Labour peer Lord Boateng said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting paedophile Michael John Carroll or visiting the London children’s home he ran.
Speaking at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Paul Boateng also denied ever supporting the convicted sex offender’s application to foster children.
The former cabinet minister gave evidence to the inquiry on Thursday following a former Lambeth Council employee’s claim that they saw him at the Angell Road children’s home, which was run by Carroll.
Lord Boateng, whose wife was the former chairwoman of Lambeth’s social services committee, said while he “might have visited” the home in his past role as a solicitor, he had no memory of it.
The inquiry aims to establish whether there were failures by public authorities around the protection of children in homes operated by the south London council.
Lord Boateng, who served as Labour’s chief secretary to the Treasury between 2002 and 2005, said he visited various children’s homes as a solicitor in the 1980s to meet with clients.
Asked about Angell Road specifically, he said: “I have no recollection of ever having visited Angell Road Children’s Home.
“I might have done if I had a client who was at that home and the client hadn’t come to see me, if there was a witness at that home who had not come to give a statement on behalf of my client, I might well have gone to them to see them there, as indeed I went to other children’s homes.”
Lord Boateng said he also met many social workers through his legal role, but had “no recollection of meeting a man named Michael Carroll or Michael John Carroll.”
The inquiry previously heard that the witness who claimed to have seen him at Angell Road was no longer alive.
Meanwhile, Southwark Council’s former social services director Clive Walsh told an earlier hearing he had received a call from someone claiming to be “Paul Boateng” in regard to Carroll’s application to foster two children.
Mr Walsh, who held his role between 1978 and 1985, said the caller had asked whether he could be “of assistance in resolving this troublesome matter”.
Asked about this, Lord Boateng told the inquiry: “It certainly wasn’t me.
“I didn’t know Michael John Carroll.
“I had no idea that he was seeking to foster children.
“I was in no position to phone or get involved in any way or anything to do with this man.”
He said he first became aware of Carroll in the late 1990s when he was mentioned in the press.
Carroll was jailed for 10 years at Liverpool Crown Court in 1999 after admitting a string of sexual assaults against children while working in residential care between 1966 and 1986.
He ran the Angell Road children’s home, which opened in 1981, for 10 years despite having a conviction for child abuse, the inquiry heard.
However he was only dismissed by Lambeth Council in 1991 because of “financial irregularities”.
Earlier in the inquiry a witness claimed that Lady Boateng had attended a meeting with Southwark Council concerning Carroll’s foster application.
But she said the claim was “absurd”, telling the panel: “I have never been a part of any meeting which discussed Michael Carroll, or his wife, or any other application for fostering and adoption from any member of staff at Lambeth.”
The inquiry heard that children as young as three experienced abuse in Lambeth Council’s care system between the 1930s and the 1980s.