Ed Miliband, the former Labour party leader, has been accused of failing to act fast enough after being presented with ‘stomach churning’ child sex abuse allegations against the peer Lord Janner.
It has emerged that senior Labour MP Simon Danczuk wrote to Mr Miliband in October last year with details of a string of allegations against the Labour peer.
Mr Miliband, however, failed to suspend Lord Janner from the party for another six months, prosecutors controversially ruled there was enough evidence to charge him with multiple counts of child abuse but could not put him on trial because he was too ill, suffering from advanced dementia.
The Labour party did not take action to suspend Janner from the party until the Crown Prosecution Service went public with the allegations against Lord Janner.
The Guardian reports:
In his letter, Danczuk said he had been “visited by three senior officers from Leicestershire police” and that the alleged abuse disclosed to him in relation to Janner’s case was “stomach-churning”. He called on Miliband to “suspend Lord Janner from the Labour party at the earliest opportunity”.
When Saunders announced that Janner would not be charged with multiple counts of child abuse, Miliband issued a statement which said: “I’m deeply shocked by the allegations that have been made and what the CPS seem to have discovered. My heart goes out the alleged victims.”
Danczuk told Channel 4 News that Janner should have been suspended sooner and called for him to be expelled.
Janner was first publicly accused of child abuse in 1991 during evidence heard at the trial of Frank Beck, a former children’s home supervisor found guilty of abusing more than 100 children.
The peer was unable to rebut the allegations until the end of the trial because of the rules surrounding contempt of court, but when the trial finished, Janner made a statement in the Commons declaring his innocence.
Sixteen MPs, including Keith Vaz, the current chair of the home affairs select committee, defended Janner in parliament in 1991.
Vaz praised him as a “great survivor” as MPs argued that those accused of child abuse during court cases should be given the same right to anonymity as rape victims, so long as they were not themselves on trial.
Vaz for the first time defended his comments to parliament on Monday night.
“I think that all of the MPs who spoke, including the solicitor general who spoke in that debate … all spoke in exactly the same way on the information that was put before parliament. I think all that MPs could have done on that occasion – and as you say it was 24 years ago – is accept the information that was given,” he told Channel 4.
Janner’s family have previously issued a statement protesting his innocence: “Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service.”
A Labour spokesman said the party had acted as soon as they received confirmation of the police inquiries.
“When the Labour party received notice of the allegations against Lord Janner, we asked Leicestershire police to confirm that they were pursuing an investigation with a view to bringing charges, but they were unable to do so,” he said.
“As soon as evidence was produced by the Crown Prosecution Service, Lord Janner was suspended from the Labour party.”