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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Allegations of child sexual abuse linked to Westminster Investigation Report

Contents

Executive Summary

This investigation concerns institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation involving persons of public prominence who were associated with Westminster. Westminster is defined in this report as the centre of the United Kingdom’s government, government ministers and officials, as well as Parliament, its members and the political parties represented there.

Seven topics were covered in evidence. These were: police misconduct, political parties, whips’ offices, the Paedophile Information Exchange, prosecutorial decisions, the honours system, and current safeguarding policies in government, Parliament and the political parties.

Several cross-cutting themes recurred throughout the investigation. One is the theme of ‘deference’ by police, prosecutors and political parties towards politicians and others believed to have some importance in public life. Another concerns differences in treatment accorded to wealthy or well-connected people as opposed to those who were poorer, more deprived, and who had no access to networks of influence. A third relates to the failure by almost every institution to put the needs and safety of children first. The police paid little regard to the welfare of sexually exploited children. Political parties showed themselves, even very recently, to be more concerned about political fallout than safeguarding; and in some cases the honours system prioritised reputation and discretion in making awards, with little or no regard for victims of nominated persons.

There is ample evidence that individual perpetrators of child sexual abuse have been linked to Westminster. However, there was no evidence of any kind of organised ‘Westminster paedophile network’ in which persons of prominence conspired to pass children amongst themselves for the purpose of sexual abuse. The source of some of the most lurid claims about a sinister network of abusers in Westminster has now been discredited with the conviction of Carl Beech. Nevertheless, it is clear that there have been significant failures by Westminster institutions in their responses to allegations of child sexual abuse. This included failure to recognise it, turning a blind eye to it, actively shielding and protecting child sexual abusers and covering up allegations.

Several highly placed people in the 1970s and 1980s, including Sir Peter Morrison MP and Sir Cyril Smith MP, were known or rumoured to be active in their sexual interest in children and were protected from prosecution in a number of ways, including by the police, the Director of Public Prosecutions and political parties. At that time, nobody seemed to care about the fate of the children involved, with status and political concerns overriding all else. Even though we did not find evidence of a Westminster network, the lasting effect on those who suffered as children from being sexually abused by individuals linked to Westminster has been just as profound. It has been compounded by institutional complacency and indifference to the plight of child victims.

There was no evidence that individual persons of prominence visited Elm Guest House in South London, although child sexual abuse almost certainly occurred there.

Police investigations

A vivid picture of corruption in central London in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s was portrayed by several witnesses. This included the cruising of expensive cars around Piccadilly Circus, by those viewing boys and young men, who would hang around the railings known as the ‘meat rack’ to be picked up by older men and abused. The boys were described as aged between 11 and 22. Many were from damaged backgrounds or were runaways from the care system, and were known as ‘street rats’ by police officers.

Lord Taverne, a Home Office minister in 1966, described a meeting with the then Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, and the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Joe Simpson, at which Sir Joe remarked that there were “several ‘cottages’ in Westminster which we don’t investigate” because “they are frequented by celebrities and MPs”.[1] While not specifically about the sexual abuse of children, it is an example of a policy giving special treatment to persons of prominence and of deference towards those in power at Westminster.

The Clubs Office at the Metropolitan Police Service

The Clubs Office was a department of the Metropolitan Police Service specialising in the licensing and supervision of nightclubs, and vice and obscene publications. Three retired officers described their experiences of working in the Clubs Office. Although runaway boys found at the ‘meat rack’ were often arrested and brought to the police station, little was done to protect them from harm. No specialist child protection unit existed and the procedures for looking after children were described as “rudimentary”.[2]

Robert Glen, a retired officer who worked in the Clubs Office, told the Inquiry that his team had enough evidence to prosecute Cyril Smith in the 1970s for his involvement in sexual activity with young boys. Progress of that investigation was thwarted by senior officers at the time, who claimed that it was “too political”.[3] He told us that “we did as we were told and you were not encouraged to question operational decisions made by senior officers”.[4]

Many years later another retired officer was traced who confirmed much of Mr Glen’s account. He explained that sex workers were treated by the vast majority of police officers as second-class citizens. It was difficult to persuade victims to provide statements because they would be traumatised again by giving evidence.

