Lord Steel has resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats and announced his intention to resign as a Lord after damning criticism by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
In a 190-page report, the inquiry accused Steel of “abdication of responsibility” after he failed to act on allegations about the late MP Sir Cyril Smith’s sexual interest in children.
Smith, who died in 2010, was investigated by police in 1969 over claims he sexually abused teenage boys at a hostel in Rochdale – and admitted he had acted as the boys claimed. But police decided not to prosecute, and we are left to question that decision.
Steel told the inquiry last year that he failed to pass on allegations against Smith even though he believed them to be true, because it was “past history”. He even recommended Smith for a knighthood later.
This is just one example of a political culture in the 1970s, 80s and even later that the inquiry described as valuing politicians’ reputations “higher than the fate of children”.
Those are chilling words, and anybody reading them should be shocked and disgusted at the behaviour, not just of those who abused children, but of those who went out of their way to protect the abusers.
They are accessories in some of the most serious sexual crimes.
As such, do you think a mere resignation by Lord Steel is enough? Shouldn’t the police be considering prosecution? Didn’t he aid and abet a sex criminal? Didn’t he pervert the course of justice in doing so?
What about Baroness Thatcher? She is implicated in the case of late Tory MP (have you noticed how the perpetrators all seem to have died, now the evidence is coming to light?) Sir Peter Morrison who “had a penchant for small boys” and was allegedly caught by police in 1989, molesting a 15-year-old boy on a train in Crewe.
The following year, he became Mrs Thatcher’s top aide, and he was knighted in 1991.
The report said it was unclear whether she had been told he was gay or that he was a paedophile – but this rings false. If her party whips knew, then as leader she should have known. It was her business to know.
Consider the recent scandal of the dossier that Tory whips have kept on recent – and, presumably, current – MPs’ sexual activities. It seems incredible to expect a prime minister not to have information about such – potentially hugely damaging – behaviour by members of their team.
The report said people in positions of public prominence had been given deference that meant their crimes had been ignored.
That is unacceptable.
Nobody engaging in criminal activity of any kind should be above the law – as Cyril Smith, Peter Morrison and – yes – Lord Steel and Baroness Thatcher seem to have been.
Those who have died should be stripped of any titles they had and any historical record of them should show that they disgraced their positions in the worst possible way.
And those who are alive should pay a heavy penalty, as described by the law – including those who knew what was happening but didn’t raise the alarm.
But that’s just my opinion. What do you think?
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