Was Commons Speaker in a sex abuse ring with Janner? Famous for his call of ‘Order, Order’, George Thomas was one of our best-loved MPs. Now he’s accused of vile attacks on boys as young as nine
- George Thomas was teetotal and defended conservative Christian values
- Given peerage and became the first Viscount of Tonypandy when he retired
- New allegation emerged last month that Thomas abused a boy on a train
- Comes as photo emerged showing him and Lord Janner with schoolboys
Ten minutes after 10am, amid clouds of steam and smoke and a cacophony of thrusting pistons, the Cambrian Coast Express began to pull out of Paddington Station.
Over the next five and a half hours and 235 miles it would rattle through some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain — the Chilterns and Shakespeare Country, on to historic Shrewsbury, then west through the remoteness of Mid Wales to the seaside town of Aberystwyth. It wasn’t hard to sell the charms of the long-established daily service.
This, though, was 1959 and the age of steam was almost over, as were another legacy of Victorian times — those strict Christian values held so dear by the train’s most notable passenger that morning.
Friends: Lord Greville Janner (left) ,when he was an MP, and George Thomas, Speaker of the House, middle, with a party of schoolboys at the House of Commons in 1976
In an era increasingly defined by rock’n’roll and the Sputnik satellite, George Thomas, the 50-year-old bachelor Labour MP for Cardiff West, was something of a throwback.
A Methodist lay preacher, he had risen from a childhood of abject poverty in the Welsh Valleys to a seat in Parliament.
There, he would counsel the wider world to live life according to his beloved Scripture. ‘I was nurtured in a nonconformist home and we regard gambling as a sin,’ he told the House of Commons that same year, warning that the proposed licensing of betting shops was indicative of a wider national malaise.
‘People have been abandoning the restraints and disciplines of the Christian religion,’ Thomas complained, in an attack on moral backsliding that was the theme of many of the teetotal non-smoker’s parliamentary interventions in the early days of his political career.
‘The hydrogen bomb is an evil thing, an offence against God,’ he informed fellow MPs in 1957.
In another debate he said that observance of the Sabbath was ‘one of the remaining bulwarks of democracy’. He had even argued that the funfair at the 1951 Festival of Britain should be closed on Sundays. It would set a terrible precedent; similar entertainments for profit would open on the Sabbath in every village in the land.
Similarly, Thomas fought with a heartfelt passion against the Sunday opening of pubs in Wales. It would reduce chapel-going, he said.
The causes that Thomas championed might have seemed arcane even then, but he argued for them with such charm, sincerity and self-deprecation that he won firm friends and admirers on both sides of the chamber.
Unfit: British politician Grevill Janner, 86, at western park school in Leicester on November 1985. An elderly Labour peer will not face historic child abuse allegations after the CPS deemed him unfit to stand trial
While he never attained high government office, Thomas would eventually acquire lasting celebrity as the most popular Speaker the House of Commons has ever known. His lilting shout of ‘Order, order’ made his voice one of the most famous on radio.
Along the way he even established a close friendship with the Queen Mother and the Prince and Princess of Wales, at whose 1981 wedding he read a lesson.
‘Order’: Lord Tonypandy, George Thomas, at home in Cardiff. The 1st Viscount Tonypandy was elected Speaker of the House in 1976
On his retirement two years later, the working-class socialist was elevated to the hereditary peerage as the 1st Viscount Tonypandy.
After his death he was honoured with a memorial service at Westminster Abbey, attended by Prince Charles — a remarkable journey for a poor boy from the Rhondda.
But throughout Thomas’s adult life, it seems he harboured a dark personal secret; one which he took to his grave. Quite how dark remains the subject of police investigations today, 18 years after his passing was marked by universally reverential obituaries.
Last month, it emerged that a man had come forward to tell police he had been sexually assaulted on that Aberystwyth train in 1959.
The fellow passenger who had abused him, he said, was none other than George Thomas MP, the future Viscount Tonypandy. The alleged victim was 22 years old at the time.
That allegation came less than a year after it was claimed that Thomas had raped a nine-year-old son of Welsh Labour activists. The first alleged abuse of the boy took place in the late Sixties — a time when Thomas was being described in print as ‘the best-loved man in the House of Commons’.
Today we can reveal that a new allegation of sexual assault on a train has been made against the late peer. It is said to have been committed in the mid-Sixties against a teenage boy in South Wales.
