POLICE were last night urged to investigate claims that a senior Conservative politician had sexually abused a child at a children’s home in North Wales.
Welsh politicians demanded that the police look again at allegations that children were raped and abused at the hands of a paedophile ring which operated in Wales during the 1970s and 1980s.
The call for a new investigation followed a BBC Newsnight programme which accused a senior Conservative politician of abusing underage boys, but shied away from naming him.
The claims against the unnamed politician were made on Friday night when one of the men who was sexually abused while he was a child in care was interviewed on the current affairs programme.
Steve Messham was one of hundreds of children whose claims of sexual abuse were originally examined by the
Waterhouse Inquiry Report into the North Wales care home scandal, which was
published in 2000.
Messham told the BBC that the inquiry uncovered a fraction of the abuse and called for a new investigation into the true scale of the crimes against underage boys.
He and another unnamed victim also said that a leading Thatcher-era Conservative politician took part in the abuse.
Last night Elfyn Llwyd, leader of Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group, added his voice to the calls for an inquiry.
Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Llwyd said: “There was the Waterhouse Inquiry, which did reveal a great deal of child abuse in certain homes in North Wales.
“But now that it has been mentioned that a leading politician could have been involved – and this was not thrown up by the Waterhouse Inquiry – I think it is high time to revisit the whole thing. Crimes of this nature should not go unpunished.”
No-one at North Wales Police would comment yesterday.
During his Newsnight appearance, which was broadcast after the BBC was criticised for pulling an investigation into the Jimmy Savile underage
sex scandal, Messham gave a harrowing account of the abuse he had suffered in North Wales.
“In the home it was the standard abuse, which was violent and sexual,” Messham said.
“Outside it was like you were sold. We were taken to the Crest Hotel in Wrexham, mainly on Sunday nights, where they would rent rooms.
“One particular night that I always recall is when I was
basically raped, tied down and abused by nine different men.”
He added: “You were taken by car, where basically you were sexually abused. Various things would happen, drink would be involved, it was basically rape. But it wasn’t just him, there would be other people involved as well.”
When asked how many times he was abused by the politician, Messham said: “Off my head I couldn’t give an
exact number as it goes back many years, but certainly more than a dozen.”
The politician at the centre of the accusations has denied the claims and said he is prepared to sue the BBC for libel.
He told the Daily Telegraph the allegations were “totally untrue”, saying: “The BBC ain’t what it used to be.
“I’ve never been to this children’s home. The fact is that if they publish anything about me they will get a writ in the morning. I wouldn’t wait two minutes.”
The BBC did not broadcast the politician’s name, saying there was not enough evidence to make it public. Before the programme went out, however, one of its makers, Iain Overton of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, tweeted: “If all goes well, we have got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile.”
A flurry of internet speculation naming several Tory
politicians as likely suspects followed. Last night, some politicians expressed concern at the BBC’s handling of the
Murdo Fraser, the Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “The BBC has a responsibility as a publicly funded broadcaster, and by highlighting this particular issue – but seemingly without enough facts to stand up the story – all they are doing is causing the rumour mill to go into overdrive.
“If they think they have a story, they need to come out and name names. If not, they are better keeping quiet,” he added.