Tessa Munt MP has revealed that she is a survivor of child abuse. Photo: YouTube screengrab
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Listen: Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt reveals her experience of child abuse

Tessa Munt MP, who has been campaigning for a full inquiry into child abuse allegations, reveals that she has been a victim of child abuse.

On Radio 4's PM programme yesterday evening, the Lib Dem MP for Wells, and Business Secretary Vince Cable's PPS, Tessa Munt, revealed to presenter Carolyn Quinn that she has been a victim of child abuse.

Munt, who has been campaigning for an overarching inquiry into child abuse allegations coming to light about an alleged ring of paedophile MPs in Westminster operating during the Eighties, spoke on the programme about her own experience of child abuse.

Munt, who is one of many MPs to have written to the Home Secretary calling for an independent inquiry, told the programme:

... I have to say to you, from a personal point of view, I'm a survivor. This isn't about me, it's about the victims who are not in a position to be able to speak up and say for themselves that 'I've got my life back together', because some of these people will have been suffering for 50, 60, 70 years...

I had a period in my life which was not happy. I was the victim of sexual abuse, but with the support of my family and my friends, I have dealt with that, I had counselling, and it was fantastic. I'm so pleased because it gave me the strength to come somewhere like this and make sure that justice is done for other people, it's really important.

The Lib Dem MP has never spoken about her experience publicly before. She said, "it's important to me that we make it better for other people, that's one of the reasons why I'm here."

"It is difficult to speak about this stuff," she continued, "there are no words. Good grief, I was in my thirties and - I've never been lost for words before - I couldn't say what had happened. I understand what it feels like. I'm very lucky that I've got past that now, with a lot of support, as I said, from my family and friends."

She suffered the abuse as a child, but didn't speak about it until she was in her thirties and expecting her first child. "When I was a child, I didn't feel I was going to be believed."

Here's the interview, from the BBC's PM programme's Audioboo page:


Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

Arsène Wenger. Credit: Getty
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My biggest regret of the Wenger era? How we, the fans, treated him at the end

Arsenal’s greatest coach deserved better treatment from the Club’s supporters. 

I have no coherent memories of Arsenal before Arsène Wenger, who will leave the Club at the end of the season. I am aware of the Club having a new manager, but my continuous memories of my team are of Wenger at the helm.

They were good years to remember: three league titles, seven FA Cups, the most of any single manager in English football. He leaves the Club as the most successful manager in its history.

I think one of the reasons why in recent years he has taken a pasting from Arsenal fans is that the world before him now seems unimaginable, and not just for those of us who can't really remember it. As he himself once said, it is hard to go back to sausages when you are used to caviar, and while the last few years cannot be seen as below par as far as the great sweep of Arsenal’s history goes, they were below par by the standards he himself had set. Not quite sausages, but not caviar either.

There was the period of financial restraint from 2005 onwards, in which the struggle to repay the cost of a new stadium meant missing out on top player. A team that combined promising young talent with the simply bang-average went nine years without a trophy. Those years had plenty of excitement: a 2-1 victory over Manchester United with late, late goals from Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry, a delicious 5-2 thumping of Tottenham Hotspur, and races for the Champions League that went to the last day. It was a time that seemed to hold the promise a second great age of Wenger once the debt was cleared. But instead of a return to the league triumphs of the past, Wenger’s second spree of trophy-winning was confined to the FA Cup. The club went from always being challenging for the league, to always finishing in the Champions League places, to struggling to finish in the top six. Again, nothing to be sniffed at, but short of his earlier triumphs.

If, as feels likely, Arsenal’s dire away form means the hunt for a Uefa Cup victory ends at Atletico Madrid, many will feel that Wenger missed a trick in not stepping down after his FA Cup triumph over Chelsea last year, in one of the most thrilling FA Cup Finals in years. (I particularly enjoyed this one as I watched it with my best man, a Chelsea fan.) 

No one could claim that this season was a good one, but the saddest thing for me was not the turgid performances away from home nor the limp exit from the FA Cup, nor even finishing below Tottenham again. It was hearing Arsenal fans, in the world-class stadium that Wenger built for us, booing and criticising him.

And I think, that, when we look back on Wenger’s transformation both of Arsenal and of English football in general, more than whether he should have called it a day a little earlier, we will wonder how Arsenal fans could have forgotten the achievements of a man who did so much for us.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.