Labour MP is condemned for linking Leon Brittan to child abuse

Jim Hood MP is accused of misusing parliamentary privilege after making ‘serious accusations against a noble lord’

Leon Brittan

Leon Brittan  Photo: Alamy
A Labour MP was last night embroiled in a row over the use of parliamentary privilege after he told the Commons that Lord Brittan, the former home secretary, had been accused of “improper conduct with children”.
Jim Hood, the Labour MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, was denounced by Conservatives after he used a debate about coal miners to discuss reports about Lord Brittan.
Under a British constitutional convention, comments made in parliament are protected from libel action.
Lord Brittan has been accused of failing to act on a dossier about alleged VIP paedophile rings given to him by MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983. The peer has denied the claims.
During a Commons debate on coalfield communities last night, Mr Hood said: “By the way, the current exposé of Sir Leon Brittan [sic], the then home secretary, with accusations of improper conduct with children will not come as a surprise to striking miners of 1984.”
MPs immediately challenged Mr Hood over his comments.
Conor Burns, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, said: “He has just made very profound, serious accusations against a noble lord. Is that in order?”
Lindsay Hoyle, the Deputy Speaker, said that he had not heard Mr Hood’s comments but added: “It’s up to each member to decide what they said and they must make that decision.”
However, Mr Hood continued: “The rumours that Sir Leon Brittan was involved with misconduct with children does not come as news to miners who were striking in 1984. When miners were going up into the dock in magistrates’ courts we were aware and miners were declaring… the point is miners were saying in the dock in magistrates’ courts throughout the strike that they objected to instructions coming from the home secretary when there was reports about child abuse being linked with that same home secretary.”
Mr Hoyle interrupted the Labour MP and said: “I think it is up to each MP, we have to be very careful on what we said, and we must consider what we are saying and what the implications are.”
Mr Hood continued: “I accept, obviously, what you say but I’m just repeating what I’m reading in the papers.”
Matthew Hancock, a Conservative business minister, said: “At the end of this debate the Labour front bench should disassociate themselves from the disgusting remarks of the previous speaker.”
Mr Burns later suggested that Mr Hood may have misused parliamentary privilege by making the comments.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “I was profoundly concerned that in an almost casual aside an MP made allegations of child abuse against a serving member of the House of Lords.
“I’m really concerned he did it in an almost flippant way.”
The new chairman of the government inquiry into child sex abuse has recently been criticised for her links to Lord Brittan.
Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, has faced calls to resign after she admitted that she entertained the former home secretary and his wife three times at dinner parties at her house, and twice went to his home in central London for dinner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *