Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:55 pm on 20th December 2018.

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Photo of Lord Campbell-Savours Lord Campbell-Savours Labour 4:55 pm, 20th December 2018

My Lords, I listened closely to the debate, which begs a single question: why does IICSA insist on maintaining the Janner strand when all the evidence points to the need to scrap it? I hope that Ministers will ask IICSA that question because I hope to get an explanation.

I want to make one or two comments about some of the interventions. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Wirral, spoke about the remit, which is also at the heart of my problem. What evidence will fall into the public domain under the established remit? That brings us to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester’s comments. He referred repeatedly to “survivors”, but a survivor is only a survivor if his or her evidence is the truth. If not, they are not a survivor. I am concerned about a procedure where there may be an absence of cross-examination. The noble Lord, Lord Lexden, expressed concern about how the police have handled such inquiries, particularly the Heath inquiry. That inquiry adequately illustrates the deficiency in policing systems. The noble Lord, Lord Finkelstein, spoke kindly about his friendship with the family; I am sure that the family members here today will appreciate his comments.

My noble friend Lord Winston drew our attention to false memory. He will probably know about the British False Memory Society; I hope that it can pick up his comments in our debate and perhaps make direct contact with him. Like me, the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, expressed concern about how the inquiry may proceed. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, gave us notice of his Bill on anonymity. My noble friend Lady Chakrabarti brought to the discussions comments on the required balance in dealing with these cases. Although I agree with much of what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Barran, I am concerned that she may not appreciate fully the damage done to families when accusers make accusations without being questioned closely on them in inquiries.

Finally, I want to sweep across all the cases we have dealt with in recent years: Sir Cliff Richard, Lord Leon Brittan, Lord Edwin Bramall, former Member of Parliament Harvey Proctor, TV personality Paul Gambaccini and former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath—all prominent public figures, all named, shamed and humiliated. Their reputations were, if not destroyed, nearly destroyed. Now, we are in the eye of the storm before Greville Janner’s name is cleared and his personal honour is restored. How much longer will the Government stand by and do nothing in these huge miscarriages of justice?

Motion agreed.