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Child sex abuse inquiry: Leon Brittan among senior figures named in files found after child sex abuse review

By Sam Lister

Published 22/07/2015

Former home secretary Leon Brittan died in January
Former home secretary Leon Brittan died in January

Former Cabinet minister Leon Brittan has been named in top secret files uncovered following a review into historical child sex abuse in Westminster.

Peter Morrison, who was an aide to Margaret Thatcher, ex-diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister William van Straubenzee are also mentioned in the documents released by the Home Office.

One of the files relating to Hayman was held by the Cabinet Office but "overlooked" during a previous trawl for information.

Documents that refer to Straubenzee had been earmarked for destruction but National Archives officials flagged them up to the Government.

Kincora

A group of papers that name Morrison, Brittan, Hayman and Straubenzee as well as contain references to the Kincora children's home in Northern Ireland where boys were abused were "found in a separate Cabinet Office store of assorted and unstructured papers".

The admission came after MPs left Westminster for the summer recess.

In a document published on the Government's website, the Home Office said a fresh search of the archives had been carried out after a file emerged earlier this year that should have been submitted to the Wanless and Whittam inquiry into the handling of allegations that prominent figures were child abusers.

Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC, reported last year that they had found no evidence that records were deliberately removed or destroyed.

After examining the latest batch of documents, they said they "found nothing to cause us to alter the conclusions drawn or recommendations made in our review".

But they warned that the emergence of papers after the review had been completed was not "helpful" in giving the public confidence in the process.

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The investigators also revealed that allegations about an MP with a "penchant for small boys" were dismissed on the basis of his word with the potential political fallout the top priority rather than the risk to children.

Their report said: "There were a number of references across the papers we saw that reinforced the observation we made in our review that issues of crimes against children, particularly the rights of the complainant, were given considerably less serious consideration than would be expected today.

"To give one striking example, in response to claims from two sources that a named Member of Parliament ''has a penchant for small boys" matters conclude with acceptance of his word that he does not and the observation that 'at the present stage ... the risks of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger'. The risk to children is not considered at all."

Mr Wanless and Mr Whittam said the latest discovery, which came to light earlier this year, showed the need for a broader search of documents "unconstrained by what the Home Office in particular might or might not have known".

New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard, who is heading up an overarching inquiry into historical child sex abuse, is set to start again from scratch.

Further reading

Bishop names Enoch Powell in paedophile ring, satanic worship scandal

Royal family member was investigated as part of paedophile ring before cover-up, ex-cop says

Kincora: Theresa May accused over sex abuse probe 'snub'

Theresa May: Child abuse runs through British society like 'a stick of Blackpool rock'  

Metropolitan Police to be investigated over claims of child sex abuse cover-ups because MPs and officers were involved

Anonymous promise 'Nightmare on Elite Street' for public figures accused of child sex abuse cover-up

Russell Brand asks 'is the establishment riddled with paedophiles?' in latest Trews YouTube video

Margaret Thatcher stopped officials publicly naming Sir Peter Hayman as suspected paedophile

Kincora

Kincora: Theresa May accused over sex abuse probe 'snub'

Kincora: Calls to add child abuse at Belfast boys home to Westminster VIP paedophile probe

Richard Kerr: I was molested by powerful people at Dolphin Square and Elm Guest House in London  

Intelligence officer Brian Gemmell sorry for failing to pursue Richard Kerr's case

Kincora: Without protection, Richard Kerr is afraid to tell all

Child sex abuse victims must not be collateral damage  

Kincora: Only a full inquiry will do  

Kincora victim Richard Kerr in explosive new claims as he returns to horror house 30 years on  

'I'm haunted by survivor's guilt... it helps to have my story heard'  

Kincora children trafficked throughout UK, claims former resident Richard Kerr  

Kincora: Justice Goddard's inquiry offers the only viable option for justice, Naomi Long  

Calls grow for probe to cover Kincora  

I will reveal the secrets, says ex-Army officer Colin Wallace

Kincora: MI5 knew about it but did nothing, that much is certain  

Full story of Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast yet to be told, says child sex abuse victim

Kincora: Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt joins calls for inquiry into abuse at boys' home

Baroness's brother 'tried to limit probe into Kincora'

Kincora: MI5 'must hand over files on abuse at east Belfast boys' home'

Ian Paisley's dead pastor friend linked to sexual abuse of children  

Editor's viewpoint: We must know truth of Kincora

Child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora Boys' Home, says Amnesty International

MI5 'blocked exposure of Kincora sex abuse scandal'

Kincora Boy's Home scandal: South African intelligence 'secretly backed loyalist paramilitary group Tara'

Kincora Boys' Home scandal: journalist Peter McKenna dies

State papers: The perjury that allowed Kincora suspect preacher to walk

Westminster’s dark secret: abuse of children, adultery, homosexuality and sadomasochism were all seemingly lumped together

Civil servant Mark Sedwill admits Home Office ‘probably’ destroyed paedophile dossiers  

Westminster child abuse dossier: Geoffrey Dickens also gave copy of file to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington - so why did DPP fail to act on evidence of paedophile ring?  

Historic child abuse files missing

Tory peer Lord Brittan defends handling of 1980s sex abuse dossier

Abuse claims police matter - Clegg

Abuse probe 'into soul of society'

From the archives

Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)

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