Cyril Smith’s name featured on at least two other occasions when police officers had cause to interview inmates at Feltham Borstal Institution on criminal matters. On one occasion officers were apparently stopped by Special Branch officers and ‘warned off’ the interview. They ignored the warning and, out of the blue, the inmate launched into a sexually explicit rant about the relationship he had had with Cyril Smith – something entirely unconnected with the purpose of the interview and that came as a surprise to the officers. On another occasion officers interviewed Andre Thorne, who claimed that he was a ‘rent boy’ and had engaged in sexual activity with Cyril Smith. He later publicly withdrew the allegations. A minor public scandal emerged around this time involving a plot by the South African Bureau of State Security to smear Liberal MPs who opposed apartheid. Nevertheless little if any focus was directed at whether Cyril Smith had committed a criminal offence or posed a risk to children.

Undue deference reared its head again in the 1980s. Another retired police officer, Howard Groves, told the Inquiry about his experiences in a large police operation called Operation Circus which was an investigation targeted at so-called ‘rent boys’ around the Piccadilly Circus area. He has a specific memory of a briefing to the effect that if any prominent members of society were identified, the investigation was to cease. There was some support for this in the evidence we received.

The alleged involvement of Special Branch

The Inquiry also heard evidence from Don Hale, an award-winning journalist. Mr Hale has given a well-publicised account of an incident in 1984 when he says his office at the Bury Messenger was raided by Special Branch officers who served, or at least purported to serve, a ‘D-Notice’ (an official request not to publish certain details of a story for reasons of national security) on him. He said that they seized documents containing names of MPs said to be sympathetic to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and documents that Mr Hale said had been given to him by Barbara Castle, then an MEP. Mr Hale also described Cyril Smith visiting him at the office, threatening him, and demanding he hand over the same documents.

If Mr Hale’s account is true then it is an example of politicians and the police acting to suppress allegations that in one way or another linked politicans to child sexual abuse. However, there is very little independent evidence that either corroborates or undermines Mr Hale’s account. The reliability of his evidence cannot be determined by reference to independent sources and there are several elements of his account which are implausible. In certain key respects Mr Hale’s account does not add up and the Inquiry cannot make any findings about this incident.

Elm Guest House

Elm Guest House has featured in many well-publicised allegations of child sexual abuse. It has been alleged that many politicians and other prominent individuals visited Elm Guest House, and that children were abused at sex parties held there. Allegations have also been made against the Metropolitan Police Service about the way investigations at Elm Guest House were conducted and also about how the results of those investigations were covered up.

Elm Guest House was a tawdry establishment which had come to the attention of police on several occasions. Child sexual abuse had almost certainly occurred there. However, Commander Neil Jerome from the Metropolitan Police Service stated that “no individuals of prominence or (individuals) that could be described as being well-known[5] were either observed by the police during surveillance operations or found there when the property was raided.

Further concerns about police conduct

Peter McKelvie, a child protection specialist and retired social services employee and consultant, has also raised concerns about child sexual abuse links to Westminster. Many of his concerns focus on Peter Righton, a convicted child sexual abuser who, prior to his conviction, held a senior position advising the government on childcare.

Mr McKelvie has identified himself as “the source” of Tom Watson’s 2012 Parliamentary question, in which Mr Watson alleged that there was “clear intelligence” of “a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No. 10”.[6] However, in his witness statement, Mr McKelvie suggested that Mr Watson’s question was based on information provided by “a number of sources”,[7] primarily two others, and that Mr McKelvie did not meet with Mr Watson until after the question had been asked.

Both the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Metropolitan Police have acknowledged Mr McKelvie’s proactive role in assisting police investigations and he appeared genuine in his concerns. However, he has not claimed to have hard evidence to support them. A police investigation was conducted over a period of 10 years which in fact resulted in convictions. Mr McKelvie might have had more confidence in the police investigations in which he assisted had the Metropolitan Police kept him better informed about their progress.

Prosecutorial decisions

The cases of Victor Montagu and Sir Peter Hayman, both prominent men linked to Westminster, were examined. Montagu was accused of committing serious offences of child sexual abuse, while Hayman was a member of PIE and frequently exchanged obscene material in the post with others.

