Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan

Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan

Top-secret files relating to former Cabinet minister Leon Brittan have been handed over to the child sex abuse inquiry, following an historical review.

Brittan, who died earlier this year after a long battle with cancer, has long been linked to allegations of paedophilia and an establishment cover-up. The Jewish politician was a key figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government before becoming a European Commissioner.

New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard, who is heading up an overarching inquiry into historical child sex abuse, will look into allegations relating to Brittan and Lord (Greville) Janner.

Other establishment figures have also been named, including Peter Morrison, who was an aide to Margaret Thatcher, ex-diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister William van Straubenzee.

The idea of a high-level cover-up has been gaining prominence in recent months, with revelations that key files had been “lost” or “overlooked” during previous investigations.

Some of the newly-released documents also reveal that the then director general of MI5 spoke to the Cabinet Secretary in 1986 about an unnamed MP with “a penchant for small boys”. The idea was dismissed at the time, on the basis of the MP’s word.

Campaigners have repeatedly despaired at the ineptitude of the civil service to acknowledge that there was a problem, with NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless this week saying: “The risk to children is just not considered at all.”