Obituary: Greville Ewan Janner, Lord Janner

Former MP latterly dogged by controversy over child sex abuse allegations. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Former MP latterly dogged by controversy over child sex abuse allegations. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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Born: 11 July 1928 in Cardiff. Died: 19 December 2015 in London.

Former politician Greville Janner has died at 87, days after a court ruled him unfit because of ill health to stand trial for alleged child sexual abuse.

Lord Janner’s family said he died on Saturday at his home. He was a long-time Labour MP and a founder of the Holocaust Educational Trust who had been accused of offences against boys decades ago.

Born in Cardiff, Lord Janner was the grandson of eastern European Jews who fled to Britain.

Prosecutors attracted criticism earlier this year when they said they would not charge him, even though there was enough evidence to prosecute, because he had advanced Alzheimer’s.

The Crown Prosecution Service later reversed the decision and said a judge and jury would conduct a “trial of the facts”, which considers the evidence against the accused but does not issue a verdict or pass sentence. The “trial of the facts” had been due to start without him present in April, but prosecutors said his death meant it would not be held.

After being evacuated to Canada during the Second World War, he returned to Britain to complete his education before joining the army.He was first elected as an MP in 1970, winning Leicester North West after his father’s retirement from representing the seat. He held the seat until 1997

As a backbencher, he campaigned for Israeli and Jewish causes, as well as on consumer safety, women’s equality and workers’ rights.

In the 1980s, he helped to launch the Parliamentary War Crimes Commission, set up to report on former Nazis living in Britain.

Like his father, he became a member and then president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He was a firm defender of the state of Israel and vocal opponent of antisemitism.

He spoke nine languages. For many years he was a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

He had served as a war crimes investigator after the war during his national service and played a major part in fostering the annual day of remembrance for genocide victims in Britain.

He was also a promoter of legislation to allow Britain to prosecute war criminals whose crimes occurred outside British jurisdiction.

Lord Janner married Myra Sheink in 1955 and the couple had one son, Daniel, who was briefly a Labour candidate but later defected to the Conservatives, and two daughters, one of whom, Laura Janner-Klausner, is a rabbi of the Jewish Reform movement and a regular broadcaster. Myra died in 1996.