Tom Watson defiant over Leon Brittan sex abuse claims

Tom Watson said the children deserved an apology. Picture: Neil Hanna
Tom Watson said the children deserved an apology. Picture: Neil Hanna
Share this article
7
Have your say

TOM Watson has refused to apologise for raising allegations against the late Leon Brittan instead demanding all MPs examine their consciences.

Mr Watson said all politicians had “presided over a state of affairs where children have been abused and then ignored, dismissed and then disdained - if anyone deserves an apology it is them”.

Labour’s deputy leader was yesterday met with loud cries of “shame” from the Tory benches following his remarks, which were provoked by Tory grandee Sir Nicholas Soames demanding an apology to Lord Brittan’s family in a point of order.

Mr Watson said: “I understand MPs feel aggrieved Leon Brittan was interviewed by the police and they are angry with my use of language but I am sure they would also agree that when someone is accused of multiple sexual crimes by numerous completely unrelated sources the police have a duty to investigate, no matter who it is.”

Mr Watson continued: “It is not for me to judge the validity of these claims but I believe I was right to demand the guidelines were adhered to.

“I also believe very many victims of this country have been too terrified to speak out for too long. It’s not all over just because a few famous people have gone to prison.

“It hasn’t all got out of hand just because people in high places are scared. The survivors of child abuse have been belittled and ridiculed for too long. That’s the real scandal here.”

Mr Watson recalled remarks by the Prime Minister yesterday, urging him to “examine his conscience” over the allegations made.

Mr Watson said: “I think we all need to examine our consciences in this House; we presided over a state of affairs where children have been abused and then ignored, dismissed and then disdained.

“If anyone deserves an apology it is them.”

Earlier, David Cameron said Labour’s deputy leader “has a lot of questions to answer” over his public comments about sex abuse allegations against former Conservative minister Lord Brittan.

Mr Cameron said the West Bromwich East MP should “examine his conscience” after Lord Brittan’s brother called on him for an apology.

Mr Watson accepted on Friday that he should not have repeated the comment of an alleged sex abuse survivor that the peer was “close to evil”.

But he insisted it was his “duty” to pass on evidence from those claiming to have been abused to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Raising a point of order in the Commons, Sir Nicholas asked the Speaker if Mr Watson had asked to make a personal statement in which he should “apologise for the way in which he has so vilely traduced the late Lord Brittan”.