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Bury St Edmunds: Cover-up in Westminster over alleged child abuse ‘to protect system’, claims Lord Tebbit

PUBLISHED: 13:13 06 July 2014 | UPDATED: 13:53 06 July 2014

Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy and the former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo, Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy and the former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo, Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

The former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit has said he believes there “may well” have been a political cover-up over child abuse in the 1980s.

Lord Tebbit, who served in a series of ministerial posts under Margaret Thatcher and lives in Bury St Edmunds, said the instinct of people at the time was to protect “the system” and not to delve too deeply into uncomfortable allegations.

His comment came as the Home Office announced a fresh review into what happened to a file alleging paedophile activity at Westminster which was handed to the then home secretary Leon (now Lord) Brittan by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.

Appearing on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, Lord Tebbit said: “At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it.

“That view, I think, was wrong then and it is spectacularly shown to be wrong because the abuses have grown.”

Asked if he thought there had been a “big political cover-up” at the time, he said: “I think there may well have been. But it was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did at that time.”

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