A minister who worked under former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is among a group of men who are suspected of sexually abusing children in the 1980s.
According to the Daily Mirror the allegations centres around a Lambeth Council care home run by a convicted paedophile.
The paper claims to have seen documents from a police investigation that include complaints from former residents that they were sexually assaulted at a private flat within the home.
While the investigation lasted 16 months, there are questions about why an experienced officer was mysteriously removed from it. Former Lambeth social workers claim that there may have been a cover-up after Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll was taken off the case and given other duties
He was also the subject of disciplinary action for naming the minister concerned. The officer was said to believe that an open approach would assist in evidence gathering.
A former care home manager said: “One wonders why Scotland Yard would be so desperate to stop it being investigated. I believe it was stopped because somebody in power was trying to prevent any further investigation into the politician.”
Dr Nigel Goldie, who was in charge of child protection at Lambeth Council in 1998, said: “There were some allegations that – children were being abused by one or two prominent persons.
“There were a lot of very senior people trying to put a lid on it. There was -something very unfortunate about the way the whole thing was dealt with.”
The minister is accused of visiting Michael John Carroll at a children’s home he ran in Brixton, South London. Mr Carroll was first convicted of sexually assaulting a 12 year boy in 1966.
Lambeth Council only learned of his conviction in 1986, but still allowed him to remain in his job at the children’s home until 1991. Carroll was arrested in 1998 and convicted of a string of sex attacks including offences against youngsters at the home.
The council issued a memo showing that they planned to brief the Health Secretary at the time, Frank Dobson. But Mr Dobson says he cannot remember being briefed, and was never told a minister had been implicated.
But Mr Dobson said he did not remember being briefed and was never told a minister in Tony Blair’s government was suspected of child abuse.
Both Dr Goldie and the former manager have called for an independent probe into their suspicions the minister was protected by the establishment.
These allegations will add further embarrassment to the Labour Party, who have had a number of problems with paedophile scandals. Three senior MPs Jack Dromey, Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt were all accused of allowing the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) to remain members of the National Council for Civil Liberties’. All three of them worked there when PIE was affiliated.
In 2003 the former Childrens’ Minister, Margaret Hodge was forced to apologise to child abuse victim and pay in £30,000 in damages. This was after she referred to him as “an extremely disturbed person”.
Demetrious Panton wrote to Islington Council in 1985 to complain that he had been abused, but he only got a reply in 1989. The council denied wrong doing and Hodge, who was council leader, refused extra resources to investigate. When Mr Panton suggested that Hodge was an inappropriate choice for Childrens’ Minister, she responded with the smear.