In the wake of a number of staff from children’s homes in Clwyd being convicted of offences against children and a lot of former residents of children’s homes in Clwyd being found dead, in 1994 Clwyd County Council ordered an independent external investigation into the county’s children’s homes. It was led by John Jillings, the retired Director of Derbyshire Social Services. My post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ provides details of the Jillings Report. Of course the Jillings Report has never been published in full – it wasn’t available at all until 2013 and then only in a heavily redacted form. As I explained in ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’, Michael Beloff QC advised the Council’s insurers, Municipal Mutual, not to make the report available at all – what had happened in the children’s homes was so indefensible that this was the only way that those advising Clwyd Council could see of dealing with it. Clwyd County Council itself was dissolved days after the report was submitted, in a very convenient local government reorganisation. When it was revealed that the long awaited Report would not be available to hardly anyone – not even to most Members of the Council itself – and that this was to protect the Council from legal claims, there was outrage in Wales. Some of the nation’s politicians were incredibly vocal about the fact that there had been large scale abuse of children in north Wales and possibly a paedophile ring at work but no-one was allowed to know the results of the investigation into this, yet alone the identities of those involved.
A look at Hansard is informative. One politician whom it seems was particularly vexed was the Labour MP for Cynon Valley, Ann Clwyd. Ann Clwyd came under a lot of fire for supporting Blair over the war with Iraq, but with regard to the abuse of children in care, her record seems to be impeccable. I was at a public lecture that she gave last year on the day that Gordon Anglesea was convicted and she made a point of expressing her great relief that perhaps this was now the beginning of a degree of honesty. Sadly I doubt that it was – on the same occasion Ann mentioned that George Thomas the former Speaker of the House, aka Lord Tonypandy, was also under investigation, but I read the other day that the police investigation into him had stopped. None of my documents relate to George Thomas but I am aware that in the wake of the Ely Hospital Scandal Thomas described the methods of the ‘nurses’ involved as being ‘old fashioned’. These were ‘nurses’ whose ‘old fashioned’ ways included punching and beating elderly people, dragging them around wards whilst they were naked and turning cold hoses on them. Then lying through their teeth about all of it.
At least four of the former residents of Bryn Estyn had lived in the Cynon Valley and had spoken to Ann about their experiences there. Hansard, June 1996, records that Ann made reference to Speaker Weatherill’s ruling of 17 Feb 1992 which was used to block Early Day Motions (EDMs) that Ann had attempted to table the night before regarding the North Wales Police and child abuse. Ann asked the Speaker – who was at that time Betty Boothroyd – to reconsider the position and observed that ‘it now seems that one cannot table a motion or a question for an oral or written answer; one cannot speak in a debate or probably even introduce a Bill drawing on the experience of Clwyd. One cannot raise the issue in a Select Committee or a Standing Committee either. A wall of silence will surround the passage of the Government Motion later tonight’. [I assume that the motion that Ann is referring to here is the Motion regarding the establishing of a public inquiry into the abuse of children whilst in the care of Gwynedd and Clwyd County Councils.]
Ann makes the point that some of her constituents were involved in the Clwyd abuse ‘and there are things that should be done before that Motion is passed. We should have had a debate in the House on child abuse and the Secretary of State for Health should have made a statement on the Utting Review. This morning a Welsh Office Minister tried to convince me that the Jillings Report was defamatory…I want to expose the fact that 25 years ago there was a Report on Bryn Estyn….it was never published because the Home Office suppressed it…’
Madam Speaker then responds with ‘I have looked at the two proposed Motions that she has attempted to table. I am satisfied that one of her Motions breaks the campaign rule…I am content that the other Motion be tabled…however that this Motion, along with the three other EDMs that she tabled on Monday, will be withdrawn automatically as a result of the application of the House’s sub-judice rule… if and when the Motion setting up the Tribunal of Inquiry is agreed to by the House. If she is seeking a statement by a Minister or a debate on the matters before that Motion is passed, she should ask questions of the leader of the House tomorrow. She should deal with her front bench team about having the subject placed on the Order Paper…She will be aware…that in raising her voice in objection to the Motion, which is now on the Order Paper, the setting up of the Tribunal will be delayed.’
