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Whitehall child sex inquiry: the 114 files 'lost’

July 7, 2014 · 

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By Patrick Sawer and Tim Ross
The Daily Telegraph
05 Jul 2014

UK Home Office admits that it destroyed, lost or could not find ‘potentially relevant files’ between 1979 and 1999 .  The lost files are part of an investigation into the handling of a dossier about child abuse allegations presented to Leon Brittan, the former home secretary

The paedophile scandal engulfing Westminster deepened after the Home Office confessed to losing or destroying 114 “potentially relevant” files.

The lost files are part of an investigation into the handling of a dossier about child abuse allegations presented to Leon Brittan, the former home secretary.  Geoffrey Dickens with a booklet written by health visitors on how to spot the signs of child abuse (REX)

The dossier, compiled by Geoffrey Dickens, the late Conservative MP, is said to implicate political figures at the heart of national life.  A review by the Home Office last year into its handling of the dossier found that information it had received between 1979 and 1999 had been passed to the appropriate authorities.

But Mark Sedwill, permanent secretary to the Home Office, has now admitted for the first time that his department had destroyed, lost or simply “not found” 114 “potentially relevant files”

He also said four new possible leads about child abuse have now been passed on to Scotland Yard. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Any relevant material that is submitted to us will be dealt with as appropriate.”

A senior Tory MP and former children’s minister last night accused the Home Office of a cover-up. Now Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is under pressure to “get involved” in establishing what happened to the missing records. She will face demands in the House of Commons tomorrow to explain how her department came to lose the documents.

In recent days fresh questions have emerged about whether enough was done to investigate the allegations.   Mr Sedwill wrote to David Cameron yesterday to say a new investigation would examine whether the conclusions of last year’s review “remain sound”.

But in a separate letter to Keith Vaz, the home affairs select committee chairman, he outlined new details about the 2013 review, in which he made the admission about the 114 files.

In his letter Mr Sedwill told Mr Vaz that Mr Dickens had submitted allegations of sexual offences over a number of years to several Home Secretaries, including Lord Brittan, rather than just one single dossier.

He said the review had analysed a central database containing 746,000 files from the period 1979 to 1999 and had identified 527 potentially relevant files, from which nine items of information about alleged child abuse were reported to police.

But Mr Sedwill said the same analysis of the central database “identified 114 potentially relevant files had been presumed destroyed, missing or not found”.

The admission immediately raised further questions as to whether there was an attempt inside Whitehall to cover up the allegations raised by Mr Dickens when he submitted his dossier to Lord Britt

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