02/07/2014 Newsnight


With Kirsty Wark. What happened to a 1980s Home Office dossier on alleged child sex abuse? Plus, the mystery of the bodies being washed up on the Isle of Wight.

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A dossier detailing alleged child sex abuse involving prominent public


figures 30 years ago is missing from Home Office files. The Home


Secretary at the time are Sir Leon Brittan says he passed it on to


officials. Is it time for an historic inquiry into child abuse.


Violence flares after the body of a Palestinian teenager is found today.


Was it the reprisal for the murder of three teenage Israelis. It raises


the tit for tat sectarian murder. On the eve of a charm offensive by Ed


Miliband, is Labour an attractive proposition for business? Does


business trust Labour? Pass. Bodies on the beaches of the Isle of Wight,


could burials at sea be to blame. Good evening. The former Home


Secretary, Sir Leon Brittan has become embroiled in a row over what


action he took and didn't take when given a dossier in the 1980s


containing allegations of child sex abuse. The file was one of a number


prepared foe the late Tory MP Jeffrey Dickens, claiming prominent


figures were involved in paedophilia. Sir Leon Brittan said


he passed it to officials for further examination. The dossier is


now missing. Police are now sure this man was a serial sex offender,


to date there have been 144 complaints against Sir Cyril Smith,


he escaped prosecution in his lifetime. There has long been a


suspicion that it went further, that others could have been members of a


ring involved in child abuse. We know from my investigations into


Cyril Smith that he was abusing boys up and down the country, involved in


a network within London of abuse. And I think we need to name the


other perpetrators that belonged to that network. 30 years ago this man


was a campaigner, a thorn in the side of the establishment. The late


Tory MP Jeffrey Dickens spend most of his career fighting child abuse.


In 1981 he used parliamentary privilege to name the diplomat, Sir


Peter Hayman, now dead, as a paedophile. Who years later we now


know he handed two lengthy dossiers to the then Home Secretary, Sir Leon


Brittan, dossiers thought to contain the name of suspected abusers in


high office. Those papers were delivered here, to what was then the


Home Office, it is the contents of those two bundles which are now at


the centre of this complicated and murky story. Sir Leon Brittan


leaving his London tomorrow today. -- home today. There will be a


statement tomorrow. He said he didn't remember being handed the


dossier in the first place. But he released a statement.


But later this afternoon he clarified his position again. The


Home Office said a review last year of old documents, that went almost


unnoticed at the time found a letter from Lord Brittan that found parts


of the documents were sent to prosecutors, it found that Lord


Brittan had acted properly in the situation. He's looking evasive, the


comments he put out today are contrary to what he said previously.


He changed some of his statement during the course of today in


response to things the Home Office officials were saying. It doesn't


move us any further forward. Perhaps there is a need for him to go before


a Select Committee and answer questions. In many ways today's


statements raise far more questions than answers. We still don't know


exactly what kind of material was in the files, and do they still exist,


and what kinds of actions did the police, just round the corner in


Scotland Yard, take based on that material. In newspaper interviews


Jeffrey Dickens threatened to expose prominent figures if they failed to


act. He told the Daily Express, "I have eight names of big important


figures and I will expose them in parliament, one of these people is a


friend of mine, but you have to be merciless protecting the young". For


reasons that are not clear, Dickens never carried through with the


threat. And the individual, if the list ever existed, were never named.


The Home Office said this evening that despite a search of the records


their copies of the original dossier are now missing. The public will be


astonished that documents from the 1980s, this isn't the 1880s, it is


the 1980s, have not been returned. They will be astonished the because


the detail in those includes accusations against alleged


paedophiles. They will be astonished that they have been destroyed. And


the public will conclude and you can understand them concluding this,


that they have been destroyed in an attempt to protect the names of the


people that are named in the dossier who can blame the public for


reaching that conclusion. More than 120 MPs from all parties are now


calling for a full inquiry into allegations of historic sex abuse.


They say only that can shed some light on events of 30 or 40 years


ago. But with documents lost, and memories fading, many fear it may


already be too late to get at the full truth.


