Home Secretary Theresa May has warned that allegations surrounding historical cases of child abuse linked to Westminster could be merely “the tip of the iceberg” on the issue. She spoke after fresh allegations surrounding the murder of an 8-year-old boy by a paedophile ring, which included politicians, emerged in recent weeks. The ring organised a series of parties attended by two Conservative MPs, according to a man who claims to have been victimized at the gatherings as a child. As many as three boys were killed by the ring’s members, he alleges.
In an interview with the BBC, May said there were serious questions still remaining about how “the very institutions of the state that should be protecting children were not doing so”.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said “We have got 40 detectives looking into these relatively new claims“, according to Metro. Both May and Hogan-Howe said they would get to the bottom of whether there was a coverup or not. The Observer reported that several newspapers were served with “D-notices” — legal orders preventing them from publishing — when they tried to do stories about politicians who were child abusers in the 1980s.
Earlier this month an independent inquiry into what the Home Office knew about historical allegations of child abuse relating to senior establishment figures “found nothing specific to support a concern that the Home Office had failed in any organised or deliberate way to identify and refer individual allegations of child abuse to the police”.
The authors stressed the limitations of the scope of their investigation and the serious failings in record-keeping from that period meant that their conclusions did not rule out the possibility of a cover-up. May reiterated that it was “”not possible” at this stage to say whether there had been a cover-up over the claims.
However, two former newspaper editors at the time have now come forward alleging that security services served them with warnings not to publish information relating to the role of powerful individuals in child sex abuse in 1984. The so-called D-notices claimed that the information relating to the abuse might damage national security, according to an article published in the Observer.
One of the editors alleges that he was accosted by police over a dossier passed to him by former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle, which reportedly implicated
16 MPs along with senior policemen, headteachers and clergy. The allegations are in keeping with those made by
Don Hale, the editor of Castle’s local newspaper, the Bury Messenger, in July to the Daily Mail who said that a “heavy mob” of Special Branch officers seized the dossier in a 1984 raid of the paper’s office.
The second editor claims to have received D-notices relating to his paper’s coverage of the police investigation into the Elm Guest House, where a group of high-profile abusers purportedly operated. Unfortunately, official in charge of running the D-notice system say the allegations could not be substantiated “because files are reviewed and correspondence of a routine nature with no historical significance destroyed”.
This snowball of allegations is quickly gaining pace. But the government’s attempt to get a grip on the story through an independent inquiry has stumbled. Both of the government’s first two choices to lead the inquiry — Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf — resigned following revelations of personal connections to leading figures in the 1980s.
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