Saturday, 24 June 2017

Key Westminster figures in child abuse papers

Government has revealed that papers that relate to 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. All four have passed away and the contents of the papers have not been revealed. In January Sky News forced the Government to release the details of a file prepared for Mrs Thatcher’s office on the ‘unnatural sexual’ behaviours of one of the men Sir Peter Hayman. The new batch of file names reveal there were further Government papers relating to the former MI6 man and career diplomat. An NSPCC spokesman said: “This is a clear illustration, as the original review revealed, of the misplaced priorities of those operating at highest levels of government, where people simply weren’t thinking about crimes against children and the consequences of those crimes in the way that we would expect them to.” The revelation comes after the Wanless and Whittam review was prevented from finding the relevant Government papers during searches of Westminster departments last year.  Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton wrote to Whittam and Wanless in May saying: “I deeply regret that the Cabinet Office failed to identify the papers in question when you first asked for them.” NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless told Sky News: “We were concerned and disappointed that the Cabinet Office was aware of this separate store of papers and yet informed us that they weren’t.”

The papers also reveal that the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland was at the heart of further correspondence involving the security services. Allegations of abuse and trafficking of children to England have centred on the home in Belfast. The papers reveal former intelligence officer Colin Wallace raised concerns about abuse at Kincora – the papers had been stored by the Cabinet Office. The contents of the papers have still not been revealed but have been shared with the police and will be passed to the Child Abuse Inquiry led by Justice Lowell Goddard.

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