I'm joined now by the former Children's Minister who has written


to the Home Secretary Theresa May in the past asking for an overarching


inquiry into historic cases of sex abarks and the Labour chair of the


all-party group on child protection in the Commons. Before we get on to


the idea of an inquiry, what do you make of the fact in the 1980s, the


Home Office seems to have mislaid this dossier? It compounds the


scepticism people have about why these things weren't taken


seriously. There are all sorts of other things, not involving


celebrities or politicians, the police are given evidence and it


gets shoved under the carpet. It adds to question marks that are


coming every day and week as the story goes on. It leads to a whole


question of trust, why should the public trust authority? I think what


we are looking at here is an issue at the moment about what has


happened to this information, and there should be at least clear


information within the Home Office and within the police as to what


they have done with those records. I worked in social services in the


1980s and there were very clear procedures around what you did with


files and information. And that's what the public has a right to


expect. On a question of an actual parliamentary inquiry what are the


parameters, what are the areas, the problem is we have been incredibly


member nebulus? We are getting new charges of historic abuse, we had


Jimmy Savile and Rofl Harris, more next week on Rochdale children's


homes, the NHS, the BBC, independent schools, music schools. This is a


drip, drip effect. What would be the value of conflating those into an


inquiry? We are having all these confusing places going on, and new


reviews set up all the time that are reporting, another one reports


conflicting evidence, the public is absolutely confused and losing


confidence that children are being protected now. We need to put it


into historical context to know what went wrong and how it went wrong.


You are a specialist in child protection, you are looking into it,


why haven't you signed up for this inquiry? I'm not convinced this is


the right way forward. If there are individual allegations then those


should be investigated by the police, and the fact that we have


had these allegations made, which have been investigated and now we


have got successful prosecutions is making it much more likely that


people will come forward. We know that is happening. My view is that


we already know a lot about what went wrong, we know what we should


be doing now, and I think there are questions about how the Government


is managing child sexual abuse now, and how we are looking after and


making sure that those are properly investigated today. What you are


looking for is a review of what is happening now, rather than historic


inquiry? The all-party group which Tim is also on, has done an inquiry


into child sexual abuse, we have come up with recommendation,


particularly around whistle blowing and better train, which would make


things better for children now. Isn't there a real problem, as we


see in all kinds of cases with whistle blowing? There is, and


that's why it is really important that the Government looks again at


its guidance and making sure that whistleblowers when they come


forward know they will be taken seriously. There is a form of


whistle blowing that can be called parliamentary privilege, if you have


information with he Sufics, why not use parliamentary privilege? It may


come to that. I won't ask that clearly? We won't go into detail. Do


you have information? Certain people have come to us with all sorts of


information. We need to make sure it is coroborated. But I'm much more


interested in putting all this into the context of where we have come


from. The great irony is this Government has done an awful lot in


child protection, overhaul the child protection system. I launched the


child sex exploitation plan to deal with the gangs doing this now.


Children are safer now, but all that good work is being undermined by the


doubt and question marks coming from the drip, drip feed of the historic


cases. You are saying people coming to you are private or public


figures? Private individuals with all sorts of allegations. What do


you think is behind the fact there isn't an investigation, are you


alleging a cover-up? We don't know, that is the point. When you have


reports going mission, when you have police not acting on victims, very


clearly having come forward. Was there some conspiracy, was it


complacency? Was there a network going on? We don't know. Until we


lay all this bear, every stone should be turned over, we won't know


to give confidence back to the public and we are doing it right


now. Are you saying actually there is a possibility the police are not


acting correctly? They haven't in the past. Why should the public have


trust in the police. What we are seeing now is allegations of child


abuse current and historical are taken seriously. The police are the


right people to investigate not parliament. Fears of a new cycle of


violence in the Middle East grew today with clashes in Jerusalem


between Palestinians and Israeli police, and a surge in violence on


the Israel-Gaza border. The clashes followed the discovery of a body of


a 17-year-old Palestinian boy who some claim was killed in revenge for


the death of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were found


on Monday, three weeks after their disappearance on the West Bank.


First of all, how serious were the clashes today? You know, you might


argue, compared to what was going on in Syria, or Iraq today, that this


was something on all together a lower level. But these clashes have


raised fears for a number of reasons here. In the first place, this area


in east Jerusalem has not seen street fights like this for years.


