Trojan Horse ‘just the tip of the iceberg’

The Telegraph is reporting warnings from the man appointed by the Government to investigate the scandal that The “Trojan Horse” affair in Birmingham was merely the “tip of the iceberg” of Islamist infiltration in British schools…

…Mr [Peter] Clarke, a former police counterterror chief, said that parts of Whitehall attempted to “intimidate” him out of taking on the inquiry but succeeded only in convincing him that there must be something worth investigating.

He strongly disputed a statement made two weeks ago by Nicky Morgan, the new Education Secretary, that ministers had “got to the bottom of the issue”. Asked if he agreed with the claim, made on BBC Radio WM, Mr Clarke said: “Of course the Government hasn’t got to the bottom of the Trojan Horse affair, nowhere near it.

“You haven’t got to the bottom of it until you’ve proved or disproved whether there is something similar happening elsewhere [outside Birmingham].

“What I put in my report was the tip of the iceberg. There is a huge amount of material which I didn’t put in. I deliberately focused on what appeared to be the epicentre. There were problems elsewhere which I couldn’t evidence sufficiently in the time available.

“You’ve got to look at the roles of Birmingham city council and the unions and you’ve got to see where else Tahir Alam [the alleged ringleader] had influence.”

Mr Clarke described the council’s behaviour as “extraordinary”. He disclosed that even after his inquiry was set up, officials and senior politicians had denied all knowledge of the plot, both in public, and to their own investigator, Ian Kershaw. “Then, very late in my inquiry, my team found an email buried in a mass of documentation submitted by the council which showed that they had known about it all along.

“Despite all the interviews that both I and Ian Kershaw had with officials, none of them at any time made reference to that earlier correspondence,” he said.

He also attacked the NASUWT teaching union, which represented Balwant Bains, the head of Saltley School, who was forced out by the plotters. Mr Clarke’s report, based on evidence from Mr Bains, said that, instead of defending their member, the union told him to resign and to sign a gagging deal, known as a “compromise agreement”. Mr Bains “suspected that the idea of a compromise agreement had originated with the union”, the report said.

Chris Keates, the NASUWT’s general secretary, is threatening to sue Mr Bains unless he signs a statement absolving the union of any blame, it has been learnt. Mrs Keates wrote to the former head teacher last month saying that unless he withdrew the allegation “you should be left in no doubt that we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action”.

Mrs Keates is married to Les Lawrence, the former cabinet member for education at Birmingham city council. Mr Lawrence is also a former business partner of Mr Alam, the alleged ringleader.

Mr Clarke said: “I was surprised, to say the least, at Chris Keates’s position. When I spoke to her at some considerable length, she did not choose to disclose her marriage to Les Lawrence to me. Her view was that the whole thing was the fault of government policy.”…

More at: Trojan Horse ‘just the tip of the iceberg’

 

Nicky Morgan seems keen to out a lid of this issue while Peter Clarke says they are ‘nowhere near’ getting to the bottom of it. What’s your take on where we are and what, if anything, needs to happen next? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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