Hit or Miss: Cameron orders inquiry into Westminster paedophilia allegations

Prime Minister David Cameron faces a perfect storm over claims that a child abuse ring operated at the heart of Westminster during the 1980s - a toxic combination of historic abuse, paedophiles and missing documents.

David Cameron: Has now pledged a full inquiry into the allegations
David Cameron: Has now pledged a full inquiry into the allegations

The storm began to gather when it emerged that the late Conservative MP, Geoffrey Dickens, handed the then home secretary Leon Brittan a dossier on alleged child abuse that subsequently went missing.

Since then, the Prime Minister, who is not linked to the allegations, has asked the Home Office to look again at the handling of the historic allegations and has pledged to leave "no stone unturned" to find the truth.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced a review of the allegations yesterday, to be led by the head of the NSPCC, as well as a ‘Hillsborough-style’ inquiry led by experts on law and child protection.

How I See It

Jo Tanner, director, iNHouse Communications

After the Prime Minister looked somewhat on the back foot while MPs and the media clamoured for action, the announcement of two major inquiries is undoubtedly welcome. Last week, media commentators were warning this could be bigger than the Profumo and expenses scandals put together.

As the media bids grow and leader writers call for action, the pressure inside a press office can be almost unbearable and holding your nerve is a real test of strength. This was a moment when David Cameron showed substance over style - it was right that the Government did not leap to a half-baked announcement and instead set out the scope of the investigations and the involvement of the NSPCC chief.

So while the communications professional in me recognises the media pressure and the natural instinct to provide a speedier response, it is essential to get the content right. The victims involved clearly deserve an inquiry which, in Cameron’s words, will "leave no stone unturned" and so it has to be better to take the time to make a more comprehensive announcement with some significant details confirmed.

Ultimately this is a ‘better late than never' rather than a direct hit for Cameron, but it is important to acknowledge the tightrope that has been walked here. Let’s just hope we can finally get to the truth.  

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