This is part of the West Bank that was annexed by the Israelis and is


meant to be place where they consider there to be greater order


than the West Bank proper. Also there was an intensity to the


violence which also shocked some people. There was one incident where


man was thrown to the ground and was being terribly beaten by a crowd of


Palestinian youths. The reality police ran in to rescue the man and


to bring him to his feet. This man turned out to be a Palestinian


local, but he was accused of being a collaborator, it is all just part of


a sense that there is here of great fury burning away beneath the


surface of both communities. As you say beneath the surface, what is the


potential for it to escalate, no matter what political leaders are


saying? The interesting thing that has happened to is Prime Minister


Netenyahu has condemned the discovery of the body a despicable


murder. The Palestinians know that Israelis who are found guilty of


murder are often treated differently to Palestinians in the same


situation. Mr Abbas, their President, has therefore called


today for those guilty of this murder to face the strongest


punishment, as he put it. But I think you get the sense from both


sides of a deeper in vowsness about the public mood. On social media, on


both sides of this divide, Israeli and Palestinian there is a lot of


concern. We heard a group of Israeli youths tonight on the way here


chanting anti-Arab slogans. With the peace process going nowhere,


abandoned by both sides, with no direction. Heavily armed settlers


and people in the West Bank responding to one another could gain


a momentum of their own, particularly in Ramadan, and lead to


an upward spiral in this violence. The Labour leadership is going


wooing this week. The object of their aFKSs -- affections is


business in Britain, with whom it has had a tricky relationship, more


off than on. Tomorrow Ed Miliband will announce a whole slew of


reforms including tackling the short-termism holding British


business back. This comes hot on the heels with Shadow char, Ed Balls,


promising a fourth way to replace the third way for business. How


attractive is this offering to business.


Imagine, a world where Ed Miliband is in charge of the Government. Ed


Balls in charge of the economy. What do the people who make do and sell


really hope, what does business think Labour's for? One senior


figure told me the sense of alienation between Labour and


business is profound. They worry the efforts made by Blair and Brown to


build rapport have simply been abandoned. But another figure


suggested the truth is Ed Miliband just doesn't like big business.


There is a clear sense that in business, when you are dealing with


people in politics behind closed doors, they will say one thing to


you, and they will tend to be really supportive of what you are trying to


achieve. Equally when they go out and speak to the public, there is an


expectation that the public want to hear something different and the


politicians will tend to say what they believe the public wants to


hear. Does business trust Labour? Pass! The Labour leader paraded with


one of Britain's most popular businessmen.


It took sweat, tears and an awful lot of prawn cocktail to stitch


together Labour's new business backing. One young Treasury wonk


would grow up to say how few rules they introduced, "light touch", we


know how that turned out. With business well behind in the


popularity stake, Ed Balls talks in a manner inconceivable to his


forebears. The next Labour Government will freeze gas and


electricity prices. We need a reckoning with our banks. Not for


retribution, but for reform. Are you on the side of the wealth creators


or the asset strippers, the producers or the predators. There


are nerves in the City. There is a -- There is a risk they revert back


to anti-business sentiment, the type we have seen in the past. If they do


that, that will give business some level of discomfort. Both sides of


the political divide have been taking pot shots at business, there


needs to be balance in the rhetoric. Industry always has complaints about


the political machine though, many big players prefer Labour's position


on Europe. And small businesses, like the sound of promises, like


those on business rates. And taking on vested interests, backs, or the


big six, not bakery, of course, has political appeal. What is helpful,


but just as awkward as this photo opportunity, Ed Balls is more


welcome in some boardrooms than his boss. One of the country's biggest


investors told me, Balls is good, Ed not really known. Business likes


planning, not being sure what Labour will do next is a real concern.


They need reassuring about what Labour's intentions are, whether


Labour has a positive vision about banking and the role banks can play


in the economy and society, and they need reassurance. There is more than


competition over gags in a speech between these two. But they both


know re-establishing economic credibility has to be done. No-one


would expect Labour and the corporate world to agree on


everything. But there is a sense of vital trust that is missing, and one


source described the real danger as the inability to have a rational


debate. And being too close to business can burn, so Labour must


balance what it believes, what will work for the economy if it wins, and


what it says to get there. Labour Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls


is here. You keep insisting you are pro-business, and yet clearly you


have yet to convince the City? The City? The business world in general?


