Theresa May's announcement over abuse inquiry to be more 'significant' than first thought

Thumb_chris-ship
The Home Secretary will announce a review into historic child abuse allegations this afternoon.
The Home Secretary will announce a review into historic child abuse allegations this afternoon. Credit: PA

By Chris Ship - ITV News Deputy Political Editor

The Home Secretary is likely to go much further than anticipated when she announces review into historic child abuse allegations this afternoon.

Theresa May will make a statement to MPs in the House of Commons after the claims cast a dark shadow over Westminster and the civil service.The claims date back to the 1980s.

At the time, the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens handed a potentially "explosive" document to the then Home Secretary, Leon - now Lord - Brittan.

The dossier has not been found - despite the Home Office claiming it went to the appropriate authorities, thought to be the police and Director of Public Prosecutions.

At the weekend, the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Mark Sedwill, revealed that 114 files had gone missing or had been destroyed.

He also said that four files relating to allegations of child abuse involving Home Office officials had only been handed to the police last year - three decades after the claims were made.

The Government is under pressure to hold a 'Hillsborough-style' public inquiry into the various allegations of child abuse in different corners of the Establishment.

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, is among around 150 MPs who have called for such a move.

Mrs May, however, will stop short of announcing a full public inquiry but Downing Street sources say her statement will be 'significant' and will go much further than many had thought.

Last week, the Labour MP, Simon Danczuk, who has lead calls for an inquiry told ITV News that his office had been contacted by other alleged victims with around a dozen new leads - many of which threw up the name of the same former MP.

More: Theresa May to order independent investigation into sex abuse claims