Why Tom Watson is right to call for investigation of Leon Brittan child abuse allegations

Why was Leon Brittan  allegedly implicated in child sex abuse/cover up?

  1. Firstly, let us not forget that Leon Brittan is still under investigation by the police for allegations of child sex abuse, but let’s leave that aside for the time being, until those investigations have been completed.

2. Secondly, let’s remember the fact that Leon Brittan was never interviewed over ‘Jane’s rape allegations, according to DAC Rodhouse, because DCI Settle failed to follow correct procedures.

According to Rodhouse, it appears that the facts that Brittan did meet ‘Jane’ and that she did go to his home may not have been disputed by the investigating police or by the CPS – but only by Brittan himself – he denied ever having met her.
Apparently the CPS decision not to review the rape investigation was based on doubt as to whether Brittan believed that ‘Jane’ had consented to sexual contact, and not on doubt over whether he had met her.
As Brittan insisted be hadn’t met her and she had never been to his home, the facts could not be established without a police interview.
As there was no interview, it is unclear on what grounds the CPS refused to review the investigation after DAC Rodhouse alerted them to his concerns over DCI Settle’s handling of the case.

Such a lack of clarity/transparency shuld be of grave concern in the context of the pre-existing culture of denial, cover up and complicity which has hindered the proper investigation of child sex abuse allegations against VIPs

3. Thirdly, Brittan appears to be the person last seen with the “disappeared” Geoffrey Dickens dossiers, allegedly containing evidence of a paedophile network involving “people in positions of power, influence and responsibility”.

  • In 1984, Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens met with Leon Brittan and handed himthe dossier.
  • A second copy of the dossier was reported to have been given to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Thomas Hetherington.
  • Brittan promised Dickens that he would personally see to it that the files were properly investigated, and later made a press statement to the effect that he planned to launch a personal crusade against child sex abuse.
  • Despite this, nothing further was heard about the dossiers until February 2013, when Labour MP Tom Watson asked the Home Office for Dickens’ dossier.
  • A Home Office review in 2013 concluded that Mr Dickens’ dossier was “not retained”
  • In 2014 the Home Office launched an investigation into what had happened to it.
  • The investigation concluded that the information received had been passed to the appropriate authorities.
  • BUT: in 2015, Mark Sedwill, permanent secretary to the Home Office, admitted for the first time that his department had destroyed, lost or simply “not found” 114 “potentially relevant files”

So what happened to the dossiers? And why is Brittan implicated in their disappearance?

Brittan’s accounts of his recollections of what happened to the Dickens files are riddled with inconsistencies and even outright contradictions.

In February 2013, Brittan claimed:

“I’m afraid I do not recollect (the meeting with Dickens) and do not have any records which would be of assistance.”

However in July 2014 Brittan after all remembered meeting Dickens and receiving the dossier.

“As I recall, he came to my room at the Home Office with a substantial bundle of papers.”

He was quite clear that this meeting was the end of the affair, saying:

“I do not recall being contacted further about these matters by Home Office officials or by Mr Dickens or by anyone else.”

Later that same day, however, Brittan admitted this was incorrect,  in fact he had been further contacted by Dickens:

“a letter was sent from myself to Mr Dickens on March 20, 1984 explaining what had been done in relation to the files.”

Article link

Why so many changes of story? Is it really conceivable that Brittan had simply forgotten?
Douglas Hurd  in his memoirs describes how “Leon’s style was centralising in the sense that he liked to know everything and took the main decisions himself.”
Is it really credible then that after Dickens handed the dossier to him, Brittan withdrew from all further involvement, even after promising to see to it personally?

There were at least 2 witnesses to the meeting between Dickens and Brittan, either of whom should have been able to clarify what took place. According to Brittan, one was his private secretary.

