As if those right-leaning Astroturf lobby groups that have coalesced in the area around 55 Tufton Street did not have enough problems following the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance effectively admitting the accusations made against them by whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, one of their number has had to wheel out the excuses after a convicted paedophile managed to secure an invitation to an event where some under-18s were present.
Not for the first time, the right-leaning press has bodyswerved this one, but the Mirror has not: “A Conservative think tank unwittingly invited a paedophile onto a boat party with underage revellers … Guests at the bash were left outraged after child porn hoarder Richard Neate was sighted on board, just months after he was sentenced … The 28-year-old was found with indecent images of children as young as six and had a video of a man having sex with a dog”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
There was more. “One appalled partygoer said the paedophile's appearance came after a pal was banned from attending the same shindig for criticising the group publicly. She said: ‘It’s 2018, and a think-tank lets men get away with being literally sex offenders, but not women who express dissatisfaction’. She added: ‘There were under 18s on the boat.’”
So what did he get convicted for? “Neate walked free in October 2017 with a three-year community order and 150 hours of unpaid work. He was put on the sex offenders’ register for five years after more than 200 videos and images were found on his computers. Neate, from Cambridge, was snared after police investigated a series of tweets he had sent knocked at his door. After searching his hard drives they found the horrific abuse images”.
Plus “There were 129 of the worst category A ‘moving’ images discovered by police, as well as 76 category B and eight category C pictures … Neate admitted performing sex acts while watching the material and said he was sexually interested in children about 15 years old”. But it was all “inadvertent”, right? Well, that’s the ASI line.
Their excuses include “Over 300 invitations were sent out from an bulk email list. Unfortunately due to plus ones being invited by guests it might have been possible someone boarded the boat that should not have done so”. This is bunk.
The ASI should have known who Neate was, because before he was convicted, he posed for two photos: one with ASI President Madsen “Dr Mad” Pirie, and another with Tory MP Nigel Evans. Are they both going to claim that they didn’t know who he was?
Those two images suggest that the ASI is being highly economical with the actualité on this one. My information is that Richard Neate was rather better known to the ASI, and in Tory circles more generally, than they are all letting on.
If he’d been a Corbyn supporter, the press would have been all over it, and the “unwittingly” claims would have been given short shrift. I’ll just leave that one there.
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