Inquiry To Explore Handling Of Abuse Claims

Home Secretary Theresa May has appointed NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless to lead a review into the Home Office’s handling of historic allegations of child abuse.

Mrs May made the announcement during a statement to the House of Commons on claims politicians and public figures were at the centre of a paedophile ring in the 1980s.

Mrs Maysaid the government “will do everything we can” to facilitate a full and thorough investigation into the claims.

Mr Wanless’ review will be expected to report back to Mrs May within eight to 10 weeks, and will also cover how police and prosecutors dealt with any information handed to them.

The Government will also set up an independent inquiry under an expert panel into the handling of child abuse by public bodies.

The inquiry could be upgraded to a full public inquiry if the panel decides it is needed.

It comes after Prime Minister David Cameron said there would be “no stone unturned” by the investigation into how public bodies handled the sex abuse claims.

Mr Cameron said: “I am absolutely determined that we are going to get to the bottom of these allegations and we’re going to leave no stone unturned to find out the truth about what happened – that is vital.

“It is also vital we learn the lessons right across the board from these things that have gone wrong.”

The Conservative peer Lord Brittan has welcomed the probe.

However, he insisted claims he failed to deal adequately with a dossier of information handed to him by campaigning MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983 were “completely without foundation”.

In a statement, Lord Brittan said: “I would like to put on record that I welcome the fact that there is now to be an independent review to look at the missing files belonging to the Home Office.

“It has been alleged that when I was Home Secretary I failed to deal adequately with the bundle of papers containing allegations of serious sexual impropriety that I received from the late Geoff Dickens MP.

“This … is completely without foundation – as evidence from the Home Office’s own report supports.”

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