I think the City needs to change. And we know that our banks node


knead to change, there has been tougher regulation. I think banks


are really important in the economy, they lend to people, they give


people their mortgages, but they know they have got things wrong in


the last decade and it needs to change. We will come on to banks,


let's look at business leaders, the tax policies predatory, Digby Jones,


the view about Labour is if it creates wealth kick it, the Centrica


boss. We have all sorts of different people saying that the policies you


espouse are not policies that are business-friendly? Tomorrow we have


a conference at the science museum, we have hundreds of people coming,


many people from business on the platform. We are talking about the


Jaguar review of industrial policy, which is about innovation and tax,


to Lord Adonis's review to devolve power down to business. Our tax plan


to keep corporation tax rates low as we tackle tax avoidance, and John


Armi it's review which says let's have a long-term commission to get


the structure we need. These are pro-business and pro-wealth creation


policies, and we will discuss them with business and people across the


economy. It will be a good Kay. Let's look at corporation tax, it is


very possible, you already announced on Monday, it is possible you will


raise corporation tax isn't it? I have said we have supported the cuts


in corporation tax from 33p down to 21p. I want to leap the lowest level


of corporation tax in the G7. George Osborne wants another cut in


corporation tax, we wouldn't do that, we would use the money to cut


business rates for 1. 5 million small and medium-sized businesses.


It is a different choice to George Osborne, it is a business and wealth


creation choice, it has to go along with tackling tax avoidance so


companies pay their fair share of tax. If you want to be the least,


the next up is Canada, 26. 3p on corporation tax. So actually you


have got from 21-26 going. You are not ruling out raising corporation


tax if you feel you have to? We have supported cuts down to 21p. We


thought the next cut to 20p was the wrong thing to. Do I also said let's


have a long-term incentive for equity investment and look at


capital gains tax for long-termism. You are not ruling out a raise in


corporation tax if you feel it is the right thing to do. From 21 up to


26p? I won't write a budget today, I want the least level of corporation


tax in the G7, we have supported the cuts down to 21p. I'm not going back


on. That we think 20p is not the priority when we can help small and


medium-sized enterprises. It is not the same of George Osborne but about


fairer competition and small businesses don't feel they are


getting a good deal. Business would like to know this, it could go up,


yes or no? I'm not planning any rise in corporation tax, I want to keep


them at low and commemorative level, I -- good level. We will cut tax for


small and medium-sized companies. Raising it to 26 is not the argument


I'm making. You are not making an argument for not doing it. The


unsoonerity for business leaders, it is not just them, look at Peter


Mandelson? Hang on, in your film you just said we were not pro-business,


I'm saying to you we are pro-business and we want to keep the


corporation tax rate at the lowest in the G7, that is a pro-business


thing to say? It doesn't come across that you are pro-business. Peter


Mandelson said even if Labour doesn't want to harm business, it


isn't sufficiently clear, and it needs to be sorted out and this


year. Are these words ring anything your ears? We have a business


conference tomorrow, we are discussing with business what we can


do to make our economy work in a stronger and fairer way for the


future. The reality is, and business knows this too, the European


elections tell us people's living standards are falling month on


month. David Cameron and George Osborne say the plan is working, it


is not for most people. Do you bury your head in the sand, do you give


into protectionism or make the case for open economics, a pro-business


policy and change and fairness. That is the argument we will make. That


will strike a chord with business, compared to a Conservative Party


which is running scared of the sceptics. If this is the run up to


the election and your last chance to put a case forward. Do you think


Peter Mandelson is right, even if you are pro-business it doesn't


sound TLIEK? That is aed auto-- like that, that is a big ally? Peter


Mandelson is coming to the conference tomorrow. We have the


Chair of Standard Chartered, people from business Lewis, people from


Labour, business people, and from Jaguar, all talking about the


long-term policies we need to make sure we get the investment and the


rising living standards we need for our country. They are not getting


them from David Cameron and George Osborne who are blighting business


prospects by threatening to leave the European Union. That is the most


anti-business thing can you do. Interesting talking about that, the


head of Unite says actually you should be offering an in-out


referendum on Europe at the same time, because if you don't there is


a problem, is he wrong? He doesn't make the policy of the Labour Party.


