May: ‘There Might Have Been’ An Abuse Cover-Up

The Home Office might have covered up historical allegations of child abuse by prominent figures, Theresa May has told MPs.

The Home Secretary was speaking after a review of her department’s handling of allegations in the 1980s found there was no evidence of organised attempts by officials to conceal child abuse.

The report found it had not been possible after some 30 years to establish exactly what had been given to the Home Office and what action had been taken because there was no system of routinely recording such referrals.

NSPCC chief executive PeterWanless – who co-authored the report with barrister Richard Whittam QC – told MPs Home Office record-keeping was “a mess”.

The report found no evidence that the Home Office had funded the notorious pro-paedophile Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) – but said the possibility could not be dismissed entirely.

But theauthors said the apparent absence of a dossier of information passed in 1983 by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens to the Home Office – and then-home secretary Leon Brittan – had caused “particular concern”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mrs May said the report’s verdict was “case not proved, not case not guilty”.

She said: “I cannot stand here and say that during the 1980s the Home Office was not involve in a cover-up. There might have been a cover-up – that is why we have set up the inquiry into child abuse and we’re determined to get to the truth.”

MrWanless was brought in to investigate after an internal review found the department had “lost or destroyed” 114 files between 1979 and 1999.

Labour’s Simon Danczuk – who has campaigned for a child abuse inquiry – said the review had been “set up to fail” and dismissed the findings as the latest in a series of “whitewash” reports.

In a statement, he said: “We desperately need to snap out of this overly-cautious and defensive approach and see an appetite to confront the cover ups of the 1980s, not just gloss over the past and hope it all goes away.

“The message that’s continually being conveyed by government to survivors of child abuse is that we hear you, but we’re not acting.

“Theresa May has a once in a generation opportunity to address child abuse failings of the past. But so far all we’ve seen are whitewash reports and hopeless attempts to manage and contain an historic child abuse inquiry.”

The Home Secretary said she had accepted recommendations in the review that would see all allegations of child abuse passed to the department marked as “significant” and all contact with police on such matters formally recorded.

Mrs May also confirmed the Met Police had been asked to probe claims by ex-newspaper editor Don Hale that another dossier of 1980s allegations compiled by MP Barbara Castle was suppressed.

The Home Office told Sky News Mrs May has asked Mr Wanless to produce a further report looking at what police and security services did with information passed to them about the allegations.

His reports will be used by a wider Hillsborough-style inquiry into paedophile activity linked to public bodies and institutions.

But that probe is still without a chairman after Fiona Woolf became the second candidate to stand down over links to the British Establishment.

Lord Brittan has denied failing to act on the Geoffrey Dickens file, which is said to have named prominent politicians and other senior figures alleged to be involved in a paedophile network.

Mr Dickens’ son told Sky News he was not surprised that the latest review had left victims and campaigners “no further forward”.

Barry Dickens said: “Nothing has really come out yet – we need to dig deeper.”

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11 November 2014 | 3:15 pm – Source:


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