By Karim Adel El-Sayed
Enoch Powell, one of the most controversial British politicians of the twentieth century, has been implicated of involvement in child sex abuse dating back to the 1980s, the British press has reported.
Powell’s name was handed to police in 2014 by Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, an event which was only made public on Sunday.
“The name Enoch Powell was passed to Operation Fernbridge on the instruction of Bishop Paul Butler,” the Church of England said in a statement on Monday, referring to the police operation into suspected Westminster child abusers.
Powell, who died in 1998, was a divisive and firebrand anti-immigrant politician. His name is the latest in a string of senior parliamentarians accused of being involved in alleged Westminster child sex rings in the 1980s.
The scandal has shaken Britain’s political establishment to its core.
‘Leave no stone unturned’
In July 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May launched an inquiry into the extent public institutions, such as the police, National Health Service and the BBC, failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.
British Prime Minister David Cameron promised shortly afterwards that the inquiry would “leave no stone unturned.”
New Zealand judge Dame Lowell Goddard was selected to head the inquiry. She had previously been appointed chairwoman of New Zealand's Independent Police Conduct Authority in 2007.
A core part of her inquiry into historical sex abuse in England and Wales will be the purported Westminster pedophile ring, whose activity is thought to date back to the 1980s.
At least three members of parliament were questioned in 1982 after a police raid on Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London.
The house was reported at the time to have been used as a brothel for at least two years before the operation.
Children as young as 10 were thought to have been abused and officers at the time said they found whips, chains and ropes.
In 1983, Geoffrey Dickens MP, a Conservative, handed a 40-page dossier, brimming with information with regards to establishment child sex abuse, to then-Home Secretary Leon Brittan, who suggested the police had been informed.
Dickens, a renowned anti-child abuse campaigner, told his family that the dossier was “explosive” and would “blow the lid” on establishment figures, including politicians, engaged in child sex abuse. He died in 1995.
Following the fallout from the Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal in 2012, Labour MP Tom Watson claimed during Prime Minister’s Questions that there was "clear intelligence suggesting a powerful pedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10." He was referring to the so-called Dickens dossier.
In late 2012, police launched Operation Fairbank as a “scoping exercise” into politicians and other public figures to determine whether there was sufficient evidence for an inquiry.
In February 2013, the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Fernbridge to investigate allegations of abuse in the early 1980s at Elm Guest House, claims which arose from Operation Fairbank.
Operation Fernbridge has since closed but the investigations into a pedophile network at Elm Guest House have been taken up by a new operation, called Operation Athabasca, and police are still appealing for information -- hence the tip-off regarding Enoch Powell.
In 2014, Mark Sedwill, the Home Office’s most senior civil servant, announced the result of a 2013 Home Office review, saying that the so-called Dickens dossier had “not been retained.”
His review also found that 114 documents went missing between 1979 and 1999, though he claimed there was no evidence that they had been destroyed “inappropriately.”
In July 2014, Leon Brittan denied any wrongdoing, pointing to the Sedwill Home Office review that claimed, “appropriate action and follow-up happened." Brittan died on 22 January, 2015.
On 16 March 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the police watchdog, launched an investigation into alleged corruption over claims the Metropolitan Police covered up child sex offences due to MPs and police officers being involved. These allegations also arose from Operation Fairbank.
‘Rivers of blood’
Enoch Powell was a member of parliament for the Conservative Party between 1950 and 1974.
His political career was dominated by a speech he made in 1968 on the topic of immigration.
In what became known as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, he decried unchecked immigration from Commonwealth countries and attacked recently proposed anti-discrimination legislation.
“We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependents, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population,” he said at the General Meeting of the West Midlands Area Conservative Political Centre in Birmingham. “It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.”
In his infamous closing segment, the firebrand politician said: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”
Polls conducted at the time said that 74 percent of the population agreed with his views and that eight percent of immigrants believed they had been treated worse by white people since Powell’s speech.
Then leader of the opposition and Conservative Party leader Edward Heath dismissed Powell from his position as shadow defense secretary in the Shadow Cabinet, saying the speech was "racialist in tone and liable to exacerbate racial tensions."
However, Powell has his defenders. “His probity in personal and financial matters was rock solid,” writes Simon Heffer.
Heffer, a biographer of Powell, is a journalist for the Daily Mail, a conservative-leaning British daily. He made his comments in last Sunday’s edition of his paper, the Mail on Sunday.
“The Establishment turned against Enoch in 1968 after the so-called Rivers of Blood speech,” Heffer claimed. “It would never have protected him for a second had it detected the slightest whiff of scandal.”
“The Church needs to investigate those responsible for this smear and take action accordingly,” he demanded.
“The allegations are a monstrous lie… There must be an investigation and, for all the distress this outrage has caused, there must be a reckoning,” he said.
Establishment ‘renowned for protecting itself’
“The establishment in this country is renowned for protecting itself and this issue is an issue that it never, ever wanted to come out the world of politics, the world of the establishment.
Nothing would surprise me in terms of cover-ups or files being destroyed or lost. It stinks, I have to say,” says Peter Saunders, CEO of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, speaking to The Anadolu Agency.
Commenting more specifically on the accusation leveled against the deceased anti-immigrant firebrand, Saunders adds: “Powell’s been dead a long time and I have not heard his name being implicated before, but anybody who is implicated and who does have a credible allegation made against them – whether they are alive or dead – I think they should be investigated to the full extent of the law.”
With regards to Heffer’s argument that Powell was a man of high probity, Saunders said, “Many child abusers throughout our history have been upstanding members of the community and they have a dark side… I am not saying that is the case with Powell, because I do not know.”
“I think any credible accusation should be pursued and investigated for the purposes of both the victims and for future child protection because this issue of abuse of children has been swept under the carpet, has been kept at bay, has been denied for far too long,” he said.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.