After the Sunday Mirror ran an investigation which estimated that up to 1,000 children could have been systematically raped over a period of 40 years, pressure has been mounting for a separate independent inquiry. This will now take place. This pressure was exerted relentlessly by the Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan.

However, at first there was virtual media silence on this brutal criminality, in glaring contrast to the hysteria following the Presidents Club and other Westminster-centric scandals.

The BBC has been called to account for its silence, as have the feminists and the #MeToo movement, but I am also concerned about the deafening silence of male Conservative MPs.

Now, before I go ‘Full Perrins’, let me say that I understand there has been ‘a lot on’ this week what with the Russians and Philip Hammond’s statement etc etc. However, is this really enough to justify the fact that up to now the overall sense is that male Conservative MPs have shown little support to their colleague Lucy Allan’s call for an inquiry into what looks like profound systemic failures in Telford?

I do not believe it is malicious, but it is indicative of where their priorities lie, and they do not seem to lie in the protection from rape of young girls in this country. Nor do I believe this can be contained as a ‘mere constituency problem’ because similar cases have been revealed in Oxfordshire and Rotherham amongst many other places.

Goodness knows many male MPs rush to display their feminist credentials when it comes to executive pay, even though this affects only a tiny minority of women. Indeed, Simon Hoare MP took time on International Women’s Day to tweet that it ‘made him ashamed to be a man’, no less, on hearing of the vile online abuse Mhairi Black MP receives every day. Do you know what else is vile, Mr Hoare? The systematic rape of girls in English towns.

Or let’s take Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, who seems to be never off my box or radio. He has famously said that he does not support abortion including in cases of rape (a position I share) so does he have anything to say on the following account?

One 14-year-old, groomed and abused after her phone number was sold to paedophiles, said: ‘I hated what was happening and my abusers made my skin crawl but I was told that if I said a word to anyone they’d come for my little sisters and tell my mum I was a prostitute.

‘Night after night, I was forced to have sex with multiple men in disgusting takeaways and filthy houses. I must have been getting the morning after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions. I fell pregnant twice and had two abortions.

‘Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men. The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when I was drugged and gang-raped by five men. Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.’

This, to me, looks a lot like the State is facilitating the rape of minor girls – performing abortions on them and then sending them on their way for them to be raped only hours later. It is too horrific to contemplate.

Does this raise any concerns . . . any at all? Is Mr Rees-Mogg not outraged that the statutory rape laws never, ever seem to be enforced in this country? And I ask similar questions of the former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP.

Further, on Tuesday, I tweeted to a number of male MPs asking whether they supported Lucy Allan’s call for an independent inquiry. I received no reply, although Andrew Bridgen MP did support her on Monday.

Is it in fact the case that many male Conservative MPs think that this is ‘merely’ a women’s issue? This is a genuine question, as I do not know or pretend to know their minds. But should you be in any doubt, it most certainly is not.

Further, the Tories used to be the party of law and order, yet they seem unconcerned at the total collapse in investigation and enforcement of the criminal law in Telford. Do they have anything to say to the allegation that ‘police failed to investigate one recent case five times until the MP intervened’ or to the revelation that of the few cases prosecuted, a convicted rapist will be released after only five years of a 22-year sentence? (See the end of this speech.)

The truth is, thus far, this is simply not good enough. The systematic abuse and rape of young girls in English towns should be prompting tough questions by all MPs of the police, councils, criminal and sentencing law and of those who work in schools and sexual health services.

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