The 2015 prize-giving ceremony was held on the evening of Thursday 18 June 2015 at the unique Maison Assouline in Piccadilly. The prize was presented to the winner, Simon Danczuk MP, by the renowned broadcaster, Jonathan Dimbleby.
As usual the event brought together a hand-picked group of leading figures from law, politics, business, academia, the charitable sector, the arts, the media, finance, and dance music. The former Deputy Mayor of London, MPs’ and Lords exchanged thoughts with the Finance Editor of the Economist, leading figures from the Royal Academy of Arts and the MD of Mixmag, the biggest selling dance music magazine in the world.
Simon Danczuk MP won the prize for the courage he has shown in leading the calls for a public inquiry into child sexual abuse. The prize aims to recognise individuals in British public life that put their head above the parapet on grounds of principle and demonstrate independence, courage and sacrifice.
Danczuk, who exposed the paedophilia of former Rochdale MP, Cyril Smith, piled pressure on the Home Secretary to establish a wide-ranging and credible inquiry after two botched attempts to appoint a Chair. In “Smile for the Camera”, a book he co-authored, he alludes to the fact that Smith could not have acted alone and must have been protected by a wider group of powerful child predators. Jonathan Dimbleby provided some thoughtful reflections about the place of Contrarians in British society before announcing the winner.
“I feel honoured to have won this prestigious award. Child abuse has affected many people in this country and it is important that their stories are heard and that the perpetrators are held to account”, said Danczuk.
The prize, a stunning sculpture entitled the “Three Politicians”, was donated by the renowned pop artist, Mauro Perruchetti, who attended the ceremony. The founder of the prize, Ali Miraj, 40, gave a speech citing Contrarians from the 19th century French philosopher Emile Zola to Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragette movement and highlighted the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs in the face of adversity (You can read his speech here).
Speaking after the announcement of the winner he said, “We had scores of nominations again this year and the judges tried to reflect the depth and breadth of the individuals considered in the shortlist. Simon Danczuk has displayed considerable courage in taking on the establishment which has been conspicuously insouciant on this issue.”
It has been reported that a fellow MP warned Danczuk not to raise questions about what Lord Brittan knew about allegations of child abuse when he was Home secretary in the 1980s.
The New Zealand based judge, Justice Lowell Goddard, was appointed in February to Chair the inquiry.
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