UK & World News
PM Orders Probe Into Paedophile Dossier
The Prime Minister has ordered an investigation into what happened to a dossier containing explosive allegations about paedophile activity by powerful and famous figures in the 1980s.
David Cameron said he wants Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary to the Home Office, to do "everything he can" to get to the truth.
The Government has been under pressure to act after claims that a list of names of suspected child abusers, including high-profile men in the establishment, was passed by the MP Geoffrey Dickens to the then-home secretary.
Lord Brittan admitted he received the dossier and passed it on to officials - but no action was ever taken.
"I quite understand people's concerns about these events that were referred to over 30 years ago," Mr Cameron said.
"And that is why I've asked the permanent secretary at the Home Office to do everything he can to find answers to all of these questions and make sure we can reassure people about these events."
Mr Cameron warned that nothing must be done to "prejudice or prevent proper action by the police" but urged anyone with information of "criminal wrongdoing" to come forward.
The move comes after an investigation by the Home Office in 2013 into what happened - which was not fully published - concluded that the "credible" parts of the dossier were passed on to prosecutors while other parts were "not retained or destroyed".
Mr Dickens' son, Barry, said he was dismayed by the lack of action over the files which his father had warned would "blow everything apart". He told Sky News that he wanted to see the Prime Minister take action.
Many of the questions focused on the Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London, where there have been allegations that senior members of the establishment abused children.
One figure who was said to go there was the former Lib Dem MP, Cyril Smith, about whom allegations of serial child abuse have emerged since his death in 2010.
One 16-year-old claimed he was abused by Smith at the Barnes institution. The allegations were contained in a book co-authored by Labour MP Simon Danscuk.
Barry Dickens told Sky News that an investigation by Mr Sedwill was inadequate.
"I'm not convinced the Home Office can investigate its own failings," he said.
Many are now calling for a full public inquiry into the allegations, although the Prime Minister and others have warned that it was right for the police to take the lead.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who has investigated claims of abuse by Smith, said: "The Prime Minister knows that there is a growing sense of public anger about allegations of historic abuse involving senior politicians and his statement today represents little more than a damage limitation exercise. It doesn't go far enough.
"The public has lost confidence in these kind of official reviews, which usually result in a whitewash. The only way to get to the bottom of this is a thorough public inquiry."