EXCL Sitting MPs 'probably involved in some form of child abuse', claims Labour backbencher
Some MPs are probably involved in the abuse of children, an influential Labour backbencher has claimed.
Sarah Champion, who was part of Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench until August last year, said there was "no way that there aren’t people who are sitting MPs who aren’t involved in some way or another, or a member of their family is".
In an interview with The House magazine, Ms Champion also suggested that tackling child sexual exploitation was more of a priority under David Cameron than under Theresa May.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse was set up by Theresa May in 2015 when she was still Home Secretary. It followed claims that Westminster politicians were involved in a paedophile ring in the 1970s and 80s.
Asked if parliament would handle such allegations better today, Rotherham MP Ms Champion said: "I don’t know that it would. One in 20 children will have a sexual assault against them. When you look at something inappropriate happening to them that drops dramatically to one in four girls and one in eight boys.
“That might be inappropriate language or made to feel uncomfortable or in a compromising situation – not necessarily being physically groped.
"So, there is no way that there aren’t people who are sitting MPs who aren’t involved in some way or another, or a member of their family is. I mean, that’s just the reality and I know that’s very uncomfortable and no one wants to think about it.”
She added: “Abuse is always about power. For example, take me. I have got the mobile number of the head of South Yorkshire police, the head of Rotherham police, the head of the council, so if I chose to I could call them on a Sunday night and ask them to act - I don’t think that they would - but my alleged victim wouldn’t have that same access. So, you have inherently got a power imbalance.
“It doesn’t take a big leap of faith or a conspiracy theorist to come up with that you could abuse your power.”
Ms Champion has long campaigned to tackle child sexual exploitation following the 2011 grooming scandal in her Rotherham constituency.
But she is now concerned that Theresa May has allowed the issue to “drop off the radar” and is not as committed as Mr Cameron was.
"I do not feel with this government that [tackling child sexual abuse] is a priority at all," she said. "David Cameron got it and I think he got it because I went to him as a dad rather than going to him as a politician.
“And I got him to meet some of the survivors of Rotherham and one of the mums whose child went through it. So, we engaged with him on that level, which is why he then crusaded as a dad, wanting it for other people’s children.”
"Theresa May was great when she was Home Secretary and then as soon as she shifted to PM it’s dropped off the radar. It’s clearly not a priority for them. It’s someone else’s problem.”
The Labour MP is set to launch a new website later this month designed to help parents and professionals deal with online grooming and sexual abuse of children online.