I disagree with him. That is not the policy at all. There is no question


that an in coming Labour Government would ever offer an in-out


referendum on Europe. You are at odds with Unite? We made a


commitment if there is a proposal of transfer of powers to Brussels we


will have a referendum in those circumstance, we are not proposing a


referendum now. We think to spend two or three years blighting


investment and underlining our economy, on the prospect of a


referendum, which David Cameron says he's going to have after he gets an


unknown package of reforms, it would be bad for jobs and investment. If


Len McClusky is supporting that I don't support him. Talking to


business leaders, this is part of the problem, talking about predatory


capitalism as opposed to producer capitalism. Should you use this type


of language, it stank of old Labour. We had a story last week about Wonga


the loan company, sending false lawyers letters, threatening people,


and then having to admit it is a terrible thing and paying huge


compensation. I would call that pretty predatory behaviour. Pretty


despicable. Is that phrase you came up with? It was a speech by Ed


Miliband at our conference. He said people who try to cartelise, I would


call that pretty predatory. Let's look at a policy you are putting


forward which is to cap the high treat banks, that smacks of


intervention? At the moment the banks are hugely concentrated. There


is a huge concentration in small business and personal account


lending, that is not my review, it was a review that reported three


years a we said we would ask the competition authority to review the


market, when we come in to see how to get more competition into the


high street lending. But you will cap the market share? We asked them


to look at whether there is a place for setting... It leads to status


policies. It happens when you have prop competition. We are asking the


independent authorities, a particular percentage if a bank goes


higher than that, it would trigger a market investigation to see if it is


causing a problem and whether action should be taken. Wouldn't call that


old Labour or anti-business, I think that a pro-market, pro-competition


policy is good for consumers and good for small business, and good


for large businesses too. Did you talk to your old boss Gordon


Brown about this? About this policy idea and capping the market share of


high street banks? I think Gordon Brown was the person who got the


competition authorities to look at competition the beginning of the


last decade, but the action didn't follow. Did you hear from the film


that business leaders rate you but not Ed Miliband, how does it make


you feel? I think Ed Miliband has led the debate that there is a cost


of living crisis. If we want to maintain Britain as an open,


internationalist, wealth-creating economy, we have to show it works in


fair way for all and not just some. For the whole country, every region


but also the families who at the moment don't feel they get a fair


deal. He's right about that. He's saying in his speech tomorrow that


is about working with business to create jobs and to do so fairly. In


the Telegraph there are words supposedly spoken by John Cruddas,


he's saying that Ed Miliband is gamed out every day every week, and


what is your response to that and the fact that he said that? I have


no idea what that means, gamed out? If you want to know who at the


moment who is being gamed out, is a British Prime Minister, David


Cameron, being utterly outmanoeuvred by European partners as he trys to


take help euro-sceptic, he wanted to take us down an anti-wealth creation


and European road. Many business people at our conference tomorrow


will be keen to talk to Labour. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri


Al-Maliki, has offered an amnesty to militants willing to return to their


census and abandon ISIS, threatening to tear the country apart. The


rebels hold a vast amount of territory, fighter jets thought to


be Iranian landed in Baghdad as the Iraqi military struggles to fight


back. What about the idea of an amnesty that President Nouri


Al-Maliki announced, what is the response to that? He's clearly


trying to drive a wedge into this Sunni alliance in vast swathe of


territory they have captured in a month, it is not just ISIS, they


have had support from Sunni tribal elders and their followers, and also


ex-ba'athist officers. What Nouri Al-Maliki is trying to do is peel


off the latter two to weaken ISIS. We know there have been clashes and


confrontations between these two sides in recent days. We know that


some were unhappy with ISIS's declaration of a Muslim Kalaphate.


We know they have been telling local Iraqis to put down their weapons,


that ISIS are the only people allowed to bear arms. We know they


are not happy about that. But my colleagues up in the semiautonomous


Kurdish region in the north, where some of these representatives are,


has been speaking to a spokesperson for them. At the moment they are


still trying to piece together a common goal which they say is the


overthrow of the Iraqi Government of Nouri Al-Maliki.


