Abuse allegations against former Wolverhampton MP Enoch Powell 'absurd'

The former MP who gave the address at Enoch Powell's funeral has dismissed as 'absurd' allegations he was involved in 'satanic' sexual abuse.

Former Wolverhampton MP Enoch Powell
Former Wolverhampton MP Enoch Powell

Lord Cormack also criticised the Church of England for confirming in a public statement that it had passed the former MP for Wolverhampton South West's name to the police.

Former South Staffordshire MP Lord Cormack was a friend of Powell's and spoke at his funeral in 1998.

He said: "These allegations are worryingly absurd.

"Anybody who knew Enoch Powell knew there could be no more ridiculous an assertion.

"I find it extremely distressing that these claims are being given such currency.

"They are hurtful about a distinguished person who has been dead for many years and can no longer defend himself."

Lord Cormack said he was disappointed in the Church of England.

"I am utterly appalled that the Church of England should see fit to publicise the fact that it has passed Enoch Powell's name to police.

"If they felt it was a matter that they should pass on to the authorities that is entirely fair enough. But to reveal it publicly and do such damage to his reputation is very un-Christian."

The name of the late Conservative, who made the so-called Rivers of Blood speech about immigration in 1968, was provided to Scotland Yard after a clergyman came forward with claims from the 1980s relating to 'ritual satanic abuse'.

The claims were passed to police by the Right Reverend Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, more than a year ago but have only now been made public.

The Rt Rev Butler, who is the lead on safeguarding for the Church of England, contacted police after details of the allegations were passed to him by a fellow clergyman, Dominic Walker, former Bishop of Monmouth.

It is thought the Rt Rev Walker first heard the claims when he was counselling young adults as a curate in the 1980s.

The claim was originally submitted to Operation Fernbridge, investigating abuse related to the Elm Guest House in London which was allegedly used by powerful figures during the 1970s and 1980s for organised sexual abuse. Fernbridge has now closed but allegations submitted to it remain the subject of other ongoing investigations.

In a statement, the Church of England said: "The name of Enoch Powell was passed to Operation Fernbridge by one of our safeguarding team on the instruction of Bishop Paul Butler."

It is understood the allegations against Mr Powell, who died in 1998, came from a single individual. Under safeguarding rules, the Church of England now automatically passes allegations of abuse to the police.

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