So what is the truth about one of the most admired political figures of the late 20th century?
Royal connections: Lord Janner of Braunstone, president of The Commonwealth Jewish Council lloks on at a reception to mark the 21st anniversary of the Commonwealth Jewish Council
This week the Mail published a photograph from 1976 which shows Speaker Thomas in the company of his fellow Labour MP Greville Janner. The men are welcoming a party of schoolboys to tour the House of Commons.
Cardiff-born Janner, the member for Leicester West, was also later ennobled. Now 86, he is the focus of intense controversy over the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute him for alleged paedophile offences committed as long ago as the Sixties.
The DPP, Alison Saunders, said that while there was sufficient evidence, Janner is too unwell with advanced dementia to face trial on 22 counts of child sex abuse. Janner has always denied the allegations.
While a solicitor representing a group of Janner’s alleged victims said this week they will pursue individual civil actions against the former politician, police in Scotland — where there is a separate legal system — have indicated they are preparing a file on the peer in relation to an alleged offence in that country, raising the possibility that he could still face a criminal prosecution.
Was the Janner-Thomas picture just a coincidence, or an indication that rumours of their shared predatory interest in schoolboys and young men had some substance? There have been persistent claims of the existence of a VIP paedophile ring operating in Westminster at this time. Were the two MPs involved?
Both men are being investigated by officers working for Operation Hydrant, the wide-ranging inquiry into claims of historic child sex abuse, which has so far identified more than 1,400 alleged perpetrators, including 76 politicians.
Undeniably, Thomas’s public image was very different from the reality of the private man.
He was the fourth of five children born to a drunkard, absentee coalminer father and a heroic mother, Emma, whose father had founded the local Methodist chapel. Alone, she strove to give clever young George every advantage in life.
While his siblings left school at 13, he won a scholarship to grammar school in Tonypandy, then spent two years on a teacher training course at Southampton University.
Stallwart: Lord Tonypandy, MP on his 80th birthday in 1989 with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Celebrity: George Thomas handed out the ‘Critic of the Year’ award to Fay Maschler
After graduating he worked in schools in London and Cardiff before winning his seat at Westminster in the 1945 General Election.
His mother remained the most important person in his life until her death, aged 91, in 1972. She accompanied him to political meetings in Wales and, if challenged on a point by anyone in the audience, he would reply: ‘If you don’t believe me, ask Mam.’
He got his proselytising faith from his mother and would preach ‘hypnotically’ most Sundays, wherever he was. In 1960 he became Vice President of the Methodist Conference, the highest lay position in the church.
On his death in 1997, his bachelorhood was explained away by his devotion to ‘Mam’. There had been two engagements but, as one report after his death observed, while ‘there was no shortage of willing partners… he could never bring himself to take the plunge’.
It was not until 2001 that the truth finally came out: George Thomas had been gay, with an active sex life and a deep-rooted fear of exposure.
He was posthumously ‘outed’ by his friend and fellow Welsh Labour MP Leo Abse, who had sponsored the 1967 Bill to repeal the law against homosexual relations between two consenting adults. The revelation was made in passing in a book Abse had written about Tony Blair.
Abse wrote of Thomas that he had tried to control his sexual ‘inclinations’ but that sometimes ‘lapses’ did occur: ‘Then he suffered his agony.’
That agony arose both from the fact that Thomas was, until 1967, committing a criminal act, and from his acute awareness of the Bible’s uncompromising view of sexual relations between men.
It was St Paul who wrote: ‘Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolator, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion… will possess the kingdom of God.’
What would Mam have said, if her devoted son had been exposed?
Abse claimed that Thomas’s secret gay life had seen him fall victim to blackmail by sexual partners. Once, Abse had warned off a young Cardiff criminal who demanded payment. On another occasion, he wrote: ‘While still a backbench MP, he [Thomas] asked me for a loan. George never had any money.
‘The specificity and size of the loan, £800, however, aroused my suspicions. Pressed, he poured out at least part of the story.
‘I urged him to let me deal with this extortioner. But to no avail. That sum — the ticket and resettlement money which was to take the man to Australia — would, George insisted, mark the end of the affair. I had profound misgivings, but I could see George was near breaking point. I gave him the money.’
