paedophile MPs
Leon Brittan (L) and Peter Hayman were named by alleged victims as being involved in child abuse rings Getty

After years of rumour and speculation, the Cabinet office has finally confirmed that high-ranking figures within Westminster from the 1970s and 1980s are the subject of government files relating to child abuse allegations.

Former Home Secretary Sir Leon Brittan, diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, minister Sir William van Straubenzee and aide to Margaret Thatcher Sir Peter Morrison are all named in the confidential files. All four are now deceased and unable to defend themselves.

The Cabinet Office was pressured into admitting the existence of the files by Sky News, which has been requesting access to the files for some time. The file contents themselves have not been released, but one is believed to relate to Kincora children's home in Belfast.

Dolphin Square estate
Dolphin Square estate in Westminster – the location of alleged sexual assaults on children by political figures Wikipedia

In January, Sky News obtained details of another file relating to Hayman which was prepared for then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The file, now released to the National Archive, said he participated in "unnatural sexual" behaviour.

Hayman, who also worked in intelligence for MI6, was let off with a caution when police discovered he was in possession of extreme child pornography, which he also shared with other abusers.

Rumours of a paedophile ring operating within the highest echelons of Westminster and Downing Street have been circulating for years, with rumours of paedophile orgies at Dolphin Square and even the murder of young children.

Sir Leon, who died in January 2015, was again named in connection with the rumours this week when a man claiming to be a former victim alleged on Australian TV he got boys to wear women's underwear before "punishing" them. Sir Leon always denied the rumours against him.

A review of the Home Office's handling of the paedophile rumours last year found no evidence of a cover-up, but noted that many important files and documents had been mislaid or lost.

The Cabinet Office later wrote to the review's authors, NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless and barrister Richard Whittam QC, to apologise for not identifying the relevant papers.

Sky News says all documents it obtains will be passed to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse led by Justice Lowell Goddard.