Exaro News Archive

Tom Driberg MP ‘escaped prosecution for sexually abusing boys’

Simon Danczuk to accuse DPP Sir Norman Skelhorn of protecting top Labour MP in 1968

By Mark Watts | 2 December 2015

“The boys confirmed what was happening, and we were confident he was going to be arrested, but then nothing happened” – Former detective on Tom Driberg

Police were blocked from charging a senior Labour figure with sexually abusing boys, campaigning MP Simon Danczuk is set to reveal tonight.

In a dramatic return to campaigning on the issue of child sex abuse, Danczuk is to accuse Sir Norman Skelhorn, as director of public prosecutions (DPP) in 1968, of intervening to protect Tom Driberg, the late Labour MP.

Danczuk, himself a Labour MP, will point out in his Contrarian Prize lecture at the Cass Business School this evening that Skelhorn was also the DPP who blocked similar cases against Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP, in 1970, and Victor Montagu, the late Conservative MP, in 1972.

In his lecture, Danczuk is planning to say: “He was the same DPP who said that it was not in the public interest to prosecute the Liberal MP, Cyril Smith, and that it was not in the public interest to prosecute the Conservative MP, Victor Montagu, over child-abuse offences.

“So this could be the third MP that police wanted action taken against and were blocked by him from doing so.”

Danczuk, who is the winner of this year’s Contrarian Prize, which gives recognition to people in public life who “demonstrate independence, courage and sacrifice”, says that a former detective sergeant from Scotland Yard approached his office to reveal how Driberg was protected.

Danczuk was one of the MPs who pressed for the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse. He also led calls for the prosecution of Lord Janner, the former Labour MP, who denies allegations against him of sexually assaulting boys.

The ex-officer who contacted Danczuk’s office was part of a team that carried out surveillance on teenage escapees from what was then Feltham borstal in Middlesex in Greater London. Several of them were seen entering Driberg’s home. The ex-officer told Danczuk’s office that detectives interviewed the boys, who said that Driberg was sexually abusing them. Police filed an application to charge with the DPP.

However, Danczuk will say, Skelhorn decided that it was not in the public interest to proceed with the case. According to Danczuk, the former officer said: “We were livid that nothing happened.”

“We were sent to look at Driberg, who was an MP, and the allegation was that he was buggering boys who had absconded from Feltham. How he was getting hold of them I do not know.

“The boys confirmed what was happening, and we were confident that he was going to be arrested, but then nothing happened.”

Driberg was a journalist on the Daily Express before turning to politics. He was an MP over four decades until 1974. He was chairman of the Labour party from 1957 to 1958, became a peer in 1975, and died in 1976.

Since the detective approached Danczuk’s office, he has died suddenly of a heart attack.

Danczuk will say that his widow confirmed that the former officer had spoken to her about the case. “He was very disillusioned by the result,” she said. “They had a lot of evidence, and felt that Driberg should have been prosecuted.”

The case is not one of the 31 operations already under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over why they were halted.

A spokesman for Danczuk said that the MP had written to Alison Saunders, the current DPP, to ask whether the Crown Prosecution Service holds records of the case.

Her predecessor as DPP, Sir Keir Starmer, who was elected this year as a Labour MP, announced in 2012 that decisions against prosecuting Smith in 1970, 1998 and 1999 would not have been made today on the same evidence.

Skelhorn decided against prosecuting Montagu on charges of indecently assaulting a boy for nearly two years. Montagu was let off with a caution after promising that he would not see the boy again.

With Parliament due to vote at some point today on whether the UK should bomb Syria, Danczuk may yet be forced to delay or even pull out of delivering his lecture tonight.

Meanwhile, Exaro revealed yesterday how police are investigating 322 teachers across the UK over allegations of child sex abuse at institutions, as well as 99 national or local politicians among 2,228 suspects in total.

Additional research by Matthew Gilley.

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By Exaro News

Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.