Paedophile Information Exchange allegations and response
On 24 February 2014, Harman denied allegations that she had supported Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) when the advocacy group was affiliated with the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), while she was the pressure group's Legal Officer from 1978 to 1982. The Conservative-leaning Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph claimed that Jack Dromey MP (her partner) and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were apologists for the sexual abuse of children while they were working for NCCL
Both newspapers demanded that Ed Miliband the Labour leader address the issue as a matter of urgency, Miliband backed Harman and stated that she had "huge decency and integrity". Harman stated that while she did support the equalisation of the age of consent for gay men she had never campaigned for the age of consent to go below the age of 16. Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty (previously the NCCL), issued an apology about the links between the NCCL and the PIE. In December 2013, she said: "It is a source of continuing disgust and horror that even the NCCL had to expel paedophiles from its ranks in 1983 after infiltration at some point in the 70s."
On 25 February 2014, Harman addressed the central questions British newspapers alleged she had avoided by saying she expressed "regret" for the involvement of the NCCL with the paedophilia campaign run by PIE; however, a number of papers continue to press Harman on her and others involvement due to the fact Harman had denied any connection only a few hours earlier.
On 28 February 2014 the British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Harman to apologise saying "while Miss Hewitt has offered a frank admission that she "got it wrong" over the links with PIE and apologised Miss Harman has repeatedly refused to make a similar apology instead insisting that she "has nothing to apologise for."
NCCL legal officer 1978-82. Labour MP since 1982. Deputy Labour leader
Lord Adrian Fulford
NCCL executive member. Now head of social policy at the New Economics Foundation
NCCL executive member. Had been a Labour MP and awarded the CBE in 2000
NCCL executive member. Became a senior figure in the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE)
NCCL executive member 1974. Human rights lawyer, acted for Julian Assange
NCCL chairman 1974-76. Became a Labour councillor and High Court judge
NCCL legal officer 1974-77. He became a senior appeals judge and a university law lecturer
NCCL executive member. Left-wing lawyer. Stood as a Labour candidate MP, but lost election
NCCL executive member 1970-79. Labour MP and shadow police minister.
NCCL executive member. Now a lawyer practising at the European Court Of Human Rights
NCCL executive member. Became Labour MP for Barking and joined ruling NEC
NCCL chairman 1980. Later worked as an adjudicator for immigration appeal cases.
Spoke out defending the affiliation
‘Unless something is unlawful, people should not be prosecuted for the opinions they hold. The NCCL is campaigning to lower the age of consent to 14. An affiliate group like the Paedophile Information Exchange would agree with our policy. That does not mean it’s a mutual thing and we have to agree with theirs.’
Like so many others in this saga, Ms Staunton — now a CBE — has gone on to have an elevated public career, enjoying spells as the British director of Amnesty International and deputy director of Unicef in the UK, and head of the international charity Plan International. She is now chair of the overseas environmental charity Raleigh International.
Invited p.i.e to join NCCL in 1975
NCCL general secretary 1974-83. Former Labour MP and Minister for Women
NCCL executive member. Former MP, Treasury minister and High Commissioner in South Africa. Now a Labour peer
NCCL chairman 1981-1983. Senior circuit judge and Chief Coroner for England and Wales
Rev. Malcolm Johnson
NCCL executive member. Led single parent pressure group and is now NHS quango boss
NCCL vice-chair 1976. Became legal officer of the GMB union. Now a barrister
So Tom O’Carroll was invited to address an NCCL conference, and sat on an NCCL gay rights sub-committee alongside Nettie Pollard. When O’Carroll was finally arrested in 1981 — and later convicted — for conspiring to corrupt public morals, the NCCL expressed its outrage at the ‘deplorable nature of the conspiracy charge used by the prosecution’, to quote the words of Patricia Hewitt at the time.
NCCL general secretary. He later ran the mental health charity MIND
NCCL chairman. High Court judge, the husband of Patricia Hewitt