We have heard from William Hague and John Kerry that they see a political


solution to the crisi. At the moment we have got political stalemate,


Nouri Al-Maliki is trying to form a Government, yesterday they convened


and it broke up in less than two hours and we are no further.


Meanwhile the fighting is going on, and there is a growing realisation


that you may be able to talk to the Sunni tribes and the ba'athist, but


you can't talk toment ISIS, and -- talk toies circumstance but when you


come to them it has to be a military solution.


What about the warplanes that came to Baghdad? We saw them flying over


here three of them. The experts say they are Russian aircraft that may


have originally been Iraqi before the first Gulf War but ended up in


Iran, they are coming back. That raises the question, who is flying


them, are they piloted by Iranians or not. It raises the prospect of


two lots of aircraft flying over Iraq, American and Iranians, both on


the same side defending the same Government against ISIS. Something


that would have been unthinkable a short time ago. Clearly the Iraqi


military is struggling and on the ground that struggling is


manifesting itself in the proliferation of Shi'ite militia


groups. They have been forming here in Baghdad. I have been spending


time talking to them over the past few days.


Ramadan has started, it is a time of prayer, a time of fasting. But


behind the quiet facade, a mobilisation is taking place. On the


streets, the sense of calm is deceptive. Over the past few days we


have been invited to meetings at houses on residential back streets.


There is some kind of gathering of the clans here going on. Inside


local tribal chiefs have gathered for a summit with a Shia militia


group. They are one of several sending fighters up to the


frontlines to bolster the Iraqi security forces battling ISIS. This


commander says they are thirsty to fight, and said until recently they


were in Syria defending a shrine. But they returned to Iraq in


response to a call to arms by the Ayatolla, the country's most senior


Cher Rick. TRANSLATION: We are a professional and pious group. ISIS


are terrorists, Wahabists from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Some


people in certain areas in Baghdad have said they are very worried


about the reassurance of militia on the street. What do you say to those


who fear another sectarian war? TRANSLATION: The unanies and Shia


are brothers, we are the same both and share the same responsibility.


We asked the USA and Britain, all the great powers to help Iraq fight


terrorism. These people are extremists trying to wipe out


civilisation. On the eve of Ramadan the fighters gather for a final


midday meal. Some of the militia men are clerics, this commander in the


white turban is an Iman. Despite the talk of brotherhood, there is no


mistaking the sectarian overtones of the conflict.


There is a whole proliferation of the Shi'ite militias in Baghdad,


this lot allied with the Government and working together with the Iraqi


security forces, others are completely independent oar


completely funded by the Iranians. ISIS control is to the north and


west of here, but there are very realistic fears there could be


infiltrators here in Baghdad. The militias are deployed at checkpoints


throughout the city. In another quiet district we meet the spokesman


for Hezbollah, they say they are not related to the Lebanese group of the


same name, but they are thought to have close ties to Iran.


TRANSLATION: Everyone wants to know if we are supported or not by Iran.


Well Arabic countries, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and America, they are


supporting terrorism in Iraq with weapons and money. Er Obama has


asked for money to support the Syrian opposition. We are asking all


countries to support us politically and militarily. Iran is part of


that. Iran has proven it doesn't abandon its allies. Look at Syria.


He says his group doesn't receive direct funding or weapons from Iran.


But they are not hiding their affiliation. On the hall portraits


of the leaders. TRANSLATION: No different from having a poster of


Nelson Mandela or Che Gurvara, he tells me. In other cities militia


groups are deployed to project mosque STLIENs. It was the bombing


of a holy site that ignited a sectarian Civil War, mortars arrived


there last night, another large scale attack could have catastrophic


consequences. . As the sun loses some of its scourging intensity, the


tribal chiefs gather in the relative school of the evening. They talk


about a coming together of all Iraqis, Sunni, Shia and Kurd. But


the Sheikhs are here to pledge support for a militia. The Iman


turned fighter talks about victory in battle, of enemies killed and


captured. Iraq is being sucked into a wider regional and sectarian war.


They sing that they are vengeful people and they demand revenge.


Burials at sea are part of the sea faring tradition and folklore, they


have become much less common but open to everyone. In the UK there


are about ten a year, most taking place off the Isle of Wight. But the


coroner there have raised concerns that bodies and body parts, often


washed up on the island, might be from the burial ceremonies.


