'Allegations that the parliamentary whips’ offices suppressed evidence of MPs’ involvement in abuse are to be examined by the child abuse inquiry.
Unveiling priorities for the Westminster strand of its investigation, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said it would also look into whether police and prosecutors were prevented from pursuing sensitive cases involving politicians.
Substantive hearings into the claims – some of the most extraordinary to come before IICSA – are scheduled to be heard over a three-week period in March 2019.
Andrew O’Connor QC, counsel to inquiry, acknowledged that public concern over reports of a Westminster paedophile ring centred on Dolphin Square in London had “diminished” following a police investigation that decided not to bring any charges.
But there remain many issues that need to be examined in terms of how public institutions and bodies responded to allegations, he said.
O’Connor listed six main areas on which the Westminster investigation will focus. On the role of parliamentary whips, he suggested: “Is it possible that on occasions in the past [they] may have received allegations of child sexual abuse made against politicians in their own party, and then failed to report those allegations, or to take any other appropriate steps?'
Read more: Child abuse inquiry to cover 'concealment of evidence against MPs'
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