“Mr Speaker, I understand that honourable and right honourable members feel aggrieved that Leon Brittan was interviewed by the police and that they are angry with my use of language. But I’m sure that they would also agree that when anyone is accused of multiple sexual crimes by numerous, completely unrelated sources, the police have a duty to investigate, no matter who it is.
My letter was prompted by concern that procedures were not followed. It is not for me to judge the validity of these claims, but I believe that I was right to demand that guidelines were adhered to.
I also believe that very many victims in this country have been too terrified to speak out for too long. And it is not all over just because a few famous people have gone to prison. And it has not all got out of hand just because people in high places are scared.
The survivors of child abuse have been belittled and ridiculed for too long. That’s the real scandal here.
Earlier the prime minister said that I should examine my conscience. Well I think we all need to examine our consciences in this House. We presided over a state of affairs where children have been abused, and then ignored, dismissed and then distained. If anyone deserves an apology, it’s them.”