Exclusive: Tory MPs at loggerheads over Stoke Mandeville Hospital inquiry into Savile sex abuse

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Aylesbury MP David Lidington has hit back at a Conservative colleague who said Stoke Mandeville Hospital should immediately hold a full inquiry into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.

Reading MP Rob Wilson said Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust ‘should not drag its feet and act quickly’.

But Mr Lidington said: “I disagree. As far as I can tell the trust is progressing in the proper way. It’s only the police who have the investigative experience to try to get the truth. I think they have been right to cooperate with the police.

“I have seen no evidence in the trust of an interest in a cover up. It’s not easy to investigate things that took place 30 years ago or more.

“Most organisations don’t keep records for that length of time. I suspect a lot of people in senior positions in the trust in the 70s and 80s might have moved on or died.”

The BBC has already said it will be holding its own inquiry and possibly issuing a prime-time television apology to the late DJ’s alleged victims.

The Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust said it has been contacted by the Metropolitan police and is supporting them with their inquiries.

It added: “At this stage in the proceedings it would not be appropriate for us to conduct our own internal investigation.

“If their findings suggest that we do need to take further action then we will do so.

“We have advised our staff that if they have any concerns or wish to raise anything relating to the allegations then they should contact their local police force.”

However, Mr Wilson has written a letter to Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust boss Anne Eden asking for it to hold an immediate inquiry.

He told the Herald: “It seems strange that if these complaints were being made nobody took them up or recorded them. We are talking about someone roaming around the hospital molesting under age girls.

“That’s apparently well known around the hospital.”

But Mr Lidington said: “I have no reason to disbelieve the trust when they say they have been shocked by the allegations that have been made.

“If complaints had been made earlier and they were ignored that would be very different.”

He said he did not think the allegations would tarnish the reputation of Stoke Mandeville Hospital and it was important to remember responsibility for the abuse lies with the perpetrator.

The Aylesbury MP added if the allegations are proven then renaming Jimmy’s cafe at the hospital and the Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust should be done swiftly.

Mr Wilson’s full letter to Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust boss, Anne Eden

Dear Ms Eden,

Re: Allegations concerning the late Sir Jimmy Savile OBE KCSG

I am writing in relation to Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s decision not to hold an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of former patients of Stoke Mandeville hospital made against the late Sir Jimmy Savile.

It appears that Savile, who was provided by staff with a room to stay in at Stoke Mandeville, was given liberty to roam and loiter in wards at the hospital. There are now numerous allegations that Savile sexually assaulted young patients at the hospital and at associated fundraising events. Perhaps more shockingly, there are allegations that management and nurses at the hospital were aware of allegations about Savile’s behaviour and that little meaningful action was taken to protect the extremely vulnerable children and young people at the hospital from such horrific behaviour. Indeed, one former patient today told the BBC that staff advised young patients how to avoid being chosen to go to Savile’s “little room”.

These shocking allegations threaten the reputation of Stoke Mandeville hospital. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust stated on Monday that it is “unaware of any record or reports of inappropriate behaviour of this nature during Sir Jimmy Savile’s work with the Trust”, but would “cooperate fully if the appropriate authorities decide to investigate and call upon us for input.” This is not adequate. It is essential for the restoration of public confidence that the Trust takes a pro-active approach to these allegations of knowledge and potential complicity by Stoke Mandeville staff in Savile’s behaviour. If the Trust itself was unaware of the allegations of Savile’s behaviour but management and staff at Stoke Mandeville apparently were, you must establish who knew what and when, and why the Trust itself did not become aware of these deeply serious allegations.

I look forward to hearing from you. I am copying this letter to the Rt Hon David Liddington [sic] MP, Member of Parliament for Aylesbury.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Wilson MP

Member of Parliament for Reading East