Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for a review of the “highly controversial” decision not to prosecute Lord Janner over child abuse claims.
Speaking on LBC Radio, the Liberal Democrat leader said: “I think this suggestion of making sure it is looked at again, or reviewed again independently, might be something which should now be done.”
More than a dozen people have come forward with claims that they were abused by the Labour peer and former MP for Leicester West, who suffers from dementia and requires round the clock care, during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Last week the Crown Prosecution Service announced there was sufficient evidence to charge Janner with 22 sex offences against nine people, but said that a prosecution would not be brought on account that the 86-year-old’s “evidence could not be relied upon in court and he could not have any meaningful engagement with the court process, and the court would find it impossible to proceed”.
Mr. Clegg said there was “a lot of totally understandable disquiet” that Janner “is not going to be facing justice in any way”. He joins a chorus of politicians – including London Mayor Boris Johnson, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Labour’s Simon Danczuk – calling for a second opinion on the case.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “Any decision that is taken, particularly one as controversial as this, needs to enjoy the confidence of everybody.
“Directors of Public Prosecution need to take very difficult decisions. They need to take decisions without fear or favour, they need to be able to court controversy. But, in this instance, I think it is essential that people understand fully and independently why such a highly controversial decision was arrived at”.
Mr. Clegg added that the Liberal Democrat peer and QC Lord Carlile has proposed that there be an independent review “which just looks at the facts once again to give a proper second opinion”.
Lord Janner was originally investigated by police under three separate inquiries between 1991 and 2007 but was never charged.
The former Board of Deputies President has been suspended from the Labour Party “in light of these very serious allegations”, while his family maintain that he is not connected to any wrongdoing.