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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 13:06 GMT
Full text of Hodge's letter
This is the full text of Children's Minister Margaret Hodge's letter to Demetrious Panton.

Dear Mr Panton,

I am writing to say sorry for the distress caused to you in recent days.

I would like to apologise unreservedly for using the words 'is an extremely disturbed person' with reference to you. I assure you I will not repeat those words again.

I know you suffered appalling abuse in the 1970s when you were young and vulnerable from the very people who should have protected and cared for you.

Anyone in your situation would rightly feel angry and let down after so many years of being disbelieved.

I have never sought to belittle or invalidate the experience of those who have suffered physical or sexual abuse.

Over many decades, all victims of abuse in children's homes in Islington and elsewhere were betrayed by those in whose care their safety and well-being was entrusted.

I wish you all the best for the future and am genuinely sorry for having contributed to your pain and anger.

Yours sincerely,

Margaret Hodge MP

Tim Yeo, Conservative health and education spokesman
"I hope Margaret Hodge will do the honourable thing and resign"

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