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Westminster under the spotlight

The child sexual abuse inquiry is now focusing on politicians, but will the truth come out, asks STEVEN WALKER

THE Independent inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has now turned its attention to Westminster politicians and started to examine claims of paedophile MPs’ activity and the cover-ups concealing their crimes against vulnerable children. 

This inquiry has been dragging on for nearly five years with three former inquiry heads resigning in that time. 

Less than half of MPs in 2014 supported the setting up of the inquiry. The first inquiry head, Dame Butler-Sloss, quit following revelations that her brother Michael Havers, who was attorney-general under Margaret Thatcher, limited the scope of an inquiry into child sexual abuse at the Kincora Children’s Home in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. 

Anglican judge and failed one-time Tory parliamentary candidate Butler-Sloss also recently admitted covering up the crimes of Anglican priests while presiding over an inquiry into their paedophile activities. 

The second inquiry head, Fiona Woolf, resigned soon after being appointed after evidence emerged of her links going back at least a decade with Leon Brittan, who was accused of involvement in a cover-up when he was home secretary. 

Lord Brittan recently admitted that as home secretary he received the now “lost” dossier on paedophile MPs compiled by campaigning MP Geoffrey Dickens. 

Brittan failed to act on the evidence. The third, Justice Goddard, admitted that she was going to ignore allegations against prominent politicians of child sexual abuse, as directed by the then home secretary Theresa May. 

She also agreed to stop investigating allegations of a cover-up of such criminal activity by the security services, the police and Whitehall. 

The change in terms of the inquiry under its current head, Professor Alexis Jay, to focus on institutions covering an enormous swathe of public life such as schools, hospitals, churches, children’s homes, youth clubs — anywhere children were meant to be looked after — was seen as an obvious attempt to take the spotlight away from what was emerging as a potential parliamentary paedophile scandal dating back decades. 

The vast majority of the public now believe MPs and ministers covered up child sex abuse by other politicians, according to a Sunday Mirror opinion poll. 

The ComRes/Sunday Mirror survey found that an overwhelming 77 per cent of those quizzed think politicians “probably” stopped details of scandals involving their colleagues from emerging. Only 5 per cent disagreed. 

Of those polled, 73 per cent felt it was right that allegations of child sex abuse from the 1960s and ’70s should be probed by police. But only 30 per cent said they had faith the inquiries announced by the government would uncover the truth. 

In 2014 the former head of the Bryn Alyn Community in Wrexham was convicted for the sexual abuse of children placed in his care. 

Wrexham is the area where alleged paedophile Peter Morrison, a former top aide to Margaret Thatcher, is accused of having preyed on vulnerable children. 

The father of a murdered boy has claimed that his son may have died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring and said Scotland Yard helped cover up the crime. 

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate whose eight-year-old son Vishal was killed in 1981, said he was contacted by a male prostitute at the time who said the boy may have been abducted and murdered by “highly placed” paedophiles linked to the Elm Guest House in south London. 

Paedophile Liberal MP Cyril Smith is known to have visited the guest house where vulnerable children had been taken from children’s homes in nearby Richmond. 

David Tombs, who ran Hereford and Worcester social services, has said he also warned the government about paedophile MPs after the arrest of notorious paedophile Peter Righton in 1992. 

Righton was a high-profile childcare expert with links to the Establishment. 

“I was disappointed because I was told that I was probably wasting my time, that there were — too many of them over there,” said Tombs. 

“Now, I was talking about paedophilia. I was in the Department of Health and the ‘over there’ to me indicated, although the words weren’t used, within Parliament or within government and Whitehall.” 

In 2013, the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Cayacos to investigate claims that Righton was part of an Establishment paedophile network.

A former Special Branch police officer, Tony Robinson, is on record saying a historic dossier “packed” with information about Cyril Smith’s sex crimes was actually in the hands of MI5 — despite officially having been “lost” decades earlier in the Home Office while led by former home secretary Brittan. 

The security services are facing more questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed. 

Two newspaper executives told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices — warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security — when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. 

Don Hale, the editor of the Bury Messenger, said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle. 

Officers citing “national security” confiscated the file, which listed 16 MPs along with senior policemen, head teachers and clergy. 

Hilton Tims, editor of the Surrey Comet, was issued with a D-notice in 1984 when he sought to report on a police investigation into the notorious Elm Guest House.

Steven Walker is former Unicef children’s champion, child protection social worker and author of: Safeguarding Children and Young People, Russell House Publishers.

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