Requests have been submitted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to establish whether the spy agencies hold documentation of relevance to issues relating to Westminster child abuse allegations.
At an IICSA hearing on October 30, it was stated that “The possibility that the security and intelligence agencies may have been involved, in one way or another, in covering up Westminster-related child abuse allegations is a matter of serious public concern. Addressing that concern is one of the core tasks of this investigation.”
The respective spy agencies are cooperating fully with the IICSA inquiry and have already provided relevant material to the inquiry.
Andrew O’Connor, QC, the inquiry counsel, said “We have been asked expressly on behalf of several of the core participants whether all of the evidence from the security and intelligence agencies will be given in public hearings, or whether it will be necessary for some of their evidence to be adduced in a closed hearing — in other words, in secret.”, and went on to say “The short answer to this is that the position is not yet clear. We very much hope that all the agencies’ evidence will be given in public hearings. We know from our discussions with them that the agencies recognise both the importance of this investigation and the need for its work to be as transparent as possible. They have told us that they wish to be as open as possible. However, it is, of course, inherent in the work that the agencies do that some information — about, for example, records that they do or do not hold — cannot be given publicly without damaging national security interests.”
You can download a copy of the IICSA transcript here.
Full evidence hearings on the Westminster issues are scheduled for March, 2019 but the inquiry heard that the allegations that led to it being set up by Theresa May, when she was home secretary in 2014, were no longer part of the investigation. Theresa May created the inquiry due to claims that a powerful paedophile ring had murdered children during “sex parties” at the Dolphin Square apartment complex.
The allegations subsequently led to Scotland Yard’s Operation Midland investigation, based on the statements of a man known as “Nick”, which resulted in public figures including Field Marshal Lord Bramall and the former home secretary Leon Brittan being wrongly accused.
Andrew O’Connor, QC, said the decision not to investigate Operation Midland during the public inquiry is now “particularly compelling” because of fairness of the criminal proceedings.