Trawling: better news from the House
BACK TO THIS HOME page after my working break, I find that the task of supplying my long-promised comment on the House of Commons debate has been completed for me by Margaret Jervis, writing in the latest edition of the BFMS newsletter:
The justifiability of the Government's response to the Home Affairs Committee Report on police 'trawling' was severely punctured in a House of Commons debate when the Government was exposed as relying on unreliable witnesses and endorsing the dangerous assumptions of the discredited 'recovered memory' movement.
The attack was launched by Claire Curtis-Thomas, MP for Crosby and Formby and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on abuse investigations. In a wide-ranging rebuttal, Mrs Curtis-Thomas aimed her most telling criticism at the Government's endorsement of a Merseyside complainants' group . . .
Whether the new Home Office minister for crime reduction, Hazel Blears, will
prove as receptive in practice as she appeared to be in the debate remains to be
seen, but, at the moment at least, a degree of optimism reigns among those MPs
who have taken this highly unpopular cause to their hearts.
On which subject, I would simply end by noting that when David Rose, Bob
Woffinden and I gave evidence to the Committee last year, and found ourselves
being quizzed with some tenacity by a young conservative MP, I don't think any
of us realised that we were being cross-examined by a
future Conservative prime minister.
The other news he relays is that the position of Chris Mullin as Chairman has been taken over by John Denham, formerly, of course, a home office minister himself. John Denham in the past has resisted arguments about the dangers of police trawling operations. It may conceivably be, however, that, freed from ministerial duties, his attitude will now change.
Links to House of Commons debate on Children's Homes (Investigations), 19 Jun 2003
22 June 2003; revised 30/31 July