On yet another occasion Abse learnt that his friend ‘was visiting a grubby cinema in Westminster where, under cover of the darkness, groping prevailed unchecked.
‘I warned him against his lack of discretion. Alarmed that I had been able to know about his haunt, he thereafter kept well away from that pathetic Sodom.’
Retired: George Thomas stepped down as Speaker of the House and then retired from Parliament in 1983
Abse claimed he had also seen Speaker Thomas ‘grey-faced and trembling’ after being asked by investigative journalists about his role in saving Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe from being prosecuted for a homosexual offence with a minor.
The intervention had taken place 16 years earlier, in 1964, when Thomas was at the Home Office.
Abse was lambasted for his betrayal of a dead friend’s secret. But, anticipating this reaction, he had written: ‘I believe it is proper that George’s homosexuality should be recorded. The gifts he gave to the nation fundamentally arose because of, not despite, his sexual orientation.’
Accused: It’s alleged that George Thomas may have been involved in the sex scandal now surrounding veteran politician Lord Janner
Today homosexuality is not a stigma. The Commons has many openly gay MPs. But in the past 12 months there have been fresh allegations which, if substantiated, would ruin Thomas’s reputation for ever.
Thomas became chairman of the National Children’s Home charity in 1983. He led NCH’s ‘Children in Danger’ campaign ‘to counter the effects of a continuing high level of physical and sexual abuse’. He joined a BBC radio crew looking for ‘waifs’ on the streets of Soho.
In April 2013, a 54-year-old man told South Wales Police he had been raped by Thomas when he was nine years old. The assault is said to have taken place at an address in Cardiff.
Last year the man gave a short interview in which he said: ‘He [Thomas] spent a lot of time at my house as my parents were good friends with him. Things started small but then got a lot worse. It has been with me all my life.’
The alleged victim’s foster parents were Labour supporters. He added: ‘We went on many campaigns for Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and George Thomas.’
The man now lives in Australia, though there is no suggestion he has any connection with the ‘blackmail’ alleged by Abse.
In a further twist, Abse, who died in 2008, is now also being investigated by the detectives probing the existence of a Westminster VIP paedophile ring.
His name had been passed to police by the Church of England, which had conducted its own review into historic sexual abuse. Three alleged adult survivors had named the Welsh MP as an abuser.
Last night, a British Transport Police spokesman said: ‘BTP was made aware of an allegation of inappropriate touching involving the late George Thomas on board a train from London Paddington to Aberystwyth in 1959.
‘I can confirm that a second report has been received, from Gwent Police, involving allegations of a sexual assault during a train journey from Newport to London Paddington between 1964 and 1966.
‘The complainant, who was aged 16 or 17 at the time, did not wish to make a formal statement to police. The information has since been passed to the Operation Hydrant investigating team.
‘Investigations into these allegations, and other historic sexual offences, remain ongoing.’
“I have a very reliable victim, who is a witness, on the Island of Jersey, who told me, in detail, how the Queen Mother used to play about with her” (Bill Maloney).
“I have accused the Queen Mother of messing about with children on Jersey, because I have witnesses, a lady who is very high up in the equestrian field has told me, she is about 70 now, and she said to me, Billy the Queen Mother used to bounce me up and down on her knee when she came over here, if you know what I mean Bill” (Bill Maloney).
London, England, 12th November 1970, The Queen Mother chats with sadist nepiophile necrophiliac Jimmy Saville at a St James’ Palace reception
The Queen Mother chats with sadist paedophile Cyril Smith
Cyril smith was friends with Satanic paedophile Michael Horgan who has also used the name Shaun O’Donnell, became known as the High Priest of Satan
Reported sadistic paedophile child killer Edward Heath eating a picnic lunch with reported sadistic paedophile child murderer Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands during the annual conference of the Institute of Directors at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 8th November 1973
Queen mothers paedophile cousin Sir Anthony Blunt was a reported paedophile child murderer, here he is with Queen Elizabeth, he liked to gang rape children to death in the mouth while taking it in the bum, until they suffocated from his penis, at the point of death he would ejaculate inside the childs throat
Queen Mother friends with homosexual paedophiles Peter Pears & Benjamin Britten
Daily Mail 2004 Queen Elizabeths former choir master Jonathan Rees-Williams is a paedophile
Windsor Castle steward Ross Thomas is a convicted paedophile
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