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This is NOT the man who abused Steve Messham when the victim was a child. But if he wasn’t, why did a police officer tell Mr Messham he was?

It’s well-documented by now that abuse victim Steve Messham has apologised to former Conservative Party Treasurer Lord McAlpine after he realised that his claim about the identity of the man who abused him when he was a child were inaccurate.

It seems he was shown a photograph of his alleged abuser by police, back in the 1990s, and was told it was Lord McAlpine. This was not the case, as he discovered on Friday when he was shown another photo and realised his mistake.

This has led to a backlash against the BBC’s Newsnight programme, which covered Mr Messham’s allegations. Newsnight did not mention Lord McAlpine’s name; that came out via other means, but still the programme has come under attack.

Everybody seems to be going to great lengths to avoid some obvious questions:

Who was the man in the photograph shown to Mr Messham in the 1990s?

Who was the police officer who showed it to him?

And why did they lie to Mr Messham about the identity of the person in the photograph?

I also find it very disturbing that this vindication of the Conservative lord comes so soon after the incident on This Morning, when presenter Philip Schofield handed a list of alleged Conservative Party paedophiles to David Cameron. It looks like a hasty attempt by the Party at a whitewash: “Oh no, we don’t have paedophiles in our organisation. Look – the allegation against Lord McAlpine was wrong.” And the implication: “No, we’re not going to look any further into this.”

Disturbing.