Key Westminster figures from the 1970s and 1980s including former Home Secretary Leon Brittan have been named in a series of newly disclosed Government child abuse documents.
The batch of files relate to three senior government figures, all of whom are now dead: Sir Peter Hayman, a former diplomat and M16 worker, Sir William van Straubenzee, a former minister, and Sir Peter Morrison, who was an aide to Margaret Thatcher.
The papers, which were previously thought to be missing, have been shared with the police and will be passed to the Child Abuse Inquiry led by Justice Lowell Goddard.
The Cabinet Office confirmed the existence of the documents following a series of requests from Sky News for a file prepared for Mrs Thatcher’s office on the “unnatural sexual” behaviour of Sir Peter Hayman.
Sir Peter Hayman
While the full contents of the papers has not been disclosed, the file names reveal that there were further Government papers relating to Sir Peter Hayman.
They also disclose 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 Belfast care home in has previously been at the centre of abuse allegations and children trafficking to England.
Lord Brittan was thrust into the limelight in July last year by questions over his handling of a dossier handed to him as home secretary in 1983 by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, alleging the existence of a paedophile ring at Westminster.
An independent review commissioned by the Home Office in 2013 found that the department had not retained the dossier.
Sir William Van Straubenzee
A furore over the allegations led to an independent review of the Home Office’s handling of child abuse allegations in the 1980s by NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless, whose report last November found no evidence of a cover-up – but warned it was impossible to draw firm conclusions.
A second, more wide-ranging, inquiry into official handling of abuse claims was also commissioned by Home Secretary Theresa May, but its proposed chair Fiona Woolf stood down after questions were raised about her social links with Lord Brittan, who was a near neighbour.
In January this year, Sir Peter Hayman was the focus of a secret Government file about his ”unnatural” sexual behaviour.
The file, which has just been released to the National Archives, names him as the subject of a file prepared for the then Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher.
Sir Peter Hayman died in 1992 after a career as a senior diplomat, which included a post as High Commissioner to Canada. He also worked for intelligence service MI6.
He was exposed as a paedophile in the House of Commons after being let off with a police caution despite being found with extreme pornographic images which he shared with other child abusers.
Sir Peter Morrison (Camera Press)
The disclosure of the new files come after the Wanless and Whittam review of Government papers last year failed to find many of the relevant abuse files held by Government departments.
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.”
The Cabinet Office has apologised for the “flaw” in the way they responded to Sky News’ request for information.
Esther Baker, a child sex abuse survivor who has alleged abuse against senior political figures, said: “I’m very pleased that the government have finally released them. I have no idea whether what they reveal will have any bearing on my case or not – but I’m extremely glad for those with current allegations that will be validated by the release of these files.
“It’s finally a step in the right direction by our government. There are many more steps that they need to take – but each one should be applauded.”