Harriet Harman was in NCCL when it campaigned for the rights of paedophiles
Harriet Harman was in NCCL when it campaigned for the rights of paedophiles Reuters

Harriet Harman has hit back at paedophile "smears" in the Daily Mail by publishing a picture from its website of a 12-year-old girl wearing only a bikini.

Labour's deputy leader posted on Twitter the image of a MailOnline story as part of her war on the paper, which had made links between a child sex abuse network and a rights organisation she used to work for.

The politician was legal officer at the National Campaign for Civil Liberties (NCCL, now known as Liberty) between 1978 and 1982, when it was affiliated with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).

Harman, 63, has refused to apologise for the connection and claimed she was the victim of a vendetta by the Mail. She accused ity of conducting a smear campaign.

Harman tweeted:

Harman has been dogged by the Mail devoting three front page splashes in as many days to NCCL's link to PIE. Defending herself on BBC Newsnight, Harman said: "It's not the case that my work when I was at NCCL was influenced by PIE, apologising for paedohilia or colluding with paedophilia. That is a smear.

"This is the Daily Mail trying to reshape the facts of the situation. If there's anybody who's supported indecency over the years it is much more the Daily Mail than it is me."

In an editorial, the Mail said: "Belated statements of Ms Harman and her husband – full of pedantry and obfuscation – failed to answer the Mail's central points and deny allegations the Mail has not made.

"As for smears, it is a newspaper's job to ask awkward and controversial questions – questions that in this instance are still awaiting a satisfactory answer."