Hugo asks Parliament to debate child exploitation, after authorities failed to arrest a paedophile over a year after a tip-off

East Devon's MP Sir Hugo Swire today called for Parliament to debate child exploitation, as reports emerged over the weekend that authorities failed to arrest a paedophile for 18 months after a tip-off about him. 

At Business Questions, Sir Hugo said: "The National Crime Agency was first warned about the activities of the paedophile Matthew Bell in September 2016, but he was not arrested until March 2018, which allowed him to continue to abuse Filipino children, some as young as 11, until April 2017. The right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), Chairman of the Select Committee on Home Affairs, described this as 'incredibly disturbing', and went on to say, 'I’ve been concerned for many years that there just aren’t enough resources going into this given the scale of the escalating problem we face'".  

Hugo stressed that Parliament must examine the resources available to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command and the NCA "so that we are doing everything that we can to control and stamp out this abhorrent behaviour". 

Leader of the House of Commons Mel Stride acknowledged the need for a debate in the future. Mr Stride pledged to liaise with Home Office ministers to bring the issue under further parliamentary scrutiny. 

See also: BBC News for details on the case of Matthew Bell, Link.