New search: Theresa May ordered the Wanless review, which has failed to find crucial documents
A dossier containing claims about paedophiles at the heart of the Establishment has vanished, an official review has found.
The failure to discover the “Dickens” dossier fuelled fears of a past cover-up to protect Westminster and other senior figures.
The review, led by the NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless, investigated how the Home Office handled child sex abuse allegations at Westminster in the Eighties.
But the Standard understands it has been unable to uncover crucial missing files including the dossier handed to the Home Office by former Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens. The documents are believed to contain the names of MPs and police officers who were suspected of being child abusers.
A Whitehall review last year found no evidence that relevant material was not passed to other authorities.
But Home Secretary Theresa May ordered the Wanless review after it emerged that the Home Office had “lost or destroyed” 114 files and could find no evidence of the information compiled by Mr Dickens.
A source, though, told BBC Newsnight: “They have looked inside and behind every single cupboard in the department, and they have been round them twice, and they have not been able to find any of them.”
Lord Brittan, who was Home Secretary at the time, has strongly denied claims that he failed to act properly in dealing with the Dickens document.
However, Labour MPs raised concerns today over the latest review.Backbench MP John Mann said: “It doesn’t seem to me it’s getting anywhere near asking the questions.
“If one civil servant saw the file, and says many others did as well, and doesn’t want to speak out because of the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act, then that’s what Wanless needed to be asking questions about.”
He claimed “at least seven prominent people” were facing police investigations into child abuse.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk said: “I am worried Peter Wanless has been set up to fail in many respects.
“I don’t think he was given enough time to carry out this investigation. I don’t think he was provided with enough support within the Home Office and I am worried he didn’t get the technological support.”
The Home Office declined to comment on the Wanless review’s findings ahead of its publication.
Mrs May apologised in the Commons last week in the wake of the resignation of the second chairwoman appointed to lead a wider inquiry into historic child sex abuse. Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, resigned last Friday following disclosures about her social links to Lord Brittan, prompting Mrs May to announce the inquiry would begin without a chairman next Wednesday.
LONDON EVENING STANDARD