More than 100 potentially crucial files to the investigation of historic child sex abuse claims in Westminster have gone missing.
The Home Office has admitted that more than 100 official files relating to allegations of historical child abuse by politicians have been lost or destroyed.
The department’s permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, said the documents – which related to a 20-year period between 1979 and 1999 – were “presumed destroyed, missing or not found.”
The disclosure came as Mr. Sedwill said he will appoint a senior legal figure to assess the Home Office’s handling of a dossier alleging historical child abuse involving powerful and famous figures at Westminster in the 1980s.
Shamed children’s entertainer Jimmy Savile and disgraced MP Cyril Smith are two names which are said to be contained in the dossier, which the Home Office says is also missing.
It follows the Prime Minister’s call for him to establish what happened to the file which was handed to the then home secretary Leon (now Lord) Brittan by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.
Lord Brittan admitted he had received the dossier and passed it on to officials, but no action was ever taken.
In a letter to the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Mr. Sedwill revealed that while the original review had identified 527 potentially relevant files which had been retained, there were a further 114 files which could not be located.
He said that the investigation had not found a single dossier from Mr. Dickens, but several sets of correspondence over a number of years to a number of home secretaries contained claims of sexual offences.
However he said that the review had found no record of specific allegations by Mr. Dickens of child sex abuse by senior figures.
“Like any other citizen, I am horrified by what we have learnt in the past couple of years about the systematic abuse of children and vulnerable adults by prominent public figures, and the state’s failure to protect them,” he wrote.
“Some have been brought to justice and I hope that the police investigations now under way across the country are equally successful. The Home Office has and will co-operate fully with any police inquiry.”
Earlier, David Cameron faced criticism for an “inadequate” investigation into what happened to the dossier.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, whose campaign raised the issue of what happened to the Dickens’ file at a Commons Home Affairs Committee hearing, said there needed to be a public inquiry.
He told SKY News: “The public are very clearly concerned and they won’t be satisfied with another review by Home Office officials.”
“Reviews like this often prove to be whitewashes.”
“The Prime Minister should establish an over-arching review led by child protection experts to draw together the results from all these different cases, investigations and institutional inquiries.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband has told SKY News that as well as a “thorough review” of what happened at the Home Office, there must also be a wider look at child protection.
The Met Police said in a statement: “We are currently assessing information and conducting a number of investigations under Operation Fairbank.”
“Any material submitted to us, historic or current, is reviewed to establish if it is relevant to these.”
Calls for more to be done about allegations of child sex abuse by politicians have increased since the 2010 death of Liberal Democrat MP Cyril Smith, who was subsequently said to have been a paedophile.