William Hague is braced for criticism over an alleged cover-up in a paedophile scandal linked to a close ally of Margaret Thatcher.
An official report into the North Wales care homes scandal, in which up to 650 children were raped or assaulted in the Seventies and Eighties, is expected to drag in the former Cabinet Minister.
In 1996, as Welsh Secretary in John Major’s Government, Hague ordered an inquiry. But after claims it let public figures off the hook, Home Secretary Theresa May called a fresh probe in 2012.
Whitehall sources anticipate that the new inquiry, due to be published this year, will accuse the Welsh Office of mishandling the issue.
It comes as evidence emerged suggesting Mr Hague was aware of the link between Tory MP Sir Peter Morrison (a former aide to Margaret Thatcher) and the scandal.
Fresh evidence on Mr Hague’s role is contained in a book by Mr Brandreth, who succeeded Sir Peter as Tory MP for Chester, 17 miles from Bryn Estyn, in 1992. In an updated edition of his memoirs, Breaking The Code, he says Mr Hague told him about the link at the time.
Mr Brandreth, a Tory Whip at the time, writes: ‘The first, and only, official acknowledgement of my predecessor’s possible involvement in child abuse came my way in 1996 when William Hague, then Secretary of State for Wales, came up to me in the House of Commons to let me know that he had ordered an inquiry into allegations of child abuse in care homes in North Wales between 1974 and 1990 – and that Peter’s name might feature in connection with the Bryn Estyn home in Wrexham.’
In an article in the Daily Mail published in October 2012, former Conservative MP and leader of the Welsh Tories Rod Richards claimed that Morrison (and another Tory grandee who has not been named) was connected to the terrible abuse scandals in Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn children’s homes, in North Wales, having seen documents which identified both politicians as frequent, unexplained visitors. Richards also claimed that William Hague, who was Secretary of State for Wales from 1995 to 1997, and who set up the North Wales Child Abuse inquiry, would have seen the files on Morrison.