UK & World News
Clegg Backs Police Probe Into Paedophile Claims
A police investigation into historic claims of a Westminster paedophile ring is the only way to deliver justice for alleged victims, the Deputy Prime Minister has told Sky News.
However, the Lib Dem leader appeared to leave the door open to a wider public inquiry into the claims, saying he would support anything that helped "get to the truth".
It comes amid calls by Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who has investigated claims of abuse by ex-MP Cyril Smith, for a "Hillsborough-style" inquiry to prevent allegations involving politicians being "swept under the carpet".
Mr Clegg told Sky News: "I would support anything that helps get to the truth and crucially delivers justice for those victims, who if these horrific allegations of abuse in children's homes in various parts of the country turn out to be true, have suffered for years in silence and their plight has gone unrecognised.
"My view is given the very serious criminal nature of these allegations, namely that there was a circle of people that hid what they were doing, and what they were doing is abusing vulnerable children in children's homes, the only way to deliver justice, even these years after, is to allow police to get to the bottom of these things."
On Wednesday, former home secretary Lord Brittan defended his handling of a 1980s dossier which alleged paedophile activity in Westminster - after the Government admitted it appeared to have been destroyed.
Lord Brittan initially said he had asked officials at the time to "look carefully" into the claims, but had heard nothing more.
However, he later issued a clarification after an independent review commissioned by the Home Office showed the material was assessed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and "passed to the appropriate authorities".
It also revealed the dossier, presented by then-MP Geoffrey Dickens, had "not been retained" by the department - but concluded that all information had been handled correctly.
Lord Brittan said: "The Home Office independent review is entirely consistent with the action I set out in my earlier statement. Whilst I could not recall what further action was taken 30 years ago, the information contained in this report shows that appropriate action and follow-up happened."
The Tory peer issued a statement after Mr Danczuk urged him to spell out what he knew about the dossier compiled by Mr Dickens - believed to have contained information about the Paedophile Information Exchange (Pie) and abuse networks operating around Westminster.
Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald told the BBC: "It sounds to me as though there needs to be further investigation into this. Some of the detail is more than troubling. It's always alarming when material goes missing.
"This may just be the passage of time, it may not be anything sinister, but I don't think people are going to be satisfied for this to be left as it is."