British Prime Minister David Cameron fears a ‘witch hunt’ against gays over child abuse claims.
The Conservative Party leader was confronted over rumors of a Number 10 pedophile ring while appearing on daytime TV show This Morning today (7 November).
After presenter Phillip Schofield handed him a list of suspected child abusers circulating online, he claimed Cameron knew them and pushed him to comment on what action he intended to take.
However, the PM did not look at the names and urged people to take any information on the issue to the police.
He warned: ‘There is a danger, if we’re not careful, that this could turn into a sort of witch-hunt, particularly against people who are gay and I’m worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now – giving me a list of names that you’ve taken off the internet.’
The issue was raised by Labour MP Tom Watson in the House of Commons a fortnight ago and follows a string of official inquiries into child abuse allegations since revelations about the activities of BBC television star Jimmy Savile.
There have also since been claims by a victim that an unnamed prominent Tory politician from the Thatcher era was involved in abuse in north Wales.
Gay rights veteran Peter Tatchell, however, slammed Cameron’s comments for linking homosexuality with pedophilia.
He said: ‘It is regrettable that David Cameron has inadvertently reinforced the prejudice that associates gay people with child sex abuse. I am sure this was not his intention.
‘There is no reason why he should link the current scandals with gay people or warn of an anti-gay witch-hunt. The current investigations concern pedophilia, not homosexuality.
‘Most child abuse allegations involve heterosexual men and young girls. Homosexuality and pedophilia are two very different sexual attractions. Gay people are not paedophiles.’
UK-based equality group Stonewall also warns against online gossip into child abusers’ identity.
Ruth Hunt, director of public affairs, said: ‘Speculation about the identity of those involved in child abuse which erroneously conflates sexual orientation with pedophilia does nothing to support the victims of abuse and is unequivocally harmful to gay people.
‘What is crucial is that victims feel able to come forward, the police are able to investigate all suspects and that those who are responsible are brought to justice.’