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David Cameron tells Harriet Harman to say sorry
DAVID Cameron piled pressure on Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman last night, calling on her to apologise over links with a paedophile group.
By: Macer Hall 1st March 2014
It came after evidence emerged about how a civil liberties group was persuaded to support a campaign to legalise sex with children.
Documents show how the National Council for Civil Liberties backed calls by the Paedophile Information Exchange to reduce the age of consent to 10 in the 1970s.
Ms Harman, her husband Jack Dromey and former Labour cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt all worked for the NCCL at the time.
Yesterday Ms Hewitt apologised for signing an NCCL document calling for the legalisation of incest.
Ms Harman, who was legal officer at the NCCL, has expressed regret over the links but she has repeatedly refused to give a full apology.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister suggested she should follow the example of Ms Hewitt and Shami Chakrabarti, director of NCCL, now called Liberty, by apologising.
“The Prime Minister thinks what Shami Chakrabarti and Patricia Hewitt have done is the right approach,” he said.
Mr Dromey, a Labour shadow minister, insists he did not approve calls issued by the NCCL to allow adults to have sex with children. The documents show he was at a meeting of the NCCL’s executive committee in London in 1976, which proposed lowering the age of consent to 14, or 10 in some circumstances.
Ms Hewitt’s name was on an NCCL press release in March 1976 which called for a cut in the age of consent and the legalisation of incest.
It said: “NCCL proposes that the age of consent should be lowered to 14, with special provision for situations where the partners are close in age, or where consent of a child over 10 can be proved.”
Mr Dromey said: “I did not agree with the proposal in February 1976 to lower the age of consent. When elected chairman of NCCL, I made it clear my first priority would be to take on the child sex abusers. I then defeated them by a massive majority at the annual conference in April.”
Ms Hewitt said the NCCL had been “naive and wrong” about PIE in the 1970s. The former MP, who was health secretary in Tony Blair’s government, said: “I got it wrong on PIE and I apologise for having done so.”
Tory defence minister Anna Soubry told BBC1’s Question Time that Harriet Harman had handled the story “very badly”.