Their involvement with an organisation to which two groups campaigning for the legalisation of paedophilia were affiliated has come back to challenge three leading Labour Party figures.
Before she became an MP, Harriet Harman was the legal officer in the late 1970s for the National Council for Civil Liberties. When Miss Harman joined NCCL in 1978, PIE, the Paedophile Information Exchange, had already been affiliated for three years. Another group, Paedophile Action for Liberation, a Gay Liberation Front offshoot, had also been affiliated to NCCL until it was absorbed by PIE. PIE, which campaigned for adults to have sex legally with children, only broke off its relationship with NCCL when it went undercover in 1982, the same year that Harriet Harman left her NCCL post to become Member of Parliament for Peckham.
NCCL people were earlier involved in keeping the name of an NCCL council-member, Jonathan Walters, out of the People newspaper when it ran an exposé of Paedophile Action for Liberation, of which he was secretary, in 1975. The People still ran the story, but Walters was not named.
Even more extraordinary is the fact that a current Cabinet Minister was running the National Council of Civil Liberties at the time all this was going on.
The Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Health, became General Secretary of NCCL in 1974. The very next year, 1975, NCCL invited the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation to affiliate. In the year after, 1976, the now-notorious paedophile Tom O'Carroll was invited to address the NCCL conference, which promptly voted to 'deplore' the use of chemical castration treatments for paedophiles.
Also in 1975, Patricia Hewitt joined the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, as a 'straight', in the same year that Keith Hose of the Paedophile Information Exchange addressed its second annual conference. Hose moved a motion of censure on the conference organising committee for 'relegating paedophilia to ancillary status in conference.' The motion was seconded by Trevor Locke, who just happened to be a member of the Executive Council of the NCCL. 'An awareness and acceptance of the sexuality of children is an essential part of the liberation of the young homosexual,' the motion went on. It was duly passed.
Jack Dromey, whom Harriet Harman married in 1982, and who is now Treasurer of the Labour Party, was also involved with the NCCL. He served on its Executive Committee from 1970 to 1979, so he was there when the decision to invite the two paedophile groups to affiliate was made. NCCL also set up a gay rights sub-committee at the same time, members of which included prominent paedophiles Peter Bremner (alias Roger Nash), Michael Burbidge, Keith Hose and Tom O'Carroll. And of course Walters and Locke were on the Executive.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, commented: 'It is timely that the ghosts of the 1970's past should come back to haunt these three leading Labour Party politicians. Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt were in their mid- or late-twenties at the time, but that cannot really excuse the way NCCL came to regard paedophiles as an oppressed minority whose civil liberties needed to be fought for.
'All three of them really need to explain why they were so friendly toward so many out campaigning homosexual paedophiles in their youth. Why did they allow the NCCL gay rights sub-committee to be stuffed with them? Why were they happy to work with paedophilia supporters on the NCCL Executive? It cannot have been sympathy with child-molestation, so was it a complete lack of judgment or was it moral cowardice?
'NCCL has now been rebranded as 'Liberty' and is doing great work standing up to the Government to defend the civil liberties of us all. But thirty years ago some rather peculiar things went on, and I think we should be told why.'