Home Office whistleblower 'warned to back off' over paedophile group concerns

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship speaks to the Home Office whistleblower. Credit: ITV News

By Chris Ship: Deputy Political Editor

The story of claims of a paedophile ring operating in Westminster takes a new turn each day.

We spoke tonight to a former official at the Home Office - who told us his department DID know that it was funding a notorious paedophile campaign group.

The man - who we are not naming - worked in the Home Office in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He became aware of a request to renew a grant to the Paedophile Information Exchange and told me that he is "absolutely certain" that he had a meeting with a manager to raise his concerns.

At the time the group - also known as PIE - was campaigning to lower the age of consent.

In fact, a Home Office review into the funding claims by this whistleblower described PIE as campaigning "for changes in the law so as to permit sexual activities between adults and children".

At the meeting with his superior - which the former civil servant told us was in the "first year of Margaret Thatcher's administration" - he questioned whether the Home Office should be "renewing" a grant to PIE.

That suggests the payment had been made before.

The story of claims of a paedophile ring operating in Westminster takes a new turn each day. Credit: ITV News

But his manager warned him to back off. The superior he spoke to, however, has since died.

The Home Office looked at these allegations after they were put in the public domain last year.

But that review concluded recently that the evidence did not exist to support the claim:

On the balance of probabilities and in the absence of supporting evidence or a corroborative account, the alleged funding from VSU to PIE did not take place.

The Home Affairs Select Committee grills Home Office Permanent Secretary Mark Sedwill. Credit: Pool

Our contact, however, told us the investigator never interviewed him - although he did provide written evidence to the inquiry. The absence of an interview was questioned today by one of the MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee.

The committee was questioning the Home Office's most senior civil servant about the child abuse allegations.

Mark Sedwill said the Home Office will look again at the 114 missing files from a dossier about the historic child abuse allegations, as well as the claims his department funded PIE.

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