PIE man: Tom O’Carroll, former chairman of Paedophile Information Exchange
03.03.19 Look out for later related articles
By Mark Watts
Britain’s most notorious pro-paedophile group was able to exploit a link to a Labour home secretary in its campaign to cut the age of consent.
Roy Jenkins, during his time as a greatly reforming home secretary between 1965 and 1967, was impressed by proposals to change the law put forward by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), but felt: “Politically, they haven’t got a cat-in-hell’s chance.”
The disclosure is made by Tom O’Carroll, former PIE chairman, in his witness statement to the Westminster investigation of the inquiry into child sexual abuse. Three weeks of hearings in the inquiry’s Westminster investigation are due to begin tomorrow, although it is not planning to call O’Carroll to face questions.
O’Carroll notes that he was jailed in 1981 for “corrupting public morals”.
In his statement, O’Carroll details PIE’s links with Westminster or the ‘establishment’. One person named by him as linked to PIE and connected to Westminster is the late Michael Burbidge.
O’Carroll writes: “He was a Whitehall civil servant who may have been quite high ranking in the later part of his career.”
“He seems to have been close enough to Roy Jenkins, the home secretary of the time, to have some idea of his private opinions.”
O’Carroll believes that Burbidge had a role in drafting legislation for the government.
“Mr Burbidge was never a member of PIE, but he was a close friend of Keith Hose, the first chair of PIE and my predecessor in that role.”
“My understanding from talking to Mr Hose shortly after I joined PIE is that ‘Micky’ Burbidge was primarily responsible for devising PIE’s proposals for changes to the law on the age of consent, presented in evidence to the Home Office criminal law revision committee.
“Word reached me, I think through Keith Hose, that Roy Jenkins read PIE’s legal proposals and was impressed by them. Reportedly, he said he thought they were good, but, ‘Politically, they haven’t got a cat-in-hell’s chance.’”
“This was an era in which the authors of a Home Office research paper felt able to refer to 10-year-olds as potentially willing ‘partners’ in ‘consensual’ sex with older people.”
The inquiry will examine a claim from a former civil servant at the Home Office, Tim Hulbert, that the department gave funding to PIE as part of an intelligence operation by Special Branch.
Hulbert is due to give evidence in the third week of the inquiry’s Westminster hearings.
But O’Carroll says that he thought it “a preposterous suggestion” when he first heard the claim.
Meanwhile, on the first day of evidence in the Westminster hearings on Tuesday – after opening submissions on Monday from counsel to the inquiry and representatives of core participants – Lord Taverne is due to testify about his time as a junior minister in the Home Office under Jenkins.
In his statement to the inquiry, he recalls a conversation in 1966 or 1967 between Jenkins and Sir Joseph Simpson, then commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. It revealed that, when investigating “cottaging”, police were careful to avoid catching and prosecuting any MPs.
According to Taverne, Jenkins said: “Why are so many of your police officers, who have got lots of things to do, spending time in cottages trying to track homosexuals.”
Simpson replied: “With respect, home secretary, that is an operational question and you cannot dictate to us what we’ll do. But I think there is some reason behind your complaint, and I will investigate. Now there are certain times that we don’t prosecute everybody and certain kinds of cottages that we don’t go to because of the embarrassment that would be caused.”
Taverne continues in his statement: “And we said, ‘What sort of embarrassment: MP’s?’
“‘Yes,’ he said.”
The first week of Westminster hearings at the inquiry are to focus on former police officers’ claims that paedophile investigations into MPs and other VIPs were improperly shelved.
Police whistleblowers say that most of them will not be called to give evidence. There are two known exceptions.
The Independent Office of Police Complaints, (IOPC), formerly the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), will tell the inquiry that it has rejected most of the claims from former police officers about cover-ups. The IOPC says that ex-officers were “mistaken”.
Earlier, I revealed that the inquiry will ask MI5 what it knew about allegations of child sexual abuse against Peter Morrison. In addition, the inquiry will grill former Liberal leader Lord Steel over his derision of claims of child sexual abuse by Sir Cyril Smith MP.
Mark Watts (@MarkWatts_1) is the co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre.
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