Sal Brinton writes… Ukip’s hypocrisy on tackling serious child abuse issue is breath-taking

UKIP logoToday in the House of Lords, Baroness Joan Walmsley and the Lib Dems secured an agreement from the Government on the Serious Crime Bill, for a major consultation on introducing rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse.

At our recent Federal Conference in Glasgow, Liberal Democrats passed new Party policy in support of requiring those who work with children and vulnerable adults to be required by law to report to the authorities if they have any suspicion that abuse is taking place. However, despite debates on this and other amendments concerning child abuse being debates, Ukip members of the House of Lords failed again to participate in this work.

Ukip’s hypocrisy is breath-taking. They issue a photograph of a girl with the headline ‘There are 1400 reasons why you should not trust Labour again’ in Rotherham, but their record on tackling serious child abuse issue is disgraceful.

The only record of Lord Pearson of Rannoch (the former Leader of UKIP & their leader in the Lords) asking a question on child abuse is on 13 October this year, after the Police and Crime Commissioner by-election was called.(Link here.) He has been in the House of Lords since 1990. Even this question is focused entirely on the Ukip obsession with Muslims, ignoring the fact that child abuse happens in all areas of the country and is not exclusive to any culture, community, race or religion.

And, once again, when we discussed child abuse in the Lords today, no Ukip peers were present.

But it isn’t just Ukip in the Lords. Ukip in the European Parliament abstained in a vote to strengthen legislation about sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography in 2011. (Link here)

Further, Winston McKenzie, the Ukip candidate in the Croydon North by-election in 2012 that gay adoption was child abuse. (Link here.) And Gordon Gillick, a Ukip Cambridgeshire councillor told a meeting of some children in care that “they were takers from the system”, wanting to know “what they would give back to society.” (Link here.) Not the party policy you want when young people in care want to report their worries.

In November 2013, senior Ukip member David Gale resigned in a high profile letter to Nigel Farage (see link here and here), citing concerns about the way that Ukip operates. The letter raises the issue that the party continues to associate with a known paedophile.

None of this sounds like a party prepared to listen to the voice of children who have either been abused, or are at risk of being abused. It certainly isn’t a party who should be trusted with tackling the deep rooted problems of child abuse in Rotherham, Rochester or the country as a whole.

* Baroness Sal Brinton is President of the Liberal Democrats. She is a working Lib Dem peer, and was the candidate for Watford at the 2010 and 2005 General Elections.

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  • Tony Greaves 28th Oct '14 - 8:27pm

    How many UKIP members are there in the Lords?

  • Many people are concerned regards extensive powers being abused for other means and not primarily for the purpose such laws are written. What will it become? That child is reported as swearing in school.. full raid of parents privacy?

  • Tsar Nicolas 28th Oct '14 - 8:43pm

    There are three UKIP memebrs of the House of Lords.

  • There are three UKIP peers.

    Child abuse is a very serious issue. As the passing reference in this article to the subject being discussed in the Lords today is so vague, I cannot comment on the absence of the three UKIP peers. What was the legislation under consideration today? Did the three UKIP peers specifically refuse a request by Baroness Walmsley to attend and lend her their support?

  • Tsar Nicolas 28th Oct '14 - 11:31pm

    Seriously, do we need yet another law ? There were hundreds of abuse cases in Rotherham left uninvestigated not because of the lack of laws, but because the relevant authorities chose to turn a blind eye.

  • Paul Reynolds 29th Oct '14 - 5:06am

    Sal and Joan are worthy of much praise for their work on new legislation on criminal offences, including work on new legal protections for children and young adults. The broader definitions of harm to children, including for example persistent accusations or designation of children as ‘possessed by evil spritits’, and the broadening of offences to include those not directly responsible for individual children, should be welcomed. The proposals, sought by NSPCC (and, broadly, Lib Dem policy) to make the covering up of harm to children a crominal offence are also welcome, provided unintented consequences are properly thought through. If very broadly drawn (eg by lazy drafters) we may end up with for example, teachers in fear of prosecution for not revealing ‘suspicions’ that others persons or officials may deem they should have had. It would be counterproductive in the prevention of harm to children for teachers or others in a similar position to have to report hundreds of ‘suspicions’ just in case harm does emerge, in order to safeguard themselves against future prosecution. Part of the ihe intent, to address the problem of concealment of harm, as widely reported in recent high profile cases, is laudable. I trust the drafters and civil servants responsible will resist the temptation to draw the bases of new offences too broadly and thus that they will focus on the real-world effectiveness of the new legislative provisions. Learned comment from Sal and Joan ?