The case of Victor Montagu

Victor Montagu was MP for South Dorset from 1941 to 1962. In 1962, when his father died, he succeeded to the 10th Earl of Sandwich. Having renounced his titles in 1963 under the Peerage Act 1963, he stood as the Conservative Party candidate in Accrington in the 1964 general election.

His son, Robert Montagu, gave evidence to the Inquiry describing years of sexual abuse committed by his father, including an occasion when was he was raped. The abuse started when he was about six and a half and continued until he was about 11 years old. It was discovered by family members and he was able to tell his mother what had happened, who in turn told the local GP. Nevertheless, after a short separation, he was returned to his father’s care. The police or other authorities were never contacted and no investigation took place. As Robert Montagu rightly points out, had there been an investigation his father may have been stopped in time to prevent the sexual abuse of other children.

One case, however, did come to the attention of the police: that of a 10-year-old boy who had alleged indecent assault by Victor Montagu in 1972. Papers were submitted to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision on whether to prosecute.

The police report described the boy as “a simple lad, perhaps to be pitied[8] and contained a suggestion that the case was bedevilled by the employer and employee relationship in a rural community. Montagu had been interviewed by the police and broadly agreed with the account given by the boy but denied that the relationship was sexual. The Director of Public Prosecutions’ office advised that he should be cautioned.

It appears that very little in-depth consideration was given to the case. The decision itself minimised the seriousness of the offences and in the absence of any previous convictions the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office treated Montagu as a man of good character. This revelation was particularly shocking to Robert Montagu, who regarded the decision as “entirely wrong and very indicative of the attitude towards people in public positions”.[9] The conclusion that the advice given by the police to Victor Montagu to stay away from the boy was sufficient to mark the gravity of offending was at significant odds to the policy approach taken by the Crown Prosecution Service today. The boy’s interests, as far as they were considered at all, were confined to a threat of being taken into care.

When considering the case, the real offending of Victor Montagu had been all but lost. The tenor of the police report and the note of the decision itself turned on an assessment of morality and the class distinction between him and the boy he sexually abused.

The case of Sir Peter Hayman

Peter Hayman held a number of important roles in the diplomatic service between 1964 and 1974. There were longstanding public concerns about whether the decision not to prosecute, either for his involvement in PIE or for sending obscene material through the post, might have been politically motivated.

In 1974, following a report in the News of the World, Police Sergeant Bryan Collins was required to investigate the activities of PIE and one of the group’s organisers, Tom O’Carroll. During the course of that investigation he came across someone who was eventually identified as Peter Hayman, who had spent many years exchanging obscene material through the post with others, albeit under a different name. It was not until 1978 that the police caught up with Hayman when his briefcase was found in a central London park containing various obscene writings and photographs. There was plenty of material that demonstrated Hayman’s sexual interest in children and that those with whom he corresponded shared his interests.

Police Sergeant Collins believed Hayman was a fantasist rather than a perpetrator of contact offences and his report to the Director of Public Prosecutions suggested that the offence of sending obscene material through the post contrary to section 11(1)(b) of the Post Office Act 1953 was the most suitable charge. Peter Hayman was represented by the well-known solicitor Sir David Napley who, unlike the potential co-defendants, appeared to have direct access to the Director of Public Prosecutions and was able to arrange a meeting with him to discuss the case. Although no record can be found of that meeting it is likely that the Director of Public Prosecutions was told that Hayman was suicidal. That information was treated at face value with no further investigation into Hayman’s mental health. Following that meeting, Hayman was given a caution and was not therefore required to attend court.

By way of contrast, two of Hayman’s potential co-defendants (one of whom was a bus inspector) were prosecuted in court for conspiracy to send obscene material through the post. Unlike Hayman, neither defendant enjoyed high public status or roles in public office. Jeremy Naunton, one of the lawyers involved in the case, offered a potential explanation for why Hayman was given a caution:

The taller they are the harder they fall, and Hayman was fairly tall in respect of the diplomatic side of it. Therefore he had a lot to lose … [10]

Although Mr Naunton denied that undue deference had influenced the decision, it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than Hayman was treated differently from his co-defendants on the basis of who he was. In other words, his prominent position gave rise to special pleading for which he received special treatment.

