Days after Brittan’s death, Labour MP Tom Watson claims he spoke to several people who allege they were raped by the late politician. One male victim was a child when he was allegedly raped by Brittan.
“Many have urged me over the past two years to reveal allegations against Brittan using parliamentary privilege,” Watson told the Mirror. “This allows MPs to say things that are not subject to libel laws. Some will ask why I’ve waited until his death to speak out. The reason is simple. I didn’t want to prejudice any jury trial he might one day face.”
Brittan’s death also underlines how slowly and ineffectually the British police are moving in their investigation of the Westminster child abuse ring. The prime suspects are literally dying. Former MP Cyril Smith — another known child abuser — died in 2010. Peter Hayman, for former deputy director of MI6, and another paedophile who was convicted of gross indecency while he was alive, died in 1992.
In December, a man who claims he was raped as a boy at a child sex party in London alleged that he saw a Conservative member of cabinet strangle a boy to death in front of him in the 1980s. Although Brittan was part of the Thatcher cabinet at that time it is not clear whether he is the same person. Three child deaths have been linked to the Westminster ring.
Scotland Yard has been handed a document that contains names of 22 high profile figures, including three serving MPs and three members of the House of Lords, alleged to be involved in the suspected Westminster paedophile ring during the 1970s and 1980s, The Daily Telegraph reports.
In the Mirror, Watson compared Brittan’s case to that of Jimmy Savile, in which similar claims of sexual abuse only became known after the BBC television personality died.
Watson told the Mirror:
Today, one survivor said to me that Brittan “showed me no kindness or warmth.” That Brittan was “as close to evil as a human being could get in my view”.
This survivor said that Brittan and the others “took my childhood, they took the very essence of who I was and finally he’s taken away my right to see justice done.”
Brittan remains the subject of an investigation into the disappearance of a 40-page dossier naming eight senior civil servants and politicians who were allegedly involved in a secret paedophile ring.
In 1983, Brittan was handed a dossier written by conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens while serving as home secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s government. Dickens died in 1995. In July last year, Brittan was surrounded by allegations that he failed to properly investigate the claims. Brittan maintained that he handled the documents correctly.
Last year, he told the Daily Mail that he gave the names to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He recalled the events like this:
As I recall, [Mr Dickens] came to my room at the Home Office with a substantial bundle of papers. As is normal practice, my private secretary would have been present at the meeting.
I told Mr Dickens that I would ensure that the papers were looked at carefully by the Home Office and acted on as necessary. Following the meeting, I asked my officials to look carefully at the material contained in the papers provided and report back to me if they considered that any action needed to be taken by the Home Office.
In addition, I asked my officials to consider a referral to another government department, such as the Attorney General’s department, if that was appropriate. This was the normal procedure for handling material presented to the Home Secretary. I do not recall being contacted further about these matters by Home Office officials or by Mr Dickens or by anyone else.’
Labour MP Simon Danczuk says that Brittan’s death is a blow to the child abuse ring investigation. He told The Guardian: “Sir Leon is someone who should have faced questions and been compelled to give evidence to the inquiry over his role as home secretary in the 1980s when a dossier containing allegations of establishment child abuse was handed to him.”
Meanwhile, other politician’s have come to Brittan’s defence. Lord Deben told The Guardian that claims Lord Brittan was involved in a cover-up when he was home secretary are “obviously not true.”
Deben added: “One of the things that social media demands of us — and I use it a lot myself — is a sense of personal responsibility, and I do think that, particularly politicians, making innuendos and insinuations in order to make themselves look as if they know something when they don’t, should shut up.”
Deben died from cancer on Wednesday. He was 75.