boy who says he was raped. South Wales police confirmed they were looking into the claims, which date back to the 1960s and 1970s.
Anthony Gilberthorpe attended Tory Party conferences starting in 1978 when he was 17. He claimed he was “manipulated and groomed” to procure underage boys for private sex parties on the orders of senior figures in Thatcher’s government.
He alleges boys as young as 15 were plied with alcohol and cocaine before they had sex with powerful politicians. Those he named as present include Dr Alistair Smith, Rhodes Boyson, Keith Joseph and Michael Havers.
Anthony Atkinson, the son of former Conservative MP David Atkinson, has also reported that he believes his father was a “prolific sexual predator” who he fears might have been linked to a Westminster paedophile ring.
Brian Gemmell, a former army intelligence officer, has said he was ordered to stop investigating allegations of child sexual abuse at the Kincora boys’ home in the 1970s. Gemmell said a senior MI5 officer told him to stop looking into claims of abuse at the home in East Belfast because people of the “highest profile” were involved in paedophile activity — he presented a report on the allegations to the police in 1975 but nothing happened.
John O’Connor, a former Scotland Yard commander, has admitted he knew of an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster.
O’Connor, once head of the Flying Squad, confirmed there were rumours of a sex scandal and he had been on standby for a major investigation. His claims suggested that prime minister Thatcher covered up child abuse allegations against a senior minister in the 1980s.
O’Connor said: “I remember when this was first flying about. I think it was in the early 1980s but then it just seemed to die a natural death. There was a rumour floating around the Yard at the time that there was a big paedophile ring in Westminster and that a major investigation was likely. We were on standby, ready for something special.” Nothing transpired.
David Tombs, who ran Hereford and Worcester social services, has said he also warned the government about paedophile MPs after the arrest of notorious paedophile Peter Righton in 1992.
Righton was a high profile childcare expert with links to the Establishment. In 2013, the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Cayacos to investigate claims that Righton was part of an Establishment paedophile network.
The weight of evidence of Establishment cover-up of historic child sexual abuse involving MPs and members of the House of Lords is now overwhelming.
As well as delaying the findings of the National Inquiry by Justice Goddard into historic child sexual abuse until after the 2020 general election, it has emerged that an inquiry under Justice Macur to find out if there was a cover-up by the Waterhouse Inquiry into sexual abuse by VIPs in North Wales Children’s homes has also been delayed.
- Steven Walker is a Unicef children’s champion.