Meanwhile X himself tells Telegraph the sex abuse allegations are ‘totally without any grounds’
EDITOR’S NOTE at 1.20pm: Home Secretary Theresa May warned MPs not to use Parliamentary privilege to name any suspects including ‘X’ because “they will risk jeopardising any future trial”. As a result, no MPs named names in the chamber today, but they could do so in written Parliamentary Questions.
MPS ARE under pressure to use parliamentary privilege to name “X” – the senior Tory at the centre of an alleged paedophile sex ring – when Home Secretary Theresa May announces two inquiries into the scandal in the House of Commons this afternoon.
May said on the Today programme this morning – under some strange questioning by Evan Davis, who seemed to belittle the evidence – that what had prompted the fresh inquiries was “serious allegations of shocking behaviour – we need to make sure they are properly investigated”.
She will tell MPs there will be two inquiries – one into the original 1996-99 investigation by Sir Ronald Waterhouse, a high court judge; and a second into the police handling of the allegations by the boys from the Bryn Estyn children’s home near Wrexham in north Wales who claimed that senior police officers were involved in the sex ring in addition to local businessmen, traders, politicians and the senior Tory referred to as X in the Waterhouse inquiry.
All eyes will be on MPs such as Labour’s Tom Watson to see whether one of them will name X under Commons privilege. It was Watson who brought the dormant scandal back into the headlines when on 24 October he asked David Cameron to ensure that the police investigate evidence of a “powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10”.
X has been widely named on the internet but he cannot be named by the press because of a gagging order made by Waterhouse, raising fresh allegations of a cover-up by the establishment.
Mark Stephens, the lawyer who represented a number of children at the Waterhouse Inquiry, said: “I am convinced parliamentary privilege will be used to ask a question as to why this high-ranking politician who was named by a victim in the north Wales child abuse inquiry has been afforded protection.”
That could be taken as an invitation to name X, who is threatening to sue anyone who names him outside the confines of Parliament.
The Daily Telegraph has interviewed X anonymously today. He told the paper that he has only visited Wrexham on one occasion.
He said: “Some guy said I was in the habit of taking young men from Wrexham in my Rolls-Royce. But I have only been to Wrexham once and I didn’t visit the children’s home, I made a speech to the constituency. I was with an official at all times. I never had a Rolls Royce.
“When the inquiry was taking place I hired a lawyer to watch it in case there was any mention of my name. The point is that it is totally without any grounds whatsoever.”
The allegations by Steve Messham, who lived at the Bryn Estyn home in the 1970s and claims he was gang-raped by X and others, were supported by a second victim, who said the politician had taken him for a meal which he paid for with his “gold credit card” before he abused him. The man also had a Harrods account card”.
Sir Ronald dismissed the allegations as “embarking on the realm of fantasy”. He said: “It is obvious on this evidence that we cannot be satisfied that any member of the X family was involved in paedophile activity.”
Messham will meet David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, this afternoon, to discuss the allegations in detail.
David Cameron was forced to announce the inquiries after coming under pressure during his trip to the Gulf yesterday. As The Mole reported, Michael Portillo, a former Tory Cabinet minister, warned the PM would be open to a charge of double standards if he refused a fresh inquiry into the alleged Tory sex ring, given the demands by Culture Secretary Maria Miller for openness at the BBC in its inquiry into the Jimmy Savile scandal.
The investigation promised by Cameron will examine whether the Waterhouse inquiry ordered by William Hague, the then Welsh Secretary, was “properly constituted and properly did its job”. Hague could appear as a witness in the new inquiry.
Separately, Downing Street confirmed a second inquiry into the police handling of the scandal, which could be led by a retired Chief Constable or the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Cameron said: “Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime and these allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn’t be left hanging in the air, so I’m taking action today.”