Published on 22 Jun 2015 Sections ,

Lord Janner abuse claims: Labour ‘failed to act quickly’

A senior Labour MP tells Channel 4 News the party leadership failed to act “quickly and efficiently” to suspend Lord Janner over multiple claims of child abuse.

A senior Labour MP has told Channel 4 News his party’s leadership “failed to act quickly and efficiently” to suspend Lord Janner, despite his private written warning to Ed Miliband sent last year.

The peer was suspended by the Labour party on 16 April, when the director of public prosecutions announced that while there was sufficient evidence to charge him with multiple counts of child abuse, a prosecution could not go ahead due to the “severity” of his illness.

‘Swift and decisive’

However, on 6 October 2014, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk wrote to Ed Miliband, then leader of the Labour party, warning him of “stomach-churning” allegations faced by Lord Janner.

In the letter seen by Channel 4 News, Mr Danczuk explained that he had been “visited by three senior officers from Leicestershire Police” and that the alleged abuse that was disclosed to him in relation to Lord Janner’s case was “stomach-churning”. He called on Ed Miliband to “suspend Lord Janner from the Labour party at the earliest opportunity”.

Six months later when the DPP announced that Lord Janner would not be charged with multiple counts of child abuse, Ed Miliband said: “I’m deeply shocked by the allegations that have been made and what the CPS seem to have discovered. My heart goes out the alleged victims.”

And Ed Balls, then shadow chancellor, said: “These are very serious allegations. I understand the CPS decision but the Labour party has acted swiftly and decisively to make that suspension.”

Read more: Lord Janner will not face CPS prosecution over child abuse

‘Expulsion’

Mr Danczuk told Channel 4 News that Lord Janner should have been suspended sooner and called for him to be expelled: “No, you couldn’t describe the action that has been taken by the party as swift and decisive. That isn’t the case… The nature of the allegation is so serious that really decisive action was required.

“I think they should expel him from the party. I think the allegations are that serious that they should carry out a short, sharp investigation which I am sure would conclude that he should be expelled from the party.”

Mr Danczuk also said: “I think it’s important to say that all political parties have been slow to act in relation to child sexual abuse and allegation in political parties. And it’s also fair to say that the labour party isn’t any different to the other political parties in terms of failing to act quickly and efficiently on this sort of issue.”

‘Not appropriate’

Separately, Channel 4 News has also spoken to Paul Gosling, former secretary of Leicester district Labour party and a councillor in the city. He stated that, when allegations about Lord Janner were first made in 1991, local Labour members with concerns were dismissed by a member of the party’s national executive committee. Mr Gosling told Channel 4 News:

“In 1991 it was known that allegations were going to be made against Greville Janner during the Frank Beck trial. Senior Labour councillors attempted to have a meeting with a member of the national executive committee. They were told they could have a meeting in a taxi ride. That was not seriously treating the allegations.

“Therefore they took the matter to an official of the Labour party who said that they’d had a couple of conversations. He didn’t believe there was anything to them and that was the end of the matter as far as the Labour party was concerned.

“It was clearly not good enough. The Labour party did not take the matter seriously in 1991 and has not really taken at all it seriously since then until the last few months.”

Mr Gosling stated his view that: “They didn’t want to find Greville Janner guilty of any allegations. They didn’t want to hear the allegations. They didn’t want these allegations to exist. So they pretended that the allegations didn’t exist. And they’ve managed to carry on pretending from 1991 until 2015.”

‘Man of great integrity’

Lord Janner denied the allegations in parliament in 1991. His family issued a statement in April 2015, when the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute him over historic child sex abuse allegations. The statement said:

“Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service.

“He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.

“As the Crown Prosecution Service indicated today, this decision does not mean or imply that any of the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offence.”

Unable to bring charges

Today a Labour party spokesperson told Channel 4 News: “Any allegation of abuse should be taken seriously, and where crimes may have been committed it is rightly the job of the police to investigate them.

“When the Labour party received notice of the allegations against Lord Janner, we asked Leicestershire Police to confirm that they were pursuing an investigation with a view to bringing charges, but they were unable to do so.

“As soon as evidence was produced by the Crown Prosecution Service, Lord Janner was suspended from the Labour party.

“The victims of child sex exploitation need real support from the criminal justice system.”