Political parties

The purpose of this part of the investigation was to determine whether there had been a tendency to protect political parties or the political establishment more widely rather than take allegations of child sexual abuse sufficiently seriously or pass them on to the police. Three examples were selected: two from the 1970s and 1980s relating to the Liberal Party (later the Liberal Democrats) and the Conservative Party. The third, more recent example, concerned the Green Party.

Political response to Sir Cyril Smith

Sir Cyril Smith came to prominence as a Rochdale local councillor, then Mayor and then later as MP for Rochdale from 1972 until his retirement in 1992. He was knighted in 1988 and died in 2010. He was chosen as the Liberal candidate for Rochdale, following an informal selection process, and won the by-election in 1972. Cyril Smith had not, however, always belonged to the Liberal Party and spent part of his earlier career as a Labour councillor. That earlier period had a significant impact on the subsequent decision-making process when allegations that he had sexually abused a number of boys came under the spotlight.

In 1969 Cyril Smith was investigated by Lancashire Constabulary over allegations that he had sexually abused teenage boys at Cambridge House Hostel in Rochdale. During that investigation Smith admitted he had acted in accordance with the boys’ accounts. Papers prepared by the police were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office and Smith pressed to have a decision as quickly as possible in order to fight the next parliamentary election as a Liberal candidate. The decision not to prosecute, described in more detail in the Inquiry’s investigation report on Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale, then paved the way for his selection. Even at this relatively early stage of Smith’s parliamentary career, it is unlikely that Liberal Party members were ignorant of the allegations but nevertheless they did nothing to reconsider Smith’s candidature or inhibit his progress.

The decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office at the time not to mount a prosecution did not, however, dispel rumours which continued to swirl in parliamentary circles. Apparently George Carman QC, who defended the Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe in 1979, had known of the allegations for many years. In the same year, media outlets the Rochdale Alternative Paper and Private Eye had published stories repeating those allegations. The Private Eye article was read by David Steel (now Lord Steel), the then leader of the Liberal Party, who decided to speak to Cyril Smith about the content.

During that discussion Cyril Smith told him that the ‘story’ was correct but that no further action had been taken. Lord Steel told the Inquiry that the allegations had arisen before Cyril Smith had become a member of the Liberal Party and he saw “no reason, or no locus to go back to something that had happened during his time as councillor … ”.[11] In effect, that it was nothing to do with him. This failure to recognise the risk that Cyril Smith potentially posed to children was an abdication of responsibility by a political leader and an example of a highly placed politician turning a blind eye to something that was potentially troublesome to his party, with no apparent regard for criminal acts which might have occurred or for any victims, past or future.

Political response to Sir Peter Morrison

Sir Peter Morrison was the Conservative MP for the City of Chester between 1974 and 1992 and held several senior roles in government. There had been rumours about his sexuality for years and that he liked “little boys”.[12] In the late 1980s an allegation arose that Morrison had been removed by police officers from a train in Crewe for sexually molesting a 15-year-old boy. Gyles Brandreth, who succeeded Morrison to become Conservative MP in 1992, described being told that Peter Morrison was a monster who interfered with children, although he went on to describe these allegations as “slurs”.[13]

Efforts were made to suppress these rumours rather than conduct any more formal investigation. The local agent for the Conservatives, Frances Mowatt, organised a meeting with her counterpart in the Labour Party prior to the 1987 general election to prevent allegations against Peter Morrison being used in the campaign, promising that Morrison would stand down next time. At the Inquiry hearing Mrs Mowatt denied that this meeting ever took place but a letter dated 7 July 1987 from the Security Services to the then Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong, in effect confirmed the existence of that meeting and broadly what was discussed. Mrs Mowatt was less than frank by concealing what was an attempt by her to cover up for Peter Morrison in 1987.

Whether there was an ongoing pact between local Labour and Conservative parties not to mention Peter Morrison’s behaviour during his time as MP is debatable and was subject to conflicting evidence throughout the Inquiry hearing. There was also some suggestion that the authorities had become involved in a cover-up. Allegations were made that the local police had suppressed charges following the incident on the train at Crewe after a phone call from the Prime Minister’s office and that Peter Morrison was subsequently cautioned by the police but the record had been expunged from the system.

