Margaret Hodge is the Member of Parliament for Barking. She became Minister for Children in 2003 and later Minister of State for Culture and Tourism at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She is currently Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
Margaret Hodge became leader of Islington Borough Council in 1982 and remained leader until 1992.
In 1985, Demetrious Panton complained about abuse that he had suffered while in the council’s care in the 1970s and 1980s. He did not receive an official reply until 1989, in which the council denied responsibility.
Following Margaret Hodge’s astonishing appointment as ‘Minister for Children’ in Tony Blair’s Government 18 years later, Demetrious Panton went public with his allegation that he had been abused in Islington Council care and had repeatedly raised this issue with no effect.
He accused Hodge, as council leader at that time, of being ultimately responsible for the abuse that he suffered. After much pressure from campaigners and the media Margaret Hodge responded to Demetrious Panton in a letter in which she referred to him as ‘extremely disturbed’.
The letter was eventually published and the Minister for Children was forced to publicly apologise and pay compensation.
So, Margaret Hodge, former ‘Minister for Children’ who was leader of Islington Borough Council during the period where systemic child abuse took place, tell us what you know !