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Paedophile Information Exchange

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The Paedophile Information Exchange was a British organisation founded in October 1974, originally set up by Edinburgh-based student Michael Hanson. Like NAMBLA, it can perhaps be seen as an example of sexual rights gone mad.

The group's aim was to campaign for the rights of paedophiles. In 1976 it began publishing a magazine entitled Understanding Paedophilia which was later replaced with the punnishly-named Magpie. Amongst the contents of Magpie were book and film reviews written from a paedophilic angle.[1]

The group came to the public's attention in late 1977; at the time it had around 250 members.[1]

During the course of its existence, PIE absorbed a similar group called Paedophile Action for Liberation, itself a breakaway from the Gay Liberation Front.[1]


The LGBT rights advocate Peter Tatchell unwittingly contributed to a book written by Warren Middleton (former vice-chair of PIE[2]) called the Betrayal Of Youth[3] (initials BOY, geddit?), leading to claims from far-right organisations such as the British National Party that Peter Tatchell was an apologist for paedophilia and child sexual abuse. Tatchell denies any wrongdoings, stating that:

I had no idea that [Middleton] was involved in paedophilia advocacy when I was asked to write my essay. [...] When I was invited to write a chapter, I was told it was a book about children's rights and asked if I could write about the age of consent. It seemed a reasonable request at the time.

My chapter in the book did not endorse child sex. It merely questioned whether 16 was the appropriate legal age of consent. Different people mature at different ages. There are many countries that have diverse ages of consent, some higher and some lower than 16. I did not advocate the abolition of the age of consent or specify at what age sex should become lawful.

I was not aware of who the other authors were or what they wrote until the book was published. I would not have agreed to be in the book if I had known. [...] There is nothing in my contribution that even remotely condones child sex abuse.[4]


The National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty) was loosely affiliated with PIE in the 1970s after a successful entryist campaign.[5] The NCCL argued that photographs of undressed children should not be considered "indecent" unless it could be proven that the subject had suffered harm or that an inference to that effect or to the effect that harm might have been caused could reasonably be drawn from the images themselves, with Harriet Harman (later deputy leader of the Labour Party) arguing that it would "increase censorship".[6] NCCL had excluded PIE by 1983.[7]

In February 2014, Shami ChakrabartiWikipedia, the director of Liberty, issued an apology for the previous links between the NCCL and PIE. She said: "It is a source of continuing disgust and horror that even the NCCL had to expel paedophiles from its ranks in 1983 after infiltration at some point in the seventies."[8]

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