The Madam Speaker concerned, Betty Boothroyd, was generally considered to be an all round good egg – yet it does look here as if there are machinations at work to prevent Ann Clwyd from raising questions and eliciting debate regarding the matter of the serious abuse of children in care in north Wales.
After this exchange between Ann Clwyd and the Speaker, Hansard records that Alice Mahon, the Labour MP for Halifax, said that ‘the Commons Select Committee on Health is undertaking an extensive inquiry into all aspects of children’s health and well-being. Will you clarify whether the ruling that you have made means that the Select Committee cannot take evidence on Clwyd?’ Following this, Nicholas Winterton, the Conservative MP for Macclesfield, said ‘Yesterday the Government announced that here would be a review of the care and abuse of children and children’s homes and residential accommodation throughout England and Wales. I am particularly concerned about problems that have been encountered in Cheshire…will you confirm that there are no restrictions on Members who want to take matters forward in respect of England and Wales, but especially in respect of Cheshire?’ Madam Speaker replies ‘There will be no restrictions’.
I’m not sure what to make of this – that Ann Clwyd was the only person on whom restrictions were placed? Or is the Speaker just wriggling here, reassuring people that of course there are no restrictions on anyone, when there were very obviously restrictions placed on Ann Clwyd?
Some months prior to this, in the wake of the suppression of the Jillings Report, three EDMs had been tabled concerning the North Wales Abuse Scandal.
On 27/3/96, Martyn Jones (Labour, Clwyd South) was the primary sponsor of an Early Day Motion: ‘That this House deplores the actions of the insurance company providing cover for Clwyd County Council which is attempting to suppress by process of law a report produced for that council, at some cost to the taxpayer called Child Abuse, An Independent Investigation commissioned by Clwyd County Council 1974 to 1995, the Jillings Report, simply because it may lay the council open to claims against itself and further considers that putting the interest of the finances of an insurance company above the rights of even one abused child is an outrage’.
It was sponsored by Win Griffiths, David Hanson, John Marek, Rhodri Morgan and Don Touhig. It was signed by Diane Abbott, Janet Anderson, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, D.N. Campbell Savours, Michael Clapham, Eric Clarke, Ann Clywd, Michael Connarty, Jeremy Corbyn, Jean Corston, John Cummings, Terry Davis, Bill Etherington, John Evans, Win Griffiths, John Gunnell, Mike Hall, David Hanson, Eric Illsley, Barry Jones, Martyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Elfyn Llwyd, Alice Mahon, John Marek, Ian McCartney, Kevin McNamara, Alan Meale, Bill Michie, Rhodri Morgan, Paul Murphy, Paddy Tipping, Don Touhig, Robert N. Wareing, Dafydd Wigley.
The next day, 28/3/96, saw another EDM, whose primary sponsor was Rhodri Morgan: ‘That this House calls on the directors of Municipal Mutual Insurance Co., it’s affiliate Zurich Mutual Insurance Co and Municipal Mutual Insurance’s solicitors Browne Jacobson, to desist from all further anti-democratic actions in relation to Clwyd County Council and the report by John Jillings retired Director of Social Services of Derbyshire County Council into child sex abuse at children’s homes in Clwyd, and in particular to desist from their request to the county council to remove from office the Chair of the Social Services Committee, and further calls on the Secretary of State for Wales to consider whether it’s proper for an insurance company specialising in local government insurance to conduct itself in a manner which threatened the primacy of the duty of the local authority in child protection to put the welfare of children first, attempts to set the duty of looking after the councils finances and the insurance company’s own claims liabilities above child protection, and uses the threat of voiding the council’s insurance cover and the transfer of finance liability from the insurance company to individual councillors as a means of suppressing the truth, and to amend regulations governing local government insurance if necessary.’
