Lord McAlpine denies child abuse claims
11/9/2012 11:58:32 AM
A Conservative politician at the centre of allegations of sex abuse at a children's home in North Wales denied the claims Friday, calling them "wholly false and seriously defamatory".
Alistair McAlpine, who served as the Tories' treasurer under Margaret Thatcher, said he had never visited the Bryn Estyn care home in Wrexham and denied abusing any of the residents there.
McAlpine had been widely named on the Internet as the senior Conservative who allegedly committed historic abuse at the home.
Steve Messham, a former resident, told BBC2's Newsnight last week that he had been repeatedly abused by a prominent Conservative figure in the 1970s.
Responding to the allegations in a statement released Friday McAlpine said: "I have never been to the children's home in Wrexham, nor have I ever visited any children's home, reform school or any other institution of a similar nature.
"I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls Royce, have never had a 'Gold card' or 'Harrods card' and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged.
"I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children's home in Wrexham."
He added that he had been to the town of Wrexham "only once" and was accompanied by an official from Conservative Central Office.
McAlpine branded as "ill- or uninformed commentators" those who had used the Internet to name him as the senior figure referred to by Messham, whose name was withheld by the BBC.
"Even though these allegations made of me by implication in the broadcast and print media, and made directly about me on the Internet, are wholly false and seriously defamatory I can no longer expect the broadcast and print media to maintain their policy of defaming me only by innuendo," he said.
He said there was a "media frenzy" surrounding the claims, adding: "I therefore have decided that in order to mitigate, if only to some small extent, the damage to my reputation I must publicly tackle these slurs and set the record straight."
Prime Minister David Cameron warned Thursday against a "witch-hunt" particularly against gay people after he was given a list of alleged child sex abuse suspects on live television.
On the ITV daytime television show "This Morning", presenter Philip Schofield handed Cameron a card with a list of names drawn from Internet gossip of Conservative Party figures.
But Schofield later issued an apology which was read out on Friday's show after it emerged that viewers may have been able to see some of the names for a split second due to a "misjudged camera angle."