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Investigation into handling of abuse complaints at Welsh care homes

Historic allegations of abuse at care homes in north Wales, allegedly involving a former senior Conservative politician, will be investigated, the British government has said.

Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons today
Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons today
Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT has announced the details of an inquiry into historic complaints of abuse that are alleged to have taken place in care homes in north Wales.

The Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs that the head of the National Crime Agency will head oversee the investigation which will look at allegations related to the Bryn Estyn care home as well as almost 40 other homes.

More allegations of abuse have emerged in recent weeks in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal that has rocked the BBC and which is already the subject of a massive investigation by the Metropolitan police.

The allegations relate to abuse carried out in the 1970s and 1980s and are said to involve an unnamed leading Conservative politician from Margaret Thatcher’s time as prime minister between 1979 and 1990.

The abuse claims were the subject of an inquiry in the 1990s which heard evidence from 650 people with more than 80 people named as abusers but concerns have been raised about whether this inquiry had sufficient remit.

Speaking yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Child abuse is an absolutely hateful and abhorrent crime and these allegations are truly dreadful and they mustn’t be left hanging in the air. So I am taking action today.”

Today in the House of Commons, May announced details of this investigation which will see NCA head Keith Bristow look at how claims were handled. He will report in April of next year.

Steve Messham, a victim of the scandal who made the claims about the unnamed Conservative party figure, told BBC Newsnight last week that he was abused by the politician more than a dozen times during the late 1970s.

On the same programme another alleged victim – who was not named, did not appear on camera and whose words were spoken by an actor – said that he was abused by the same politician.

The unidentified politician has denied the claims and told news outlets including Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph that he will sue if he is named.

- with reporting from AFP

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Hugh O'Connell

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