According to John Mann MP the missing Barbara Castle files included “leaked Home Office minutes of meetings”.
In 1983, Geoffrey Dickens had a thirty-minute meeting with the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, after giving him a dossier containing the child abuse allegations. These documents are currently referred to as ‘The Dickens Dossier’
Over the last year there have been attempts to down play the significance of these documents and Geoffrey Dickens himself by quite a few sources. Most notably by David Mellor who served under Leon Brittan as a Home Office minister at the time and went on to become a Cabinet Minister himself serving as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of State for National Heritage under John Major in the early 1990’s
“My only recollection of this from my time at the Home Office was the suggestion there wasn’t much to it,” he told Sky News.
“The real crunch point for me is if – and I don’t believe this for a millisecond – Leon Brittan had not taken appropriate action, Geoffrey Dickens lived for another 11 years and there is no evidence he went back and followed it up.”
Only this Monday the Home Secretary Theresa May referred to the documents in her statement as the “SO CALLED Dickens Dossier” The emphasis on ‘So called’ was hers and it seemed like yet another attempt at down playing their significance.
News that there were minuted (therefore on the record and official) meetings (note the plural) regarding the Dickens Dossier seems to strengthen rather than diminish their importance.
One thing is for sure, even if the Home Office have ‘lost’ the dossier itself, they couldn’t have lost the official Home Office minutes of meetings which discussed it.
Could they ?
Nothing would surprise me any more and like everyone else I’ll be eager to see if there is any reference to these minutes in the Wanless Report when it’s published next week.