The oral evidence of political campaigners provided only limited evidence that political parties secretly conspired and that the police were willing participants in a cover-up, and there is very little documentary evidence that assists. What is clear, however, is that despite the seriousness of the rumours and the alleged incident on the train at Crewe, no one considered the potential fate of children; the focus of attention remained unswervingly on political consequences rather than the welfare of the child.

Officials in the Westminster (rather than the local) environment were alerted to problems in January 1986, when Sir Antony Duff, Director General of MI5, wrote to Sir Robert Armstrong, the then Cabinet Secretary, recalling there had been unsubstantiated rumours circulating about Peter Morrison as early as 1983 that he had been apprehended by police for importuning, and telling him that a member of his staff (which was Eliza Manningham-Buller, now Baroness Manningham-Buller) had passed on information from a friend that Peter Morrison had been caught soliciting in a public lavatory and had narrowly escaped being charged.[14]

Sir Robert Armstrong ensured that the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was aware of the “potential problem”.[15] At the time, Peter Morrison was Minister of State for Trade and Industry and therefore a member of government.

Ten months later, in November 1986, the Conservative agent for Westminster provided information to a staff member of MI5 (not Eliza Manningham-Buller) that Peter Morrison had “a penchant for small boys”.[16] At this stage, however, the ‘security context’ of this information appeared uppermost in the minds of the security services rather than any criminality. Some further action was considered in the form of speaking to the Conservative agent for Westminster.

In that same month, Eliza Manningham-Buller alerted Sir Antony Duff to a press article alleging that a prominent Tory was under investigation by police “because of his interest in small boys” (although the article did not in fact refer to ‘small boys’), and that Peter Morrison had vehemently denied the rumours and said that the Prime Minister was supporting him.[17] This seemed to dampen down any appetite for further action and the Westminster agent was not involved.

It is unclear now whether the Prime Minister was told that Peter Morrison was engaging in homosexual acts (which were not illegal) or whether he was a danger to children (the rumours contained both elements). Both elements, however, were known to senior officials. The rumours themselves showed no sign of diminishing: they were considered serious enough potentially to be a security threat and to cause reputational damage to the government if they became more widely known. In evidence to the Inquiry, Lord Armstrong (as Sir Robert Armstrong became) considered that any action lay with the Conservative Party rather than government but nothing seems to have happened. It did not occur to anyone that Peter Morrison should be reported to the police.

Notwithstanding the persistence and gravity of these rumours and allegations, Peter Morrison’s career was unaffected. He remained Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party until June 1987, when he became Minister of State for Energy. He became Margaret Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990 and was knighted in 1991.

The Green Party’s response to David Challenor

In November 2016, David Challenor was charged with 22 serious offences, including false imprisonment, rape and sexual assault of a child. He was convicted and sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment.

At the time, Aimee Challenor, his daughter, was a member of the Green Party and chair of the national LGBTIQA+ Greens. When her father was charged, she sent a private Facebook message to two communications coordinators for the Green Party. She did not mention the fact that her father had been charged with offences against children.

In April 2017, Ms Challenor was selected to be the Green Party General Election candidate for Coventry South and in the following month she appointed her father as election agent. She did so again in May 2018. When the Green Party discovered the situation, it commissioned an independent investigations consultancy, Verita, to carry out a private investigation. The report criticised Aimee Challenor for her failure to take the appropriate action and reminded the Green Party of the significant risk that her father posed throughout the two-year period he worked in a position of authority for the Green Party. A strong safeguarding culture was required to avoid any repetition.

Whips

The whips’ offices are a key part of the Westminster system and a repository of information about parliamentarians.

We were prompted to consider the role of whips by concerns raised from the comments of a former Conservative Party whip, Tim Fortescue, in a BBC interview in 1995. He suggested that whips would help to cover up scandals, including, as he described it, “scandal involving small boys”.[18] We received evidence from a number of party whips, past and present, including Lord Ryder, Baroness Taylor, Lord Wakeham, Lord Foster, Lord Beith, Lord Young, Lord Goodlad, Lord Jopling, Kenneth Clarke, Nick Brown, Lord Arbuthnot and Gyles Brandreth.

