Tebbit piles pressure on Brittan over VIP abusers: Tory grandee joins chorus demanding explanation over missing dossier detailing Westminster paedophile ring
- Former Tory Cabinet minister spoke as MPs called for a full-scale inquiry
- Asked if the former Home Secretary had dealt with the document properly
- Lord Brittan received a ‘substantial bundle of papers’ from Geoffrey Dickens
- The Home Office has admitted the dossier was either lost or stolen
Lord Tebbit last night joined those demanding an explanation over the missing dossier detailing claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.
The former Tory Cabinet minister spoke out as the clamour grew for a full-scale inquiry into historical child abuse.
More than 130 MPs are now calling for an investigation into allegations that have left former home secretary Leon Brittan facing questions over his handling of the dossier.
Pressure: Former Tory Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit is demanding an explanation from Lord Brittan over the missing dossier which detailed allegations of a paedophile network within Parliament and Whitehall
Lord Brittan has confirmed he received a ‘substantial bundle of papers’ from MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983 – which detailed allegations of a paedophile network within Parliament and Whitehall – and passed them to his officials for investigation.
But amid claims of an Establishment cover-up, the Home Office admits the dossier was either lost or destroyed.
Lord Tebbit, a fellow member of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet in the 1980s, said yesterday: ‘He should deal with the accusations which have been made. People will then have to assess for themselves.’
Asked whether he thought Lord Brittan had dealt with the dossier in a proper manner, he said: ‘It would depend on the relationship he had with his officials and also what he told them. I don’t know whether he said, “Christ you should go away and look at this stuff”, or whether he said, “This is nonsense, go and bin it”.’
Lord Brittan had said he could not remember receiving the dossier from Mr Dickens but on Wednesday released a statement confirming he had been given it, asked officials to look into the claims and could not remember hearing any more about it.
However, a 2013 Home Office review revealed that he had written to Mr Dickens in 1984 saying the dossier had been handed to police. Lord Brittan then released a second statement saying he had only just been made aware of the review, which proved that appropriate action had been taken.
Labour demanded an investigation into the way the Home Office handled the evidence in Mr Dickens’s dossier. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the 2013 Home Office review was carried out by two officials and took only four weeks. ‘This is not good enough,’ she said. ‘The lack of proper answers from the Home Office is just increasing the confusion.’
Document: Lord Brittan has confirmed he received a ‘substantial bundle of papers’ from MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983
Among at least 133 MPs who have added their names to calls for an inquiry are more than a dozen Liberal Democrats, in defiance of their leader Nick Clegg, who said the abuse claims were ‘stomach- churning’ but that police should be left to investigate them.
Labour’s Michael Dugher, one of Ed Miliband’s key lieutenants, said: ‘The Home Secretary should step in now, in the light of several reports, and establish an overarching inquiry led by child protection experts to draw together the fragmented investigations so we can make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and better protected.’
Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said he would consider, if necessary, using parliamentary privilege to name high-profile people accused of child abuse.
Labour MP John Mann said it looked bad that there were independent inquiries into historic child abuse at the BBC and the NHS but that one for Westminster was being denied.
Mr Dickens, who died in 1995, told his family the dossier details would ‘blow the lid off’ the lives of powerful and famous child abusers, his son said. Barry Dickens told the BBC the Tory MP would have been ‘hugely angered’ that the allegations had not been properly investigated.
A child abuse campaigner who worked closely with Mr Dickens said the missing dossier could have toppled the government of the day.
Dianne Core, who founded the charity Childwatch in the 1980s, would not reveal the names of the alleged Westminster paedophiles she believes were in the file.
But she claimed some belonged to Mrs Thatcher’s government – and called on David Cameron to help end the cover-up. ‘This file will never see the light of day because it could have brought a government down. It will have been shredded and burned,’ she said.
Keith Vaz, the Commons home affairs select committee chairman, said he would not call Lord Brittan to give evidence, adding: ‘People shouldn’t look for conspiracies.’
But Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who helped expose the full extent of Cyril Smith’s paedophile attacks in a book serialised by the Daily Mail, said: ‘What has emerged from Tuesday’s select committee hearing is that Lord Brittan has questions to answer about what happened to the Geoffrey Dickens dossier.
‘The muddled statements issued by Lord Brittan have shed little light on this. Instead of clearing up this issue, they’ve generated more questions about where the dossier is and what he knows about the wider issue of establishment paedophile networks.’
Why I’m ready to name names, by former children’s minister TIM LOUGHTON
Fears: Former children’s Minister Tim Loughton says the continuing allegations is undermining public confidence in children’s safety
Every week seems to bring some horrific new story about historical child abuse. The avalanche of allegations is confusing and frightening, and this latest story undermines public confidence in our children’s safety even further.
After a major dossier concerning child sex abuse was handed to the Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1983 by one of his own MPs, the files which named suspected paedophiles disappeared without trace.
No one knows whether this was a criminal cover-up or incompetence, but conspiracy theories that followed were inevitable.
Along with scores of my colleagues in the House of Commons, I believe there is only one way to quell the nationwide fears over our children and to ensure that the perpetrators of sick crimes are brought to justice, even if the offences occurred decades ago.
There must be a full Parliamentary inquiry. Already 130 MPs have signed up to this. The Government is resisting us — this afternoon, I received a letter from Home Secretary Theresa May informing us that she is ‘not minded’ to set up the inquiry, although she says she is not ruling anything out.
An overarching inquiry means a co-ordinated examination of the facts. It must be a commission of respected figures from the legal system, Parliament, social services and children’s charities; an independent inquiry with the power to demand evidence and summon witnesses. It would have an overview of all the historical cases of child sex abuse going back to the 1960s.
An inquiry must address four main issues:
- What exactly happened and why all those years?
- When did things start getting better, and how?
- Have all practical steps been taken to give victims the confidence to come forward and for the police to pursue vigorously any remaining offenders, including anyone who is implicated in covering up allegations?
- And, perhaps most importantly of all, have all our major childcare institutions instituted child protection policies and practices that are fit for purpose in 2014 to deal with modern technology and savvy perpetrators – and are these safeguards being followed?
Like many in Westminster, I was gravely concerned by the news the dossier compiled by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, who spent his career fighting child abuse, had been lost.
Inevitably there is conjecture that someone deliberately lost it or hushed it up. Who did this? Were they politicians, civil servants, or police complicit in a cover-up?
No one knows whether this was a criminal cover-up or incompetence, but conspiracy theories that followed were inevitable
It could be mere incompetence. No one knows, and it is gravely damaging to both the police and Parliament that we can’t get to the facts. Some people say we should not dig under these stones, for fear of what we might find. That’s rubbish. This issue is not going to go away: we cannot reassure people by saying we will not investigate the past. Transparency is the only way to restore public confidence.
We have one major advantage in our fight to force a public inquiry. Since these stories started coming out, a lot of victims have come forward. There were 500 victims of Jimmy Savile alone, some of whom had gone to the police before and been dismissed.
These people have not had their stories heard. An inquiry will unearth first-hand evidence from people.
How long it will take before the Government is dragged, kicking and screaming, to agree to an inquiry, I don’t know. I know David Cameron has a deep interest in combating the cancer of child abuse. But if he doesn’t act quickly, there is a risk that this campaign will become party political and the truth will be swamped under a barrage of mudslinging.
There will be those who will want to know why I and my colleagues do not use Parliamentary privilege to name and shame suspected paedophiles in the Commons.
I call it the nuclear option, and it might come to that. But we don’t want to compromise any police investigation. We need to make sure police have had every opportunity to pursue evidence. It is deeply frustrating, but some patience has to be exercised.
Meanwhile, we must not remain silent. The louder our demands for a public inquiry into all the facts, the better our chances of bringing the abusers to justice – and making sure this appalling travesty can never happen again.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2680060/Tebbit-piles-pressure-Brittan-VIP-abusers-Tory-grandee-joins-chorus-demanding-explanation-missing-dossier-detailing-Westminster-paedophile-ring.html#ixzz36ceYUD7L
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