It was signed by Janet Anderson, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, Clive Betts, D.N. Campbell Savours, Michael Clapham, Eric Clarke, Michael Connarty, Jean Corston, John Cummings, Denzil Davies, Terry Davis, John Evans, Paul Flynn, Norman A. Godman, Win Griffiths, John Gunnell, Mike Hall, David Hanson, Martyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Elfyn Llwyd, John Marek, Ian McCartney, Kevin McNamara, Alan Meale, Bill Michie, Rhodri Morgan, Ken Purchase, Ernie Ross, Dennis Skinner, Don Touhig, Dafydd Wigley.
All those signing these EDMs were Labour MPs, apart from Dafydd Wigley (Plaid), Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid) and Ken Livingstone (not affiliated to any party).
I find it difficult to believe that many of those who signed these EDMs did not previously know that children were being abused in care in north Wales. Many of them were MPs from north Wales themselves – and the whistleblowing social worker Alison Taylor had gone public on the child abuse years previously. Furthermore, ‘children’s care workers’ had been appearing in the local Courts on trial for offences against children for a very long time. My posts ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ and ‘More On Those Who Signed That Early Day Motion’ describe how in 1992 a number of MPs signed an EDM in response to plans to close Garth Angharad, a facility for ‘mentally abnormal criminals’. People who had been abused whilst in care in north Wales tended to end up in there. The notoriously unscrupulous psychiatrists in north Wales who were involved with criminal activities as well as with discrediting and imprisoning people who had been abused whilst in care had connections with this ‘hospital’. Furthermore it was a very odd ‘hospital’. It was not an NHS facility, it was owned and managed by Paul Hett, who also owned a number of schools and children’s homes in north Wales that had been the subject of allegations of sexual and physical abuse. Later in his career Paul Hett became a solicitor but ended up being struck off for embezzling clients money. Paul Flynn, Dafydd Wigley, Elfyn Llwyd and Ken Livingstone were all among those expressing outrage that Garth Angharad might close it’s doors. Ken had previously been instrumental in running Lambeth Borough Council – who sent children in their care to Paul Hett’s establishments. Lambeth Borough Council is now the centre of a huge scandal regarding the sexual abuse of children in care between the late 1950s and 1980s – millions have been paid out in compensation and more is expected to be paid after it was admitted that the Council’s homes had been infiltrated by paedophiles, that this was known, yet nothing was done to protect children. Dafydd Wigley definitely knew about the criminal practices in the north Wales mental health services because I wrote to him about them. He initially sent me a very supportive letter but when I wrote again some two years later I did not receive a reply. Dafydd Wigley was MP for Caernarfon, where the HQ of Gwynedd County Council was. There was serious corruption in that Council among its legal advisors and social services dept. Gwynedd’s Director of Social Services, Lucille Hughes, was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but failed to act. If I knew about the very serious problems in that Council, particularly in the Dept of Social Services, then I’m sure that Dafydd Wigley did. Previous posts have described how the children’s services and mental health services in Gwynedd were notorious. Dafydd Wigley must have been told of people’s concerns and he almost certainly received correspondence from people other than me. Elfyn Llwyd was also a Gwynedd MP, he will have heard. Furthermore, Elfyn Llwyd was President of Gwynedd Law Society in 1990-91, so he’ll have known all those dodgy lawyers who were concealing abuse in the children’s and mental health services and indeed trying to imprison people whom they knew were innocent. Paul Flynn had stood as the Labour candidate for Denbigh in 1974. Denbigh was a town in which nearly every resident worked at – or had a relative or friend who worked at – the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, where people who had been abused in care were imprisoned. Denbigh had a dreadful reputation but those who worked at that institution had votes, those imprisoned did not. Which is why Paul Flynn was never going to campaign on behalf of the people being abused in there. Martyn Jones was MP for Clwyd South between 1987-2010 and was Wrexham born and bred. He lived on the doorstep of the children’s homes with the worst reputations for abuse – but he too signed the EDM opposing the closure of Garth Angharad.