Based on the evidence we have seen, we cannot conclude that the whips and whips’ offices concealed or suppressed allegations of child sexual abuse by persons of public prominence, or used it as a form of leverage. We recognise that there were certain features of their work which may have assisted with an attempt to cover up such allegations, for example the collation of any possibly relevant information about parliamentarians, which was then shared within party bounds but otherwise kept confidential. Beyond that, we do not have evidence that allegations of child sexual abuse were known about or concealed by the whips’ offices.

The honours system

The honours system itself is an institution operated on behalf of the Crown by senior politicians and civil servants within the Westminster establishment. Concerns have been raised as to whether the honours system takes account of allegations of child sexual abuse which have been made against individuals who are being considered for an honour and also against those who have already been granted an honour.

We saw evidence of approximately 30 instances where honours had been forfeited following criminal convictions for offences involving child sexual abuse. Many of these involved individuals working in the community and in education, as well as examples of some prominent people. Peter Hayman was awarded a knighthood in 1971, was involved with PIE, and was convicted and fined for gross indecency with an adult in 1984. Officers of the Order of St Michael and St George decided to give him a warning, with no mention of the Forfeiture Committee.

In another example, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pressed for a knighthood for Jimmy Savile for a number of years, which was awarded in 1990. This was despite revelations in the press about his private life. These cases, amongst others including Cyril Smith and David Chesshyre, show preferential or exceptional treatment being given to individuals because of their status and contacts, regardless of the known involvement of child victims.

There continues to be a debate about posthumous forfeiture of honours, primarily prompted by the Savile case. The current policy position of the Cabinet Office is that there should be no change to the rule that an honour cannot be forfeited after the death of the recipient. The Inquiry recommends that the Cabinet Office should re-examine the policy on posthumous forfeiture, in order to consider the perspectives of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

Paedophile Information Exchange

Another extraordinary development in the 1970s was the emergence of the Paedophile Information Exchange, known as PIE. Its aim was to campaign for public acceptance of paedophilia as well as for changes to the law on the age of consent, in order to allow adults to have sex with children. It was run by and for paedophiles in the 1970s and 1980s. It is clear from our investigation that a number of its members, some of whom were high profile, were involved in the sexual abuse of children. One of these was Sir Peter Hayman, a former High Commissioner to Canada.

PIE’s aims were given foolish and misguided support for several years by people and organisations who should have known better. These included the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Albany Trust. There was a fundamental failure to see the problem and a lack of moral courage to confront it. Some have subsequently expressed regret about what happened during this period.

A central strand of this topic was whether PIE may have received Home Office funding in the late 1970s. This allegation was made by Tim Hulbert, a retired public servant and former consultant at the Voluntary Services Unit attached to the Home Office. It was further suggested that a person or persons working within the Home Office may have intended to channel funding to PIE. Despite detailed investigation, there was no available evidence to confirm that PIE as an organisation actually received any grant of Home Office funding. The available contemporaneous documents and witness evidence suggest that the alleged funding was not provided. Beyond Mr Hulbert’s allegation, we have seen no evidence that any employee of the Home Office intended to fund PIE.

Safeguarding policies

The Inquiry received disclosure of current safeguarding policies from political parties, from a large number of government departments and agencies, and from the Palace of Westminster. We appointed an expert, Professor June Thoburn, to examine the adequacy of these. From her work, it is clear that, overall, Westminster institutions have improved their approach to safeguarding in recent years.

However, at the time of the hearing in this investigation, the evidence was that certain political parties had no specific safeguarding and child protection policies at all. It is unacceptable that any political party in England and Wales operates without suitable safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures.

We also heard evidence, notably from the Green Party and the Labour Party, which indicated that there are major gaps in the practical knowledge of even senior people about basic safeguarding. Some of these people considered themselves sufficiently qualified to judge whether abuse is serious enough to be reported to the authorities, even in the Labour Party’s case, where it is publicly committed to the policy of mandatory reporting.

The Inquiry recommends that all political parties registered with the Electoral Commission in England and Wales should ensure that they have a comprehensive safeguarding policy and procedures that accompany them. Further, that the Electoral Commission should monitor and oversee compliance with this recommendation. These recommendations are made in order to ensure that government departments and political parties have clear, up-to-date, and transparent policies and procedures for the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse.

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