Former Home Secretary Lord Brittan named in government child abuse files

Former Cabinet minister Leon Brittan was named in top secret government files relating to historical child abuse in Westminster.

The contents of the unreleased documents are unknown but they reveal such papers do exist.

Margaret Thatcher's former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison, ex-minister Sir William van Straubenzee and former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman are also mentioned.

All four men have since died so cannot be held accountable for anything which may be in the files.

The papers, which also contain references to the Kincora children's home in Northern Ireland where boys were abused, were "found in a separate Cabinet Office store of assorted and unstructured papers".

One relating to Hayman had been previously "overlooked" during a previous trawl for information.

And documents that refer to Straubenzee had been earmarked for destruction but National Archives officials flagged them up to the Government.

Sir Peter Hayman is said to have participated in 'unnatural sexual behaviours'. Credit: PA

The Home Office admitted the documents had been found following a fresh search of the archives.

It was carried out after a file emerged earlier this year that should have been submitted to the inquiry into the handling of the allegations.

Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC, reported last year that they had found no evidence records were deliberately removed or destroyed.

But they warned that the emergence of papers after the review had been completed was not "helpful" in giving the public confidence in the process.

The investigators also revealed that allegations about an MP with a "penchant for small boys" were dismissed on the basis of his word with the potential political fallout the top priority rather than the risk to children.

The files, many of which were requested by Sky News, have been passed on to the independent Child Abuse Inquiry led by High Court judge Lowell Goddard.