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http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/05/cameron-inquiry-north-wales-sex-ring

Cameron orders two more inquiries into alleged north Wales sex abuse ring

PM to establish urgent probe into conduct of Waterhouse inquiry as senior Tories are accused of being part of paedophile ring

Patrick Wintour and Steven Morris

The Guardian, Monday 5 November 2012 20.24 GMT

David Cameron orders an investigation into child abuse allegations linked to a senior Thatcher-era Conservative Link to video: Cameron says Wales child abuse claims will be investigated David Cameron battled to stay ahead of the swirl of allegations about child sex abuse in the UK, including the potential involvement of a close ally of Lady Thatcher, by announcing two further urgent inquiries into an alleged paedophile ring in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

Faced by claims that senior Conservative politicians and other establishment figures may have been involved in the scandal – and a subsequent cover-up – Cameron announced he would establish an urgent investigation by a senior independent figure into the conduct of the official Waterhouse inquiry into the child sex abuse ring, which was held between 1996 and 2000.

The prime minister is on an official visit to the Middle East. His spokesman in London said a separate inquiry was also expected to be held into the way the North Wales police had handled complaints at the time. That inquiry is likely to be conducted by the National Crime Agency.

Up to five different inquiries are now under way, or imminent, looking into various aspects of child abuse. But ministers feel they must be seen to be taking the allegations seriously, especially since the government has condemned the BBC for failing to be alert to allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile.

There is also a concern in government circles that victims' allegations about abuse were not taken seriously in the past, and that there must be a clear signal from the top of government that any culture of complacency is changing.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Cameron said: "Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime … These allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn't be left hanging in the air, so I'm taking action today.

"I'm going to be asking a senior independent figure to lead an urgent investigation into whether the original inquiry was properly constituted and properly did its job and to report urgently to the government."

Cameron also called on anyone who knows anything about the allegations of abuse to contact the police.

Cameron and the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, rushed to act as the media threatened to identify the senior Tory figure close to Lady Thatcher alleged to have been involved in the child abuse.

The government said they were acting largely due to the allegations made by the BBC Newsnight programme on Friday night, and not due to the campaign launched by the Labour MP Tom Watson.

Nevertheless Watson also urged the government to act after one of the alleged victims, Steve Messham, said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2000 had only covered a fraction of the assaults.

Messham will meet the Welsh secretary, David Jones, on Tuesday.

On Newsnight, Messham said he had been abused by the senior Tory and said the claims had been "swept under the carpet". According to reports at the weekend, as many as three victims have named the Tory grandee as one of their abusers. Newsnight said at least one other victim of abuse in the homes said he was abused by the politician.

In an extraordinary letter to the prime minister, Watson praised Cameron for acting swiftly, but then made a series of further allegations about the extent of the cover-up in other police forces.

"It is certainly important that government departments trawl their archives to see what documents they hold," said Watson. "But my experience of uncovering massive establishment conspiracies leaves me in no doubt that what you have suggested does not go anything like far enough. Its limited scope may even slow things down, muddy waters, damage trails. What is needed is a much wider, but equally immediate, investigation."

He adds: "Since sharing my concerns with you at PMQs, a number of people have come forward to say that they raised their suspicions with the police, but investigations were not carried out. One allegation involves alleged child abuse and a former cabinet minister. We both know that many untruths are told about politicians, but this allegation was specific, informed and appeared well corroborated."

The prime minister's official spokesman insisted Cameron was "very keen to ensure that everything is looked at properly and thoroughly and that no stone is left unturned".

Another alleged victim, Keith Gregory, claimed names of abusers were excised from the inquiry report, apart from individuals in the care homes, and that the culprits included "MPs, solicitors, factory directors, shopkeepers, senior police officers. The list goes on".

The Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, said: "The Welsh government takes these allegations very seriously but could I ask that in the first instance victims of abuse who feel the abuse they suffered was not investigated properly should report their cases to the police. My officials have been in touch with North Wales police regarding these matters."

Jones said the Waterhouse inquiry had been "extensive" and many of its recommendations for improving child protection were implemented by the Welsh government.

But he added: "I have asked for urgent advice on the terms of reference of the Waterhouse inquiry. I want to fully understand what was included and what was not. That will enable me to consider whether any further inquiry will be necessary."

Jones said he would meet with the children's commissioner – a role set up following the inquiry – so he could "hear his thoughts directly".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/05/tory-child-sex-ring-claim

Tory child sex abuse ring claim: Cameron races to control scandal• PM's office unveils two inquiries into child sex abuse claim

• North Wales inquiry and police response to be reviewed
• As many as five child abuse inquiries 'imminent'
• Tom Watson praises PM but calls for wider investigation

Patrick Wintour, political editor
Monday 5 November 2012

David Cameron has announced two inquiries into the north Wales child abuse scandal amid new claims that a Tory grandee was involved.

The government is racing to stay ahead of the swirl of allegations about child abuse in the UK by announcing two further inquiries into an alleged abuse ring in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

The first inquiry will look into the conduct of the original official inquiry into the child sex abuse ring and the second into the police handling of complaints at the time.

Faced by allegations that senior Conservative politicians may have been involved in the scandal at the time, David Cameron, while on an official visit to the Middle East, announced he would establish an urgent investigation into the conduct of the official inquiry held between 1996 and 2000.

In addition, the prime minister's spokesman in London said a separate inquiry will be held into the way in which the police handled the investigation.

The spokesman conceded as many as five different inquiries were now underway, or imminent, looking into aspects of child abuse.

The spokesman did not rule out an over-arching figure being asked to look at the lessons to be drawn from the inquiries now covering the BBC, the NHS, the police and government.

Cameron rushed to act as the media threatened to identify the senior Tory figure close to Lady Thatcher alleged to have been involved in the child abuse.

The Labour MP Tom Watson also urged the government to act after victim Steve Messham said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2000 only covered a fraction of the alleged assaults.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Cameron said: "Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime … These allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn't be left hanging in the air, so I'm taking action today.

"I'm going to be asking a senior independent figure to lead an urgent investigation into whether the original inquiry was properly constituted and properly did its job and to report urgently to the government."

Cameron also called on anyone who knows anything about the allegations of abuse to contact police.

Cameron said Messham would meet with the Welsh secretary, David Jones, on Tuesday.

Cameron cannot afford to be seen to be delaying any action concerning the allegations due to their seriousness, but also because the government has been so criticial of the BBC's own failure to act on allegations about child abuse by Jimmy Savile.

In an extraordinary letter to the prime minister, Tom Watson praised Cameron for acting swiftly, saying: "You have sent an important message about how seriously you take this matter."

However, he also made a series of further allegations. "It is certainly important that government departments trawl their archives to see what documents they hold," said Watson. "But my experience of uncovering massive establishment conspiracies leaves me in no doubt that what you have suggested does not go anything like far enough. Its limited scope may even slow things down, muddy waters, damage trails. What is needed is a much wider, but equally immediate, investigation."

He adds: "Since sharing my concerns with you at PMQs, a number of people have come forward to say that they raised their suspicions with the police, but investigations were not carried out. One allegation involves alleged child abuse and a former cabinet minister. We both know that many untruths are told about politicians, but this allegation was specific, informed and appeared well corroborated."

The prime minister's official spokesman insisted Cameron was "very keen to ensure that everything is looked at properly and thoroughly and that no stone is left unturned".

The BBC's Newsnight programme on Friday night accused a senior Tory of abusing children at a care home in north Wales. According to reports at the weekend, as many as three victims have named the Tory grandee as one of their abusers.

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