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MP backed by Miliband in paedophile group row.

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com

ED Miliband has given his backing to Birmingham MP Jack Dromey and his wife, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, after they came under fire over work for a civil liberties organisation in the 1970s.

The Daily Mail has run a series of stories highlighting the relationship between the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a body which campaigned for the "rights" or paedophiles.

PIE was affiliated to NCCL, the campaigning organisation now known as Liberty, from 1975 to 1983.

Mr Dromey was a member of the NCCL executive committee from 1970 to 1979, while Ms Harman was the NCCL's legal officer from 1978 to 1982.

The Daily Mail has demanded that they apologise - and explain why they didn't call for the NCCL to disown PIE or, if they could not convince the organisation to do that, why they didn't resign.

But speaking to the Birmingham Post, Mr Dromey insisted he was proud of his support for the NCCL - and that he led the fight to stop paedophiles having any influence in it.

He said: "I took them on and defeated them. They published a leaflet denouncing me."

He led opposition to attempts by PIE to convince the NCCL to support the "rights" of paedophiles, he said - culminating in a vote at the NCCL annual meeting in 1976, which he chaired and which rejected PIE's proposals. He added: "So the idea that we should allow these sinister men, and they were sinister, to infiltrate the NCCL and then we should walk away - that was not appropriate.

I stayed and took them on."

Mr Miliband's spokesman told journalists at Westminster that the Labour leader is supporting both of his colleagues.

There is speculation at Westminster that The Daily Mail's broadside against the Labour politicians - aimed mainly at Mrs Harman - is related to a row last year when the paper claimed Ed Miliband's father, Marxist academic Ralph Miliband, "hated Britain". Mr Miliband hit back and accused the paper of telling "a lie".

This time, Labour has again taken on the newspaper directly, with Mrs Harman claiming accusing it of a "politically-motivated smear campaign". Meanwhile, Black Country MP Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) has called for an investigation into the possibility that PIE could have received public money.

Mr Watson said he was contacted by a formal civil servant who saw documentation suggesting the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) received taxpayer funding.

He said: "The document was recommending approval for funding during the Thatcher government. My source, who does not wish to talk to the media, said it appeared to be a re-application for funds.

"He could not be certain whether or not it had been funded by a Labour government but he thought this was possible."

CAPTION(S):

Harriet Harman and husband Jack Dromey in the 1970s when they were part >of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), which later became Liberty
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 27, 2014
Words:495
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