UK pedophile scandal risks becoming gay witch-hunt: David Cameron

Thu Nov 8, 2012 2:08pm EST
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By Guy Faulconbridge and Matt Falloon

LONDON (Reuters) - Speculation about the identity of a senior Conservative party member accused of child sex abuse could descend into a "witch-hunt" of homosexuals, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday.

Cameron ordered an investigation this week after a child abuse victim said a prominent member of the prime minister's party had abused him during the 1970s, prompting Internet speculation over who the politician might be.

The claims, which follow the unmasking of late BBC star presenter Jimmy Savile as one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders, have stoked concern that a powerful pedophile ring may have operated in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s.

"I have heard all sorts of names bandied around and what then tends to happen is of course that everyone then sits around and speculates about people, some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead," Cameron said during an ITV television interview.

"It is very important that anyone who has got any information about any pedophile no matter how high up in the country go to the police," he said.

Britain's interior minister warned lawmakers this week that if they named suspected child abusers in parliament they risked jeopardizing future trials.

MPs benefit from "parliamentary privilege" - meaning they can speak inside parliament freely without fear of legal action on sensitive issues that might otherwise attract lawsuits.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron visits WI Hall with with local MP Alistair Burt and Conservative Party PCC candidate Jas Parmar in Arlesey, Bedfordshire November 2, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Rogers/POOL