Page last updated at 19:27 GMT, Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tory MP likens child abuse allegations to 'McCarthy era'

Recent allegations of child abuse "would not have looked out of place in the McCarthy era", Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood has said.

Opening a backbench business debate on child sexual exploitation on 13 November 2012, Ms Blackwood accused "Newsnight and ITV journalists, and others" of "publicising unsubstantiated and party-politicised allegations".

"Those who attempted to start a vigilante crusade or trial by Twitter, however pure they thought their motives might have been, were not acting in the interests of victims," she told MPs.

Labour MP Ann Coffey called on the government to expand provision of sex education to children, so they would find it easier to speak out if they were being abused.

Too often children did not know they were being abused or had been dragged into an inappropriate relationship until it was too late, she said.

"They need to know, indeed they are entitled to know, about issues such as sexual consent, what sexual coercion and exploitation is and how to shape healthy relationships and respect for each other as well as alerting them to the signs that they are being sexually groomed," she said.

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