Signatories of letter to Theresa May write to all MPs to press her for independent panel
By David Hencke and Frederika Whitehead | 16 June 2014
It comes as the number of MPs who have expressed support for such an inquiry today passed the 50 mark.
The two Conservative MPs have sent letters to each of their colleagues in all parties in the House of Commons to ask them to back the call on Theresa May, home secretary, to set up an independent panel to investigate repeated failures by police and other authorities in a wide variety of cases of organised abuse. The move marks an escalation of their cross-party campaign, which started a fortnight ago with a joint letter to May from a cross-party group of seven MPs (pictured above) who asked for an investigation similar to the inquiry into Hillsborough, the football disaster of 1989.
A groundswell of support in Parliament for such an inquiry quickly grew thanks to a crowd-sourcing campaign by Exaro’s Twitter followers (@ExaroNews), and David Cameron was challenged about it at prime minister’s questions last week.
The number of MPs who supported the call for an inquiry jumped to 40 after a week, and has since risen to 53. We have updated the full list of MPs who are backing the call for an inquiry, along with their comments in support.
Loughton is determined to see that the national inquiry is established. He told Exaro that he wanted to ensure that every MP was aware of the issue, and to explain why a national inquiry is necessary.
The letters to each MP will include the original communication to May from the initial group of seven.
Loughton said: “This should give it some renewed impetus.”
Goldsmith told Exaro: “The response from MPs so far has been very encouraging. We are hoping that if more people back the move the home secretary, Theresa May, will consider very carefully agreeing to the inquiry. We are hopeful that this will happen.”
Tom Watson, the Labour MP who first raised claims in Parliament of sexual abuse by leading political figures, told Exaro that he backed the letter to all MPs to ask them to support the inquiry call.
The original letter to May said that the government needed to set up the inquiry because of police failures.We have reproduced the full text of the letter below:
Dear Home Secretary,
We are writing to ask you to set up a full, properly resourced investigation into the failure of the Police to follow the evidence in a number of historical cases of child sexual abuse.
We would ask you to set up an independent panel, similar to the Inquiry you established into the Hillsborough tragedy, with powers to demand the release of all and any material from every agency involved.
We would like such a panel to work with the many victims of child sexual abuse from local authority care, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and schools, including public schools, to uncover the facts in cases including the following:
a. Operation Fernbridge – Richmond: Elm Guest House and Grafton Close Children’s Home, Norbiton, Weybridge & Petersham
b. Operation Orchid – Hackney and Islington
c. The Geoffrey Dickens’ dossiers – and Monkton Street Home for Mentally Handicapped Children, Lambeth
d. Sir Cyril Smith – Rochdale, including Knowl View Special School
e. HM Customs & Excise – Russell Tricker videos
f. Trafficking involving British businessmen in Amsterdam
g. Warwick Spinks – Amsterdam & Prague
h. “Jane” alleged rape by a man who went on to become a Cabinet minister
We would ask that the panel examines:
i. why detailed dossiers – such as the documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens – have disappeared
ii. why Police surveillance videos – said to be of prominent people who have been involved in paedophile rings – have gone missing
iii. why child pornography videos seized by HM Customs & Excise have been lost or destroyed
iv. why investigations appear repeatedly to have been stalled or abandoned over the last thirty years
We look forward to an early response.
Simon Danczuk MP
Zac Goldsmith MP
Tessa Munt MP
Tom Watson MP
Tim Loughton MP
Caroline Lucas MP
John Hemming MP
Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread