Just because its in the Mail doesn’t make it wrong. Harman, Hewitt and Dromey need to provide some answers

by Atul Hatwal

Another day, another front page from the Daily Mail on the links between the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) at a time when Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt and Jack Dromey held senior positions in the NCCL.

When the Daily Mail attacks Labour politicians there is a tendency to simply shrug the shoulders and move on. It’s in the nature of the beast, the Mail attacks the party because that’s what the Mail does. So what?

But that doesn’t mean everything it says is wrong.

In this case, the tone might be vituperative and the events almost faded into distant memory, but the Mail’s reports are backed up by hard evidence. Evidence that is difficult to ignore.

The most pointed allegations date from 1976 when Jack Dromey was a member of the NCCL executive and Patricia Hewitt was general secretary (Harriet Harman didn’t start working at the NCCL until 1978.)

In 1976 the NCCL made a submission to parliament on the Sexual Offences Act. In this paper are some extraordinary and inexplicable recommendations,

“(i) A person aged 14 or over should be legally capable of giving consent

(ii) A person aged under 10 should be presumed legally incapable of giving consent

(iii) Where both partners are aged 10 or over but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence.

(iv) Where one partner is aged 10 or over, the law should presume that consent was not present, unless it is demonstrated that it was genuinely given and the child understood the nature of the act.

(v) As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose a an overlap of two years on either side of 14, so that, where the participants are 12 or over but under 16, a consenting sexual act will not be an offence.”

It might be that the NCCL’s parliamentary submissions were signed-off without recourse to the general secretary or the executive.

It might be that this particular paper was submitted without going through the proper processes, and Patricia Hewitt and Jack Dromey had no knowledge of it.

It might be any one of a range of reasons that could explain why they had nothing to do with the recommendations made in the NCCL’s parliamentary brief.

But at the moment, we have nothing to confirm that they didn’t know about or endorse what was in the paper.

Equally, we don’t have any information that Harriet Harman specifically disagreed with the content of the 1976 paper when she joined the NCCL two years later, as its legal officer.  After all, the 1976 submission would have been the basis for any advice on the NCCL’s legal position on the age of consent, that Harriet Harman would have given in her professional role.

In the past few days, columnists as diverse as Roy Greenslade, Barbara Ellen and Carol Malone have all written of the need for Labour’s senior politicians to give some answers. They are right.

It’s not enough just to wish the Mail’s attacks away. Part of the Mail’s  motive might be to harm Labour, but the content of the charges is backed up by evidence and needs to be addressed.

Earlier today, Ed Miliband gave his first response to the claims, telling Jon Craig from Sky News that he, “set no store in the allegations.”

That’s great, but how does he know? Have any of the trio given him an explanation they have not told the public?

If so, then they should share the same explanation with the public and kill the story. If not, then what is the leader of the Labour party doing commenting on these claims when he does not know the facts?

The number of unanswered questions is mounting.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut


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25 Responses to “Just because its in the Mail doesn’t make it wrong. Harman, Hewitt and Dromey need to provide some answers”

  1. Robert says:

    Some people on the far left had some very strange views during the 1970s and 1980s. The same people, like Hewiit, then went way to the right during the New Labour era without ever being on the moderate left. Is it too harsh to say that they were either stupid or unpricipled careerists who went along with any rubbish if it helped their career?

  2. swatantra says:

    I think Caroline Flint would make a great Deputy Leader; we need someone fiesty and not prepared to put up with any nonsense. She had a great interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday.

  3. John P Reid says:

    Robert, I’m afraid i think you’re right. The Daily mail in their support of ShamI Chakrabarti, David Davis and Doreen lawrence, have choose to only briefly point out that NCCL renamed themselves liberty, and that while the Mail supports those individuals, is using this to smear Labour,

    It’s worth pintin gout that 4 of Liberties former leaders harman, Hewitt, Charles Clarke and Sadiq Khan, all voted for 42 day detention, somehting liberty were against,

    without getting into the realms of what about those Tories in the 70’s who wanted Peadophilia legalised or their links to Jimmy saville, regarding the idea that NCCl wanted the decriminilisng of two 14 years old to be allowed to consent, as police have pointed out, they don’t ever really see the circumstances of prosecuting two 14 years olds if they had consteed to each other.

  4. John P Reid says:

    Of course its a smear camapign, but she can hardly sue them for pointing out that her Uncle was Lord Longford who wanted Hindley freed

  5. John P Reid says:

    Harriet has defended herself on the Labour parties webpage, and Rod liddle a Labour party supported has written a criticism on fit in the Sunday Times, like the Barbara Ellen article, but the Spectator of all people has come to Harman and Dromey’s defence


  6. wiliam says:

    You can tell a lot about a politician by their moral mindset. Profumo lied, was caught out, and redeemed himself by his acts. Carrington resigned on a point of principle The notion that Harman is being smeared, her defense, is utterly ridiculous. The then views of these 2 MPs and and ex MP are a matter on public record. Are they incapable of admitting they were wrong ( not to mention disgusting). I have a wonderful photo of Harman as a bridesmaid, alongside my wife, at a society wedding in the 70s.

  7. bob says:

    All the three individuals have to do is to sue the Daily Mail. The Mail may just throw out the challenge as they did over the murderers of Stephen Lawrence, sue us and be damned. I await this happening, but will they risk what may come out in court, in particular as there is an investigation of happenings under the Callaghan government and the possible funding stream for PIE.

    Harman tonight was very uncomfortable under questioning by Laura Kaunsberg on Newsnight, much evasion and no recognition that anything maybe wrong. This is the first time the BBC has mentioned it, but the dead tree press including the Mirror and Guardian have covered it.

  8. Robert says:

    I have just seen Harman’s statement on this and it explains her side of the story very well. Hewitt might have more explaining to do because she worked at NCCL before Harman.

  9. Gordy says:

    This was the era when Minor Problems, the journal of the Paedophile Information Exchange, was sold openly in left-wing bookshops. The magazine was, in effect, propaganda for child rape.

    Many of those involved with the NCCL at the time saw paedophiles as just another persecuted minority. That’s why they allowed PIE to affiliate.

    It’s a bit like people who joined the British Union of Fascists in the early 1930s; the scale of the crimes of fascism were not yet clear, but the nature of the beast was. We wouldn’t accept rationalisations and evasions from BUF members so why should we let NCCL members off the hook? Only a sincere public apology for embracing child molesters will do.

  10. Danny says:

    The Spectator issues an article dismissing the Mail’s insinuated smears of Harman as nonsense.

    Labour Uncut issues an article demanding insinuating that Harman might have something to hide.

    Once again, you demean the Labour Party by using its (unlike in your headline, this its does not require an apostrophe) name in the title of your increasingly warped, biased and Daily Mailesque platform.

  11. Ex-labour says:

    This is the lefts rank hypocrisy in full view. If this was Tory politicians involved then Labour and Harwoman in particular would be shouting from the rooftops and appearing on every TV and radio station.

    Unlike the Mail’s Miliband article this has substance and needs answers. The longer these three ignore it, the more the public will think there is some truth.

    Saville, Roach, Travis etc are being prosecuted decades after their alleged crimes, when initially nobody thought any of the claims had any substance. So why should this just be waived away by those involved and why should we accept this ?

  12. bob says:

    In the words of Harriet herself, judged by the court of public opinion. i note the Tories and Lib Dems have been silent of this affair

    Danny: Lets wait for the investigation of the funding given t groups under the Callaghan era possibly including PIE. If this was an MP from any other party, you’d be playing the part of the Witchfinder General.

  13. Chris Roberts says:

    As much as some would prefer to sweep this under the carpet and try to pass it off as a Daily Mail hate campaign, there is undeniable documented evidence to support it.

    If there is similar documented evidence against Tory MPs rather than the rabid ravings of the lefties then doubtless it will be revealed in due course.

    However, the issue here is not what Tory MPs “may” have done but specifically what Harman and Hewitt are clearly guilty of. One can only wonder what other cabinet ministers may also be involved and what supporting documents may surface in the very near future.

    The sleaze of going with prostitutes and fiddling expenses is one thing. Supporting the “cause” of paedophiles is quite another.

  14. bob says:

    Harman, Dromey and Hewitt either sue or be dammed, you have a choice the victims haven’y. This is not politically motivated it’s an investigation of PIE and its associates. If this is covered up, then why should celebrities MPs and their cohorts etc be investigated for accusations of historic sex abuse.

    Remember your outrage at Fed the Shred and your ‘court of public opinion’ well how does it now feel when the tables are turned.

  15. bob says:

    The other two people are being remarkably silent in all this, where are Dromey and Hewitt and why haven’t they spoken publically to the media in the form of interviews with Sky and the BBC to name but two.

    The ‘court of public opinion’ don’t you just love it. Maybe a lot of the council sex abuse cases from the seventies should be reopened when these files are opened and if there is evidence, prosecutions should follow. There are some senior labour representatives who were council leaders at the time were or are now in Parliament. All old cases should be reopened irrespective of whatever political party is involved. We do know that a late well Known Liberal MP was accused of child abuse.

  16. John P Reid says:

    I’m suprised that Labour-uncut. didn’t look on Talia’s links before psoting it, as this sort of Laibel,does no one any favours

  17. Fred says:

    Danny you dont like it when your lot are exposed do you? Its a smear, its the Daily heil, right wing media… blah….

    Take the blinkers off.

  18. Tafia says:

    John P Reid – it’s not libel unless a Court says it is and a Court can’t say it is unless there is a Complainant. And a Complainant better have nothing to hide. Which may explain why there is no Complainant.

    Apart from which that blog’s author – John Ward, is a close associate of several senior MPs from all sides of the House. Likewise some seriously heavy investigative journalists.

    He’s been publishing stuff concerning these investigations for 2 years along with copies of confidential Met witness statements and even photocopies of the guest house register.

  19. Danny says:

    Careful guys, those straws you’re clutching to don’t look like they’re all that strong.

  20. Fred says:

    HH is a lawyer, she would have it in court in a heartbeat if it were a smear.

  21. bob says:

    Agree, Fred, but why is Hewitt as silent as a crypt.

    I do hope the media as a whole and the Mail in particular say, sue us and lets go to court and let it all be exposed to the light of day.



    This is not going to go away is it, Sunday in particular could be an interesting day.

  22. Fred says:

    Well its all starting to unravel with the revelations now surfacing about Hewitt. The winner of the all woman shortlist Jack Dromey looks as if he’s in a little doo doo.

    Where’s Danny? Is he planning his Venezuelan style revolution where all the capitalists and banks are killed off and we all get poor very quickly? Watch this space for more evidence based insight from the left.

  23. Tafia says:

    Guy Fawkes continually posting documents showing PIE as still being involved with NCCL more than a year after Harman took post is also knocking holes in the credibility of her position as well.

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