Former Home Secretary Sir Leon Brittan
Brittan has confirmed he received dossierReuters

The controversy surrounding claims of a paedophile ring operating in Westminster in the 1980s has intensified with a former minister threatening to "name and shame" suspects.

For the second day running Downing Street has refused to launch an over-arching inquiry into the allegations and a missing dossier said to include "explosive" details of the alleged child sex abuse ring.

The prime minister's spokesman again insisted any allegations should be taken to the police who were the right people to investigate any allegations.

But former Tory children's minister, Tim Loughton, said he is ready to use the protection of parliamentary privilege to name suspected paedophiles unless a full inquiry is launched.

"Like many in Westminster, I was gravely concerned by the news the dossier compiled by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, who spent his career fighting child abuse, had been lost. Inevitably there is conjecture that someone deliberately lost it or hushed it up. Who did this? Were they politicians, civil servants, or police complicit in a cover-up?

"There will be those who will want to know why I and my colleagues do not use parliamentary privilege to name and shame suspected paedophiles in the Commons. I call it the nuclear option, and it might come to that," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

Home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz
Vaz has called for an explanationReuters

And Lord Tebbit, a senior member of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet at the time of the original affair, added his voice to the 139 MPs demanding an inquiry and proper explanation of what happened to the dossier.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that a senior Tory politician said to be part of a child sex ring was allegedly stopped by a customs officer with child pornography videos in the 1980s but was neither arrested nor charged after senior officers received the material.

The MP is believed to have been named in the dossier compiled by former Tory MP Dickens in the 1980s and passed to the then Home Secretary Lord Brittan but has since been lost or destroyed.

All the allegations relate to the dossier compiled by Dickens which Brittan confirmed he received in the mid-1980s and passed to officials and police at the time. No action followed and the documents have since gone missing.

But Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who helped reveal details of child sex abuse by former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, has demanded a Hillsborough-style inquiry into all the historic allegations.

He fears people will believe there has been an establishment coverup and this week told a Commons committee that politics was "the last refuge of child sex abuse deniers".

The chairman of the committee, Labour's Keith Vaz, has asked the Home Office permanent secretary, Mark Sedwill, to explain what happened to the dossier.

What many in Westminster believe is that this affair is gaining a momentum of its own and that, in the end, a full inquiry drawing together all strands of the ongoing sex abuse inquiries is needed.

Much of the rumour and speculation surrounding the Dickens' dossier, along with the names of very senior suspects, was widely discussed in Westminster at the time but there never appeared to be any hard evidence and no action was ever taken.

Political journalists were certainly aware of the names of individuals suspected of involvement in child sex abuse but, again, there was never any hard evidence.

In fact there were even claims the rumours were themselves part of a shadowy campaign to discredit high-ranking individuals.

Now, 30 years later, it appears the allegations might finally be addressed and, if any of the suspicions which were raised in the 1980s turn out to be true, and action is taken, it could rock the establishment.