Fresh demand for UK child abuse review

The British PM has ordered a review into what happened to a missing dossier of child abuse allegations but many say that isn't enough.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing fresh demands for an over-arching review into child abuse amid concerns about the disappearance of a file on alleged pedophile activity at Westminster in the 1980s.

The prime minister has ordered a fresh review by the most senior official at the UK government Home Office into what happened to the dossier handed to the then home secretary, Leon Brittan by Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.

However, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the move did not go far enough and called on Mr Cameron to establish a full investigation into all the allegations of historic child abuse.

She said the government should also publish the full findings of a review commissioned last year by the Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill, which found the dossier had not been retained by the department.

"The prime minister is right to intervene to demand a proper investigation into the allegations of child abuse not being acted upon by the Home Office, because we have not had answers from the home secretary," she said.

"The prime minister should ensure that the action now taken by the Home office amounts to a proper investigation into what happened and also that Theresa May publish the full review conducted in 2013.

"We also need assurance that the police have been given full information now and are investigating any abuse allegations or crimes that may have been committed."

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who carried out an investigation into abuse by the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith and who raised the issue of what happened to Dickens's file at a hearing of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said there needed to be a full public inquiry.

"The prime minister knows that there is a growing sense of public anger about allegations of historic abuse involving senior politicians and his statement represents little more than a damage limitation exercise. It doesn't go far enough.

"The public has lost confidence in these kind of official reviews, which usually result in a whitewash. The only way to get to the bottom of this is a thorough public inquiry."

Speaking on Friday, Mr Cameron insisted that he understood the concerns raised about the missing file.

"That's why I've asked the permanent secretary at the Home Office (Mark Sedwill) to do everything he can to find answers to all of these questions and to make sure we can reassure people about these events. So it's right that these investigations are made," he said.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch