• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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An Unnamed Labour MP and an Allegation against a Chief Constable

A bit of unfinished business from autumn 2017:

We were all in the Strangers’ Bar [in the Houses of Parliament]. The young victim was holding a phone and looking through pictures online, looking for someone else. Suddenly s/he screamed, dropped the phone and stood there shaking and crying, saying ‘it’s him, it’s him!’ The picture on the screen was that of a serving Chief Constable. It was a very real and spontaneous reaction.

This a quote that was attributed to an unnamed MP in a story run by the left-wing website The Skwawkbox. The incident had apparently occurred in January 2017, nine months before the story ran, and the Skwawkbox story followed a Tweet from the journalist (and advocate of Carl Beech) Mark Watts stating that “I can reveal that a chief constable has been interviewed under caution icw allegations of sexual abuse of a child.” The accuser is described as “a young adult who had suffered sexual abuse since childhood”, and the context implies that he or she had for the first time identified someone encountered years before. I discussed the account here.

Since then there has been no follow-up, although Watts drew an adverse inference from lack of progress a year later, writing “In Britain, the authorities are far more worried about a chief constable’s explanation for a broken mobile phone than another chief constable’s alleged role in child sexual abuse” – this was a reference to the disciplinary action taken against then Chief Constable Mike Veale for lying about how he came to smash his mobile phone (discussed here).

Given that it is now three years since the incident in Parliament, it is reasonable to assume that the allegation against the unnamed Chief Constable has been dropped as unsubstantiated; perhaps it has even been debunked, although it is often difficult to positively disprove a vaguely formulated historic accusation. If there were any loose ends, presumably Watts would have made an issue of them. Some people, of course, may suspect that a Chief Constable accused of child sex abuse might enjoy corrupt protection, but the fate of Gordon Anglesea is evidence against drawing such a conclusion.

The question here, though, concerns the MP. There is something off about an MP using their status to amplify a dramatic allegation with serious implications for public confidence in the integrity of the police, yet being unwilling to put their name to it. It is reasonable to assume from the Skwawkboxs politics that the quote was provided by a Labour MP, and their identity is of some continuing public interest given the upcoming Labour Party leadership contest. This is something the candidates ought to be asked about.