The BBC is today in crisis after the broadcaster was forced to issue an unreserved apology to a Conservative peer implicated in an alleged paedophile scandal at a North Wales Care Home.
Lord McAlpine, a former Tory Treasurer, has announced that he intends to “tackle the slurs and set the record straight” and described the allegations as “wholly false and seriously defamatory”.
The issue centres on a recent Newsnight programme that implicated the Tory Peer in a sex abuse scandal at a care home in North Wales in the 70s and 80s. Although not named in the broadcast, Lord McAlpine was very quickly identified as the individual alleged to have sexually abused young residents at the home.
The broadcast followed claims by former resident Steve Messham that boys were routinely abused by visitors to the home. Mr Messham himself claimed to have been tied down and raped by several abusers, one he claims was linked to the Conservative party.
Following an investigation broadcast by Newsnight, suspicion quickly fell on Lord McAlpine. However, Mr Messham has now admitted that the person he identified in a photograph as one of the abusers is not that of the Tory peer. Mr Messham has now issued an apology to Lord McAlpine.
Mr Messham claims he was told by police officers in the 1990s that the man he identified as one of the abusers was Lord McAlpine, he now accepts that the peer is not the man.
The BBC’s Director General, George Entwistle has now ordered an immediate halt to all Newsnight investigations.
The BBC blunder has overshadowed claims that the real perpetrator of the abuse was in fact Sir Peter Morrison, a former senior aide to Margaret Thatcher. Morrison, who died in 1995 at the age of 51, has been named by a former Conservative Minister, Rod Richards, who claims to have seen evidence linking the former Tory party chairman to the sex abuse scandal.
Former Tory MP Richards has also linked another senior Tory figure, now dead, to the sex abuse scandal at the care home. Richards has also claimed that UK Foreign Secretary William Hague: “should have seen the evidence about Morrison” and said that official documents identified the two men as frequent, unexplained visitors to the care home.
Another eye witness who worked at the North Wales Care Home has claimed he saw Sir Peter Morrison and others regularly visit the home to pick up boys, who were then returned later in a distressed state with unexplained injuries.
Former Tory Minister Edwina Currie has also claimed Morrison was a paedophile who regularly had sex with teenage boys under the age of consent.
The allegations of sexual abuse and claims of links to Downing Street were resurrected by Labour MP Tom Watson who last month made a sensational intervention in the House of Commons. According to Watson, an investigation into claims of abuse was not followed up despite evidence linking known paedophiles to number 10 Downing Street.
The abuse claims have also linked recent allegations surrounding former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, who was a frequent visitor to the Prime Minister’s Holiday retreat Chequers at the time of Mrs Thatcher’s premiership.
Savile has now been exposed as one of the country’s most prolific sex abusers who regularly abused young girls on BBC premises with apparent impunity.
Labour MP Tom Watson has claimed the emerging scandal could be bigger than phone hacking.