It has been reported that former Home Secretary Leon Brittan – who held the position under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government – refused to ban the paedophile support group Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) while he was in office.
Comments made between Lord Brittan when he was Home Secretary and campaigning Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens 30 years ago have been published.
Mr Dickens was pressing the Home Office to take action against PIE at the time – but the Home Secretary decided that he wanted to see if existing laws would be sufficient to deal with the group.
Since his death, Lord Brittan has been the subject of allegations regarding child abuse – and of failing to take action against child abuse within government.
There have also been allegations of a cover up over the disappearance of a 40-page “Dickens dossier” containing historic child abuse allegations against government figures.
In July 2014, Lord Brittan also questioned by detectives investigating a woman’s allegation that she was raped by him in 1967, when she was 19.
Allegations about politicians and other leading public figures sexually abusing young boys in care centre on the Elm House Guest House and also luxury apartments in Dolphin Square, both in southwest London.
In documents released under a Freedom of Information request by the BBC are detailed notes of a meeting between Mr Brittan and Mr Dickens.
They reveal the Home Secretary was opposed to an outright ban of PIE, claiming that many child abusers were not connected to it.
Minutes of the meeting – which took place on 23 November 1983 –
reveal that he told Mr Dickens that he also sought “the protection of children”. However, he added that he wanted to see “how the present law stood” – and was awaiting the outcome of an ongoing trial of a PIE activist.
The minutes of the meeting state:
“There was, however, the fundamental objection to banning an organisation that if members of the organisation were doing a mischief, it was the mischief which ought to be banned, not the organisation.”
Three months before the meeting between Leon Brittan and Geoffey Dickens, Mr Dickens had vowed to the Home Secretary that he “would not rest” until PIE was outlawed.
Lord Brittan died in January 2015 from cancer.
An independent inquiry led by New Zealand Justice Lowell Goddard has been set up to investigate claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.
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