John Marek was a Wrexham MP between 1983-2001, albeit a rather strange one. He eventually defected from Labour and set up his own party consisting of himself and he is now a member of the Conservative Party. He too was right on the doorstep of Bryn Estyn, the home where serious abuse had gone on for decades. David Hanson has been the MP for Delyn in north east Wales since 1992. He had known the region before that, having been in pursuit of a seat in the Cheshire and north east Wales region. The paedophile ring that was active in north Wales was operating in Cheshire as well. Surely Hanson will have heard something about the problems in the region even if he didn’t know the full picture? I suspect that the same situation prevailed with Win Griffiths, Rhodri Morgan, Paul Murphy and Don Touhig, all MPs from south Wales. Don Touhig had worked as a journalist in Wales including as an editor – journalists tend to receive leaks from allsorts of people, including the police. Win Griffiths has for a long time been involved with what is now called the Third sector – people working in that sector knew that children were being abused.
On the same day, 28/3/96, Rhodri Morgan sponsored another EDM: ‘That this House calls on the Secretary of State for Wales to fulfil the promise made on 7th September 1992 to hold a public inquiry into child abuse in North Wales children’s homes by the honourable member for Cardiff North, the Parliamentary Under Secretary then responsible for health and social services in Wales and reported in Welsh Office press release W92359 of the same date, and which was reported by him as going to start as soon as the criminal proceedings were completed; believes that the Chief Constable of North Wales was also correct to call for such a public inquiry when criminal proceedings were over on 4th September 1992 and reaffirmed on 13th August 1993; and further believes that the need for the promised public inquiry is now more urgent with the imminent danger of the shredding of all copies of the independent but non-judicial inquiry into Clwyd County Council child care homes and policies carried out by John Jillings, the retired Director of Social Services of Derbyshire, which drew attention to the deaths of 12 young people who were victims of child sexual abuse who had been in the care of Clwyd and the failure of the Welsh Office Social Services Inspectorate and the North Wales Police to detect the failures in the child care system in North Wales and which also called for a public inquiry.’
It was signed by Diane Abbott, Janet Anderson, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, Roy Beggs, Michael Clapham, Eric Clarke, Ann Clwyd, Michael Connarty, Jeremy Corbyn, Jean Corston, John Cummings, Terry Davis, John Evans, Paul Flynn, Norman A. Godman, Win Griffiths, John Gunnell, Mike Hall, David Hanson, Barry Jones, Lynne Jones, Martyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Elfyn Llwyd, John Marek, Ian McCartney, Kevin McNamara, Alan Meale, Bill Michie, Rhodri Morgan, Ken Purchase, Ernie Ross, Dennis Skinner, Paddy Tipping, Don Touhig, Robert N. Wareing, Dafydd Wigley.
Again, all the signatories were from the Labour Party, except for Dafydd Wigley (Plaid), Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid), Ken Livingstone (not affiliated to any party) and Roy Beggs (Ulster Unionist). I am wondering whether Roy Beggs might have taken an interest in child abuse matters as a result of the Kincora Boys Home Scandal in Belfast. Some of the MPs outside of Wales who signed this EDM were representing constituencies and had even been councillors in areas where the children’s services had also been infiltrated by paedophiles.