  • Sir Brian Cubbon was his principal private secretary at the time of the meeting with Dickens. But Cubbon claims he has “no recollection at all” of the Dickens dossier. Article link
  • Leon Brittan’s Parliamentary Private Secretary was Tim Smith MP. He also has no memory of the Dickens Dossier.
  • David Mellor was present at the 1983 meeting as a junior minister. Link. Mellor claims If any evidence of paedophile activity had crossed my desk while I was a Home Office minister, or those of any of my ministerial colleagues, I am totally certain effective action would have been taken. But it didn’t cross our desks.” Link

Is it really credible that not one of the witnesses remember anything at all about the meeting, or about the Dickens dossiers or indeed the million signed petition?

To summarise: after at least 3 meetings with Geoffrey Dickens at which Dickens handed Brittan a substantial bundle of papers and a million signature petition asking for action on child sex abuse, and after promising Dickens he would personally act to stop child abuse:

  • Brittan at first claimed he had no recollection of the meeting.
  • He then admitted the meeting took place, but claimed he had no further contact with Dickens
  • He then admitted he had in fact had further contact with Dickens
  • He claimed he had passed the dossiers to the relevant authority and had no further knowledge of them
  • 114 files from the Dickens dossiers disappeared and have not been seen since
  • Although both Brian Cubbon and David Mellor attended the meeting, both claim they remember nothing about it.

How credible and convincing is this version of events?

Brittan’s role in the suppression of Barbara Castle’s allegations

  • In the 1980s, Labour MP Barbara Castle put together 30 pages of information about alleged attempts by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) to infiltrate government while seeking funding and trying to persuade MPs to legalise sex  with children.
  • She found that key members of both the Commons and Lords had links to PIE.
  • Castle passed the papers to journalist Don Hale, telling  him that the papers ‘had Leon Brittan’s fingerprints all over them’. Article link
  • Hale claims the files were taken away by Special Branch and he was threatened with jail under the Official Secrets Act if he revealed their contents.

According to Don Hale:

  • Castle said Leon Brittan was a man that she ‘could not trust,’ and was highly critical of his handling of a dossier said to have contained the names of VIP paedophiles.
  • She said he was ‘a powerful man with many secrets,’ and claimed many of his colleagues ‘just dare not get the wrong side of him.’
  • She added that the then Home Secretary ran Special Branch as his own personal ‘Gestapo,’ who monitored fellow MPs.
  • She claimed that the Home Secretary used Special Branch to monitor fellow MPs.
  • She attacked Brittan’s credibility and believed he was the ‘last person you would want to give a file of the nature to for review.’

Is there any reasosn to suppose that Baroness Barbara Castle, the longest-serving female MP in the history of the House of Commons, until that record was broken in 2007,  was NOT a reliable witness?

Article link

4. Brittan’s links with PIE

  • Clockmaker Keith Harding was a member of PIE and a convicted child sex abuser.
  • He met regularly with MPs Leon Brittan and Cyril Smith at his workshop.
  • Other regular  vistors to the specialist shop included key members of PIE Steven Adrian Smith and Tom O’Carroll.
  • Harding is understood to have kept hidden a list of more than 1,000 PIE members with prominent names including top politicians from the Thatcher era.

One of his staff said:

“Leon Brittan and Cyril Smith were both regular visitors to the shop.Usually they would come in via the side door, other times they would ring the bell at the front entrance and come in.“They’d straight away ask for Keith who would be coming down the stairs.
“Then they would then either go up to his office for a private meeting or they’d go out for several hours.”
“It’s only now, with what I know about Brittan and Smith, and of course Keith, that has made me wonder what they were doing.”
Article link

To summarise:-

  1. Brittan is still being investigated by the police for historical child sex abuse.
  2. There are reasons for grave concern over the way DCI Settle and the CPS handled the investigation into Brittan for the rape of ‘Jane’.
  3. Brittan is the last person known to have had the Dicken’s dossiers, which have since disappeared, and which apparently were never acted upon.
  4. Brittan can be shown to have had links with PIE.

Well done then, Tom Watson, Jim Hood, Zac Goldsmith, Simon Danczuk, John Mann, Don Hale and Peter McKelvie, for pushing for Brittan to be investigated.

VIPs must no longer be allowed to escape justice because of their power and status, any more than the rest of us.

With thanks to:

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