Politicians, including former Conservative PM Margaret Thatcher, police and prosecutors “turned a blind eye” to allegations of child sexual abuse connected to Westminster and ignored victims, an independent inquiry has found.
The 173-page report compiled by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse dismissed claims of a conspiracy involving an “organised Westminster pedophile network,” but did reveal serious cover-ups by British institutions. The review was published on Tuesday following hearings over the past two years.
The investigation, which went into allegations dating as far back as the 1960s, concluded that “political parties showed themselves, even very recently, to be more concerned about political fallout than safeguarding.” It goes on to say that the honors system “prioritized reputation” over the welfare of victims of the nominated persons.
The findings may prove to be uncomfortable reading for PM Boris Johnson. As recently as March last year, Johnson told LBC radio that money was being “spaffed up the wall” on historical child abuse investigations.
The inquiry was also scathing of the police who “paid little regard to the welfare of sexually exploited children.”
Most notably, the inquiry highlighted how Thatcher — who was UK PM from 1979 to 1990 — and ex-Tory party chairman Norman Tebbit were aware of rumors in the 1980s about MP Peter Morrison having “a penchant for small boys,” but did nothing about it.
The report also named Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith as being known to have a “sexual interest in children,” but who escaped prosecution. The allegations “should have rung alarm bells in government,” it said.
As a result of the investigation Lord Steel announced on Tuesday afternoon his resignation from the Liberal Democrat Party and as a member of the House of Lords. During the inquiries’ proceedings he admitted that he was made aware of child abuse allegations against Smith, but failed to report them.
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