The former Conservative MP, Harvey Proctor, has unexpectedly come to the defence of the late Lord Janner in his new book, writes Jenni Frazer.
Mr Proctor was MP for Basildon from 1979 to 1983, then the MP for Billericay until 1987, when he stood down following charges of gross indecency. His book, Credible and True, which was published last week, has received widespread praise — even from those who were his political opponents — for its candid account of being on the receiving end of a far-reaching police inquiry, Operation Midland, in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
The former MP was on the far-right of his party and in his first reference to Lord Janner he makes it clear that there was no friendship between them.
“He was a Labour Member of Parliament when I was an MP,” he tells a police questioner, adding: “He [Lord Janner] was vicious in his criticism of me regarding my views on immigration I wouldn’t know where his house was and I wouldn’t socialise with him.”
Lord Janner died on 19 December last year while Mr Proctor was completing his book. He writes: “His body was not cold before a furious solicitor, Liz Dux, went on television the next day to bemoan the fact that her six clients, who had separately made sexual-abuse complaints against Janner, and who, tellingly, were also seeking money from his estate, would not now have their day in court in a trial of the facts, which had been set down to start on 11 April 2016.”
Mr Proctor’s main accuser was a man known only as “Nick”, who also separately accused Lord Janner. Mr Proctor, noting that Lord Janner and his family had always denied the abuse claims, details the progress of the accusations made against the peer by “Nick”, and concludes: “It cannot be viewed in any other way than that ‘Nick’ was jumping on the Janner abuse bandwagon”.
In a trenchant summing-up, Mr Proctor adds: “The late Lord Janner will now be an easy new target for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). I do not know the truth about the 22 allegations of child sexual abuse (not involving Operation Midland) that he faced. When Janner was alive, the police and the CPS did not prosecute him. When, through dementia, he joined the ranks of the living dead, they changed their mind and insisted on a ‘trial of the facts’”.
Allegations of child sexual abuse by Lord Janner became the 13th separate inquiry by the IICSA under the chairmanship of New Zealand judge Dame Lowell Goddard.
Mr Proctor’s assessment is that the inquiry will allow “at least six of his alleged ‘survivors’ to enable them to better launch civil action against his estate for ‘compensation’. Having opened the door to ‘compensation’ claims for the six, the floodgates will be opened for many of the rest of what will become the IICSA’s ‘clients’, especially against institutions, authorities and councils. Unlike the police, the IICSA will have no ‘evidential’ threshold to meet.”
The IICSA’s interim report is expected to be published in 2017.
The legal inquiry is accompanied by a parallel process known as the Truth Project. The Inquiry secretariat states: “Unlike the formal hearings, the Truth Project is not a legal process and those who take part will not have their accounts tested, challenged, or contradicted”.