Years later, in the wake of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal rearing it’s head again, on 8/11/12, Ann Clwyd was the primary sponsor of an EDM: ‘That this House notes EDM 1003 tabled June 1996 stating ‘That this House notes that the honourable Member for Cynon Valley has been personally approached by a young man who has been abused while in care; regrets that at least four people from the Cynon Valley were in care in Bryn Estyn during the period covered by the Jillings Report; notes that the child abuse affair in Clwyd ranks as one of the worst and most shocking scandals to come to light in Britain, in that the Report exposes unimaginable horrors such as buggery, rape, bestiality, violent assaults and torture; in the light of disclosures, is appalled by the conduct and failure of public authorities with the responsibility to protect children; in this regard notes that Clwyd County Council has failed to publish the report; further notes moves to block the publication of this report by the insurance companies Zurich Municipal and Municipal Mutual, presumably simply to avoid their liabilities; further notes that in this regard the police have lost the confidence of the public by their apparent failure properly to investigate the full extent of the paedophile activity in North Wales; and similarly that the Crown Prosecution Service has inexplicably failed to prosecute on a number of occasions despite clear evidence and a large number of allegations, and in some cases statements of admission of guilt by paedophiles of sexual offences against children; and notes the failure to prosecute all concerned.’
It’s sponsors were Paul Flynn (Labour, Newport) and Linda Riordan (Labour, Halifax). I presume that the original EDM was one of the EDMs that Ann Clwyd referred to as I quoted earlier ie. one of the EDMs that the Speaker told her would be ‘withdrawn automatically’. So it was Ann mentioning this sort of thing that caused so much upset in Parliament…
So what became of those MPs in Wales who seemed to have kept quiet about the activities of a paedophile ring until they were forced into action by public concern accompanied by UK wide coverage? Most of them have done quite nicely for themselves. Dafydd Wigley, Don Touhig and Paul Murphy have ended up in the Lords. David Hanson was appointed PPS to Tony Blair in 2001 and ended up as Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing at the Home Office until Labour lost the election in 2010. Win Griffiths became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales in 1997, with responsibility for Health and Social Services. He has retired from politics now but was (and maybe still is) Chair of WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action), a body that acts as an umbrella organisation for many charities that have concealed child abuse and until 2012 was Chair of Abertawe Morgannwg University Health Board. In 2010 he was appointed as Chair of the Welsh NHS Confederation. Wales’s NHS is somewhat troubled and in north Wales has just about collapsed, mainly as a result of the legacy of the paedophile ring and the corruption that accompanied it. As for Rhodri – well he became First Minister of Wales after the National Assembly for Wales came into being. Whilst he was First Minister I wrote and wrote and wrote about the harassment and threats that I was receiving at the hands of the mental health services – the services which had concealed and colluded with the paedophile ring. Rhodri’s Health Minister Brian Gibbons responded by writing to me to tell me that ‘this correspondence is at an end’ when I told him that I had evidence of criminal activity in the NHS in north Wales. Rhodri is no longer with us but the mess that was left behind after no-one tackled the organised criminals that ran that paedophile ring is all over north Wales. Martyn Jones has retired from politics but he was very critical of the former Chief Constable of North Wales Richard Brunstrom, for being so zealous regarding traffic offences. As compared to the previous Chief Constable Michael Argent who refused to co-operate with an investigation into a paedophile ring.
I suspect that Ann Clwyd really did want to blow the lid off the cover-ups of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. I’m not convinced that the others did. Some of them must have had some indication of what was going on yet none of them raised their heads until the public outcry over the suppression of the Jillings Report, when they just couldn’t continue to ignore what was happening. I note that by 2012, only three people were sufficiently interested to sign the EDM. As for the situation at the present time – it is clear that there now are so many in politics, the civil service, the police, the law, medicine and the social services who have in some way been involved in concealing or colluding with abuses in the children’s care services or the mental health services across the UK, that I think there are far more of them who don’t want an expose than those who do. Previous posts have named scores of institutions including the Garrick Club, the Law Society, the BMA, the MDU and the GMC who hosted the people who concealed and colluded with child abuse in north Wales. People still trip over themselves to join the Garrick (I think it’s one of those clubs with a waiting list literally years long) and the Top Doctors believe that a position on a BMA committee is worth having. And being involved with the GMC or MDU does wonders for one’s career.
Unlike so many named on this blog, Ann Clwyd has not been elevated to the House of Lords. If anyone ever did give her a seat in there she’d probably have great difficulty finding anyone worth sitting next to.