Labour deputy leader worked for pressure group affiliated to the Paedophile Information Exchange
Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman defended her involvement with the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) yesterday.
Ms Harman issued a statement late on Monday calling on the Daily Mail to “stop this campaign of smear and innuendo.”
But yesterday’s front page of the paper maintained that Ms Harman had to answer for aiding the Paedophile Information Exchange (Pie) lobbying Parliament.
Pie was officially affiliated to the NCCL until 1983 when it was expelled from the organisation. Ms Harman worked for the NCCL — now human rights charity Liberty — as a legal officer between 1978 and ’82.
The Camberwell and Peckham MP has dismissed the ongoing accusations as “a politically-motivated smear campaign.”
But The Daily Mail slammed her statement as “full of pedantry and obfuscation.”
The paper insisted that Ms Harman has undersigned a ’78 NCCL document requesting that naked images of children should not be labelled as pornography unless abuse could be proven.
Ms Harman stated that the amendments proposed then to the Protection of Children Bill were considering situations such a “parents being criminalised for taking pictures of their children on the beach or in the bath” or “the use of pictures in sex education being criminalised.”
She added that the the Mail “has tried to make me guilty by way of guilt by association.”
And speaking on Newsnight, the Labour MP told journalist Laura Kuenssberg that: “It is not the case that my work, when I was at NCCL, was influenced by Pie, was apologising for paedophilia or colluding with paedophilia.”
Ms Harman’s statement came at the same time as her husband Labour MP Jack Dromey’s team published his own account of the events. Mr Dromey argued that in his 10 years as chairman of the NCCL he always campaigned against Pie members and in defence of “the rights of children not to be sexually abused.”
The story comes to mar this week’s celebrations of Liberty’s 80th anniversary. Last year the civil liberties group director Shami Chakrabarti expressed her “disgust” over the NCCL and Pie links in the ’70s.
The Home Office’s investigation into claims that Pie received public funds from the 1976 Labour government continues.