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Child abuse allegations just tip of the iceberg, warns Theresa May

By James Tapsfield

The allegations of child sex abuse at public institutions that have emerged so far are just the "tip of the iceberg", senior Government minister Theresa May has warned.

The Home Secretary said it was crucial for society to "get to the truth" of what happened in the 1970s and 1980s. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe insisted police are taking claims "seriously" and promised there will be no cover-up.

The Government is still seeking a chairman for its wide-ranging inquiry into the handling of paedophile activity by public bodies after two candidates quit over their links to senior figures from the period.

Among the latest allegations are that police may have helped cover up the murder of an eight-year-old boy by a Westminster paedophile ring. Mrs May said in an interview yesterday that she was determined that the issues would be fully investigated.

"How was it that in the past, but continuing today, the very institutions of the state that should be protecting children were not doing so?" she said.

"Why was it that these abuses took place and that nobody was brought to justice? We must get to the truth of that and I think what we're seeing is frankly only the tip of the iceberg on this issue."

The Metropolitan Police commissioner said dozens of detectives were investigating historic Westminster child abuse allegations and there was no question of anything being covered up while he was in post.

"We have got 40 detectives looking into these relatively new claims," he said. "We have now had more recently this discussion or these claims about murder and, of course, that makes it even more serious."

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