Sunday, July 13, 2014

Keith Vaz and Greville Janner

In view of Keith Vaz's new-found role as the scourge of secrecy on child abuse, it is interesting to be reminded of a speech he gave in the Commons in December 1991.

It was in a debate on contempt of court, which was held after the conviction of Frank Beck for serious sexual offences in Leicestershire children's homes (including two in Market Harborough).

In the course of that trial certain accusations were made against Greville Janner, who was then Labour MP for Leicester West and is now a Labour peer.

This is part of Keith Vaz's speech in that debate:
My hon. and learned Friend, too, is a brave man in what he has done, said and endured over the past weeks and months. Every one of us should be grateful to him, because, as the hon. Members for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Latham) and for Leicestershire, North-West (Mr. Ashby) said, what has happened to my hon. and learned Friend could happen to any one of us, so we should all be aware of it. 
During the course of that terrible ordeal, I suggested to the Lord Chancellor that there should be a change in the law to provide for the protection of the innocent. The Lord Chancellor said that he would consider the idea. The Solicitor-General is here today, and I make him an offer. I came 18th in the ballot for private Members’ Bills. I know that that is not very high —and there are other subjects that I wish to raise. Nevertheless, I would happily introduce a Bill to cover the point if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would promise it a safe passage through the House. 
We should not wait for another Criminal Justice Bill. There is parliamentary time, and we should get on with the job. I foresee that many unscrupulous people in this country would be prepared to do exactly the same thing again. If it is possible to do so, I will happily give the Solicitor-General my place.
It is worth reading the whole debate, if only because it features the names of politicians who were always in the media in those days but are now quite forgotten. Ivan Lawrence. Martin Brandon-Bravo. Anthony Beaumont-Dark.

Thanks to The Needle for the link to the debate.