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Janner tipped to become a ‘sir’ a year after child sex abuse link, inquiry told

By Ryan Hooper, PA Chief Reporter
·3-min read

Greville Janner was put forward to be knighted a year after he was publicly linked to historical sexual abuse at children’s homes, an inquiry heard.

The long-serving politician, who stepped down as MP in 1997 and was later made a Labour peer in the House of Lords, had always denied allegations by disgraced care home boss Frank Beck during his abuse trial in 1991.

Beck was jailed for life and died in prison three years later, while Lord Janner was not charged with any abuse allegations until 2015.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) heard on Tuesday that Downing Street wrote to the Home Office in July 1992 saying it had received a recommendation that Janner be included in a future Honours list and that the Home Office appeared not to have concerns, despite the link to Beck.

Frank Beck (David Jones/PA)
Frank Beck (David Jones/PA)

The Downing Street letter stated the recommendation for Janner to be honoured was “presumably for a knighthood to recognise his services to the Jewish community in Britain”, and canvassed the Home Office for its thoughts on the proposal.

Helen Ewen, from the Cabinet Office department involved in the Honours process, told the inquiry that the Home Office appeared “supportive” of the recommendation but that Janner did not receive the honour.

She said: “The Home Office, I think, replied to indicate they had no objection, they found no adverse reason not to proceed, but no honour was given in the end.”

There was no evidence to suggest why the recommendation was not pursued, the inquiry heard.

It also heard how Janner’s name was included in a list of potential life peers put forward by Tony Blair, two months after becoming prime minister in 1997.

The form, which states the recommendation is for “political and public service” and proposed by Mr Blair, described Janner as “a highly respected former MP” and a patron of many charities, as well as a regular contributor to radio and television.

A statement from Mr Blair is due to be read in a behind-closed-doors hearing on Tuesday afternoon, meaning he cannot be questioned on his evidence.

Historic sex abuse allegations
Lord Janner died in 2015 awaiting trial for sexual abuse (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The latest strand of the wide-ranging inquiry is due to conclude on Friday after three weeks of evidence about how the police, prosecutors and care home staff responded to historic allegations that Lord Janner abused vulnerable children.

Lord Janner, who had Alzheimer’s, died in 2015 under suspicion of 22 counts of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s, which he denied.

A report in 2016 found that failures by police and prosecutors meant three chances were missed to charge him over the allegations, in 1991, 2002 and 2007.

The criminal case was scheduled to reach the Old Bailey in 2016, as a so-called trial of the facts taking into consideration Lord Janner’s inability to give evidence due to his mental health condition.

But it was dropped when the Labour peer died, meaning the allegations were never tested in court.