Source: Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published on this site Wednesday 26th February 2020 by Jill Powell
The Inquiry has today published its Westminster report, which finds political institutions have significantly failed in their responses to allegations of child sexual abuse for decades.
This includes failing to recognise abuse, turning a blind eye to it, covering up allegations and actively protecting high-profile offenders, including politicians.
During three weeks of public hearings last year, the Inquiry heard from survivors, whistleblowers, cabinet ministers, MPs and police officers among others.
There has clearly been a significant problem with deference towards people of public prominence, from the Whips’ offices to the police and prosecutors, although the investigation found no evidence of an organised paedophile network at the heart of government.
For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, MPs including Sir Cyril Smith and Sir Peter Morrison were known to be active in their sexual interest in children, but were protected from prosecution.
Giving evidence, former Liberal Party leader Lord Steel said that because allegations against Smith had arisen before he joined the party, he saw “no reason, or no locus to go back to [it]”. This failure to recognise the risks was an abdication of responsibility, and the fact the offences were non-recent was irrelevant.
Meanwhile, senior officials within the Conservative party knew about allegations concerning Morrison for years but did not pass them on to police. Instead, he became Margaret Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990 and was knighted a year later.