The Cabinet Office apologised for the ‘flaw’ in the way they responded to a request for information during the Wanless-Whittam Review. A supplementary report to the review was released on the government website today and can be found here.
Clockwise from top left: Morrison, Brittan, Van Straubenzee, Hayman
Key Westminster figures from the 1970s and 1980s have been named in a series of Government child abuse documents.
After months of requests from Sky News the Government has revealed that papers exist that relate to Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee.
All four have passed away and the contents of the papers have not been revealed.
Extract from the letter from Richard Heaton, Cabinet Office, 5th May 2015 to Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam:
As you know, there was a flaw in the way in which the Cabinet Office initially responded to your call for a search of departmental papers. I am writing with an explanation for that error, and an apology.
The additional papers that Roger Smethurst showed you when you visited the Cabinet Office on 16 February and 24 March, and which had not been earlier identified, fall into three categories.
The first is the PREM file about Sir Peter Hayman. This file was held by the Cabinet Office and it should have been identified as relevant to your review. It was overlooked, and that may have been because it appeared in The National Archives catalogue. In any event, on behalf of the Cabinet Office, I am very sorry for the oversight and for our failure to identify this file earlier.
Second, a PREM file about Sir William van Straubenzee was identified in late January 2015. This file did not meet your search criteria and was part of a batch of files that had been selected for destruction in 2013, before your Inquiry began, as part of our routine records management process: To guard against the destruction of historically important records, The National Archives team checks files selected for destruction. As a consequence, on 22 January The National Archives referred the file to the Cabinet Office to be reviewed. On review my team noted that the file contained references to the Kincora Boys’ Home; Roger Smethurst promptly drew this to your attention.
The final group of papers about Peter Morrison, Leon Brittan, Peter Hayman, William van Straubenzee and Colin Wallace’s allegations about Kincora were found in a separate Cabinet Office store of assorted and unstructured papers. This collection, colloquially known as the Cabinet Secretary’s miscellaneous papers, has accumulated over several decades and was closed in 2007. It was largely uncatalogued and unregistered. We have been aware for some time that this is an unsatisfactory position.