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Politicians 'must face abuse trial'


Cyril Smith was being protected over child abuse claims, says Labour's John Mann

Cyril Smith was being protected over child abuse claims, says Labour's John Mann

Cyril Smith was being protected over child abuse claims, says Labour's John Mann

It would be "quite extraordinary" if no senior politicians face criminal trials over allegations of child abuse, a campaigning MP said as he claimed the cover-up of establishment paedophiles was still continuing.

Labour's John Mann, who was hosting a meeting for survivors of abuse at Westminster, claimed that there were members of both House of Parliament "past and present" allegedly involved in the scandal.

Mr Mann said it was the "biggest scandal in my lifetime" and claimed that the number of victims of child abuse that had come forward so far only represented "the tip of the iceberg".

The Bassetlaw MP said: "The fear that those of us who are campaigning have is that progress is slow. We have yet to see any national politician prosecuted. There have been other celebrities, so-called, household names who have been but no politicians yet."

Asked if he felt that was because he felt there was a cover-up to protect politicians, Mr Mann said: "Yes, without any question there is cover-up at the highest level."

He said that was one of the key questions that Justice Lowell Goddard's independent inquiry must examine.

Mr Mann said: "I t is extraordinary that no politician, past or present, has been put in front of a court yet. That doesn't fit with the facts.

"Who am I to say who is guilty, who is innocent? I am not, that's for juries. But the fact that people haven't been put in front of the courts is part of the travesty there and it gives a strong message that there are different layers in society and some people can get away with things.

"It's not just justice for the individuals, it's much bigger, it's about all of us and the kind of country we live in, the kind of democracy we have."

Mr Mann said he was "mildly confident" that politicians alleged to have been involved in abuse would face justice.

"I remain mildly confident that there will be people who have been senior in politics put in front of the courts," he said.

"From the evidence I have seen, and there are lots of police investigations, it would be quite extraordinary if some weren't."

He said the inquiry should examine why former Liberal MP Cyril Smith did not stand trial over the allegations made against him.

"Who was protecting him and why was he being protected? From that flows many, many more things and many, many more scandals - not just prominent people, of course."

Nigel O'Mara, from the WhiteFlowers campaign, called for files relating to historical abuse cases which are covered by the Official Secrets Act to be released.

"The Official Secrets Act has been used on several occasions to hide these crimes and I think that it should be in the public interest for those files to be released, wherever the Official Secrets Act has been used to protect somebody who has been abusing children," he said.

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