The Wokingham Paper

Former Wokingham MP is named in child abuse files

Parliament
The Houses of Parliament

WOKINGHAM’S former MP has been named as a possible sex offender in a series of newly disclosed documents relating to historic child abuse.

The papers had previously been thought to be missing but came to light earlier this week.
Sir William van Straubenzee, who served as a cabinet minister under Edward Heath and was knighted in 1982, was one of three MPs listed in files uncovered after an investigation by Sky News.

The broadcaster revealed on Wednesday that the papers relate to Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and Sir William. All four men have died.

The exact contents of the Government documents have not been revealed, although they will be passed on to a Child Abuse Inquiry which is being led by one of the country’s top judges, Justice Lowell Goddard.

Sir William, who died in 1999, was Wokingham MP from 1959 until 1987, when John Redwood took over.

During his time in Parliament, he served as Northern Ireland secretary, chaired the Conservative backbench committee on Education, and was also a member of General Synod – the governing body of the Church of England – between 1975 and 1985.
Early on in his parliamentary career, he was honorary secretary of the Federation of Conservative students.

While the contents of the papers remain a secret, it has been revealed that there were concerns over abuse at the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland. The Belfast home has previously been linked with abuse allegations.

In January, it was revealed that in 1980, the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was briefed about the “unnatural sexual proclivities” of Sir Peter.

An NSPCC statement said: “This is a clear illustration, as the original review revealed, of the misplaced priorities of those operating at the highest levels of government where people simply weren’t thinking of crimes against children and the consequences of those crimes in a way that we would expect them to. It reiterates the need for an inquiry that will explore this in depth.”

The Child Abuse Inquiry being undertaken by Justice Goddard is not expect to report its findings until 2020.

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