UK & World News

  • 7 July 2014, 13:44

'No Stone Unturned' In Child Sex Ring Inquiry

Claims that politicians and high profile public figures were at the centre of a powerful paedophile ring in the 1980s will be investigated, the Prime Minister has said.

David Cameron has said there would be "no stone unturned" in an independent inquiry into how public bodies had handled child abuse allegations, mainly dating back to the 1980s.

Allegations that a powerful paedophile ring was operating at Westminster have been at the centre of those 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.

"And it's also important that the police feel that they can go wherever the evidence leads and they can make all the appropriate arrangements to investigate these things properly."

A Downing Street spokesman said the speed of the inquiry would be of importance.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We want to make sure that answers are achieved as quickly as possible. Clearly it needs to be a process that commands confidence and credibility as well."

The Home Secretary will on Monday afternoon announce the full details of the inquiry, which the Chancellor, George Osborne, has said will be "independent and authoritative".

Theresa May is expected to say the investigation will examine who knew what and when and why allegations were missed, overlooked or ignored by public bodies.

It has been suggested that a panel of experts will take evidence from members of the public as part of the investigation but it will stop short of a full public inquiry.

Labour has said it wants a full public inquiry by child abuse experts and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said there were claims of child sex abuse by politicians that were more recent than the 1980s claims.

She said: "We need a wide-ranging review that can look at how all the allegations put to the Home Office in the 80s and 90s were handled. Any stones left unturned will leave concerns of institutional malaise, or worse, a cover-up, unaddressed."

It comes after former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit said there may have been a political cover-up of allegations in the 1980s to "protect the establishment".

A Home Office investigation found that 114 official files relating to claims of child abuse by politicians have been lost or destroyed.

These files are in addition to a missing dossier alleging child abuse involving around eight powerful and famous figures at Westminster in the 1980s, handed to the Home Office by the late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.

The allegations include claims of abuse by the late Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith and alleged paedophile activity at parties attended by politicians at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London.

Lord Tebbit, who served in a series of senior ministerial posts under Margaret Thatcher, said the instinct at the time was to protect "the system" and not delve too deeply into uncomfortable allegations.

"At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it.

"That view, I think, was wrong then and it is spectacularly shown to be wrong because the abuses have grown," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

Asked if he thought there had been a "big political cover-up" at the time, he said: "I think there may well have been."

 

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