Investigations into the identities of the deceased are costing


thousands of pounds. And there is thoughts of DNA records for those


buried at sea. Every now and then a beach-goer on


the Isle of Wight gets a little more than they bargained for. Over the


years numerous bodies and body parts have washed up on the shores of the


island. Puzzling many, including the coroner here. This is the on-line


editor at the Isle of Wight County Press, he has reported on many of


the discoveries. We have examples from the last ten years, but


stemming back further than that. Going back decades where coroners


have to deal with it. This case from 2005 is the biggest of this kind. It


was found by a beach comber and discovers a body entirely naked


except for its socks. Leaving police and investigators mystified as to


where the body had come from, and the circumstances that had led to it


being discovered in the beach. In this case, just like many others,


the coroner speculated that the body had come from a burial at sea. But


could that really happen? Just south of the needles is where


almost all of the UK burials take place. Newsnight has been given


exclusive access to one such burial. This is John Lister and he has


conducted 60 terms here. When the deceased comes into our cautious we


normally try to get out to sea at the first available opportunity.


There is an area 2. 5 miles south of the Needles that is dreamed as being


the most suitable part on the south coast for a burial at sea. It is


unaffected by tides, fishing, tredging and trawling. As we reached


the area, we often played music there. Often it is the case we will


play Elgar's Nimrod. We are overlooked by the monument to tennis


son -- Tennison, we will read his Crossing the Bar. But "But such a


tide as moving seems asleep, too full for sound and foam, when that


which drew from out the boundless keep, turns again home." Then there


is the committal itself. Which is over in the blink of an eye. Then


the mourners might like to put some flowers on the surface of the water.


The vessel then, or the both will do a 360 did he greet circuit around


the point of committal and the flowers. And then we will propose a


toast. John is passionate about burials at sea and insists that the


processes in place means it is impossible for bodies to break free


once they are committed. Within the coffin is a mesh cage, that is then


attached to concrete, the concrete weights. There are go-inch holes in


the Mesh to allow a certain amount of marine life in. That is why it is


feasible that any large body part would escape from a burial at se If


it is done properly. Yes. But the assurances haven't convinced the


coroner here who has linked some of the bodies washed up to burials at


sea. Despite the lack of evidence in several cases. In this case the


corpse was so decomposed, some thought it was the body of Lord


Lucan. The evidence is weak, you could be looking for a sea burial or


a murder where a body has been disposed of at sea. Tossed


overboard. And is just left to the tides. The problem is it is very


difficult to identify a heavily decomposed body. If you don't know


who it was how do you know where they came from, and how do you know


if they were butteried at sea -- buried at sea. I have asked the


coroner for an interview, they have refused to talk to me. I have


requested files on relevant cases but once again the answer was no. It


takes it very difficult to know what is really going on here. It is


because of the uncertainty around what exactly is being found on the


coast of the Isle of Wight, that the Home Office is considering bringing


in mand drew DNA tests for anyone being buried at sea.


The hope is that if introduced it will end the controversy and


speculation. I welcome it, it can only be good. If some funeral


directors do cut corners and if there is any truth in what you say


then you know DNA testing will make them pull their socks up. It now


looks likely that a decision will be made in the autumn. And if DNA tests


are given the go-ahead, perhaps we will finally get an answer to what


is turning up on the island's shores.


Now the front pages: ??FORCEDWHIT That's just about all


tonight, when it comes to apologies, we don't expect a great deal from


politicians, the minute mum minute yum amount of minutes.


But in Japan, this man has become an internet hit for taking excuses to a


whole new level as he tried to explain away his use of public funds


in seconds not hours, Westminster take note!


# Have mercy # Have mercy baby


# Have mercy # Have mercy


The best of the sunshine for Thursday certainly the further south


and east you go. A band of cloud and the odd spot or two of rain sits


across northern England and


With Kirsty Wark. What happened to a 1980s Home Office dossier on alleged child sex abuse? Plus, violence in Jerusalem, an interview with Ed Balls on Labour's relationship with business, the latest developments from Iraq and the mystery of the bodies being washed up on the Isle of Wight.

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