MPs who sexually abused children were protected from prosecution and their crimes covered up for decades, an explosive report has found.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, commissioned to examine whether Westminster “turned a blind eye” to allegations of paedophilia, ruled political institutions had “failed significantly”.
But crucially the inquiry found no evidence of an organised paedophile ring, or that party whips had deliberately suppressed information about child sex abuse.
“It is clear that there have been significant failures by Westminster institutions in their dealing with, and confrontation of, allegations of child sexual abuse,” wrote the authors of the report. “This has included not recognising it, turning a blind eye to it, actively shielding and protecting perpetrators, and covering up allegations of child sexual abuse.”
Allegations against the late Liberal Party MP Cyril Smith and Tory MP Peter Morrison, who later became Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary, were not investigated properly, and the Conservative Party was found to have failed to pass information on to police.
In fact Morrison, who died in 1995, was given a knighthood, despite having been caught molesting a 15-year-old boy on a train at Crewe.
His party “made efforts to suppress rumours” about his behaviour rather than carry out a formal investigation, the inquiry said, and it was claimed then-PM Thatcher “did nothing”, despite being aware.
Smith, who before becoming an MP held a role in a youth hostel which he claimed permitted him to carry out “medical inspections”, was accused of multiple incidents of sexual assault against teenage boys.
But former Liberal Party leader Lord Steel told the inquiry 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...