  • Not many UKIP members of the House of Lords, I can only assume they are not prepared to pay the going rate to buy a seat there.

  • Tony Dawson 29th Oct '14 - 8:35am

    While it is reasonable to assert that UKIP’s role in respect to child abuse is ineffective and in some cases contradictory, the above ‘list’ of researched items is, frankly rather, weak.

    I would be more interested to know what the Liberal Democrats are doing (a) to improve things and (b) to create a system where we can effectively bring to book those who have massively-neglected this issue over decades – without them getting massive pay-offs or compensation pay outs.

  • What bothers me here is the focus on ‘people who work with children.’ From what I understand, people who work with children have reported their concerns to those higher up in several high profile cases. The problem was a refusal by those in power to do anything, with South Yorkshire police apparently too busy focussing on burglary and car crime. So again we have responsibility (blame?) being foisted on the little people whilst those in power get away scot-free and then LDV wonder why so many people are attracted to the cut of Ukip’s anti-authority jib, however phoney it may be.

  • Let me ask you something, Baroness. How did the three major parties allow this abuse to happen? Are you not ashamed of yourselves? All of you And if not why not?

    Why did you participate in a culture where it is considered racist to point out the ethnicity of abusers? Why was Nick Griffin taken to court (and found innocent) for pointing this was going on with impunity years ago? The world has changed, but only a short while ago even mentioning this issue at all could yet you accused of being a racist and a fascist. Think about your collective responsibility for this whole, awful scandal before you comment on this at all.

    As for Rotherham, this was, is a Labour rotten borough. The Labour guy in charge of this aspect of the council was related to one of the worst abusers . The PCC who resigned in disgrace was a Labour hack.

    UKIP are the voice of the people against this rottenness. All decent person should support their campaign to clean this up.

  • Interesting by election tomorrow. The successor to the truly delightful Shaun Wright as Politically Correct (sorry Freudian slip, Police and Crime ) Commissioner.

    Now this is a weighing not counting votes Labour area. Miliband’s northern heartland. And the word on the street is it is not going so well for the People’s Party.

    Just saying…

  • Caracatus

    Sorry, didn’t see your post when I made mine.

    The answer to your question is that the Liberal Democrats would have been as irrelevant to this by election as you were in Heywood and Clacton and will be in Rochester. No-one in in the country cares what you, or Clegg or even the delightful Baroness think about this matter.

    I may be being brutal but is anything I say actually untrue?

  • “…ignoring the fact that child abuse happens in all areas of the country and is not exclusive to any culture, community, race or religion.”

    The fact that someone who thinks (let alone utters) this should be revising our nation’s’ laws in our unelected second chamber says EVERYTHING you need to know about the failure of contemporary politics. It makes one despair. 🙁

    Of course child abuse happens in all areas of the country, and is not exclusive to one community. But the fact you lack the moral courage to admit that, as a proportion of the general population, Pakistanis are significantly overrepresented
    shows your moral bankruptcy Baroness. You should be ashamed.

    Attitudes such as this led to the blind eyes being turned to the abuse in the first place.

    Why are so many Lib Dems in the Lords in the first place? No-one votes for you nowadays do they? Oh but that should be a mark of pride in the House of Lords, I forgot.

    The Liberal Democrats. The party which seeks to reform the House of Lords, but while they wait, they enjoy picking up their expenses an wearing the red ermine.

    Don’t seek to ask for whom the bell tolls, Baroness. It tolls for thee.

  • Tsar Nicolas 30th Oct '14 - 9:53am

    I have to ask where the contender for party president, Liz Lynne figures in all this.

    Liz denies any knowledge, but it has been claimed that as MP she ordered the destruction of a file of papers relating to Cyril Smith and the abuse in Rochdale.

  • Alex Wasyliw 25th Mar '15 - 10:08pm

    Not to mention this @Untidy_mind’s Tweet:

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