Head of MI5 Child Abuse Child Abuse “Cover-Up” Allegation

Head of MI5 Child Abuse Child Abuse “Cover-Up” Allegation

Sky News — July 23, 2015

Pictured in London before his death in Jan 2015, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan was also among the accused . Click to enlarge

Police should be able to investigate child abuse allegations against high-profile politicians “without fear or uncertainty” of how high up in Government they can go.

David Cameron said police should be able to take action on any new information and urged anyone who knew anything about “these terrible crimes against children and young people” to come forward.

He spoke after it was disclosed that the former head of MI5 urged the Government to keep quiet about allegations of child sex abuse made against a senior MP in the 1980s.

The illuminating detail has come to light after the Government was forced to reveal that secret files exist that name key Westminster figures in the 1970s and 80s – following months of requests from Sky News.

It has now emerged that the then director general of MI5, Sir Antony Duff, looked into allegations against one MP in 1986 but told the cabinet secretary at the time that “the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger”.

According to a report by Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC, released by the Government on Wednesday Sir Antony’s comments showed the “risk to children is not considered at all”.

Mr Cameron said: ” … the police on their part should then follow the evidence without any fear and without any uncertainty about how high they can go – they can go as high as they like.

“These are terrible crimes and that is why we have set up the Goddard inquiry, which will get to the bottom of a lot of problems in the past. These are still live investigations and if there is intelligence or information then get it to the police and the police where appropriate should take action.”

Mr Wanless and Mr Whittam last year released a review of the loss of hundreds of Home Office files relating to child abuse allegations made against key public figures in the 1980s.

However, they have more recently been passed government papers that had not previously been made available to them and in their new report said the correspondence showed “that issues of crimes against children, particularly the rights of the complainant, were given considerably less serious consideration than would be expected today”.

The report discloses that in response to claims by two different people that an MP “has a penchant for small boys”, Sir Anthony accepted “his word that he does not”.

Sky’s Deputy Political Editor Joey Jones said: “(Sir Antony Duff’s) reaction to that does seem to show either a rather cavalier disregard for the safety of children or, at worst, a desire to cover something up.”

On Wednesday, Sky News revealed that four key Westminster figures had been named in secret papers.

It was previously reported that the documents either could not be found or do not exist but Joey Jones said it was becoming increasingly clear that the opposite is true.

One of the accused, Sir Peter Hayman. Click to enlarge

The papers that emerged on Wednesday feature details about Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison, former home secretary Leon Brittan, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee.

They also reveal that the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland was at the heart of further correspondence involving the security services and that former intelligence officer Colin Wallace raised concerns about abuse there.

The four named men have passed away and the detailed contents of the papers have not been revealed, but they are to be passed to the Child Abuse Inquiry headed up by Justice Lowell Goddard.

In January Sky News forced the Government to release the details of a file prepared for Margaret Thatcher’s office on the ‘unnatural sexual’ behaviours of one of the men, Sir Peter Hayman.

In response, the NSPCC suggested that it showed the government at the time did not take children’s safety seriously.

An NSPCC statement said: “This is a clear illustration, as the original review revealed, of the misplaced priorities of those operating at the highest levels of government where people simply weren’t thinking of crimes against children and the consequences of those crimes in a way that we would expect them to.

“It reiterates the need for an inquiry that will explore this in death.”

The Child Abuse Inquiry has got under way but is not expected to report back until 2020.

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