David Cameron has ordered an investigation into whether the North Wales child abuse inquiry “properly did its job” following allegations a senior Tory was involved.
The Prime Minister said he was taking action to make sure the “truly dreadful” claims were not left “hanging in the air”.
The independent investigation will look at whether the Waterhouse Inquiry, held 12 years ago into abuse at the Bryn Estyn children’s home in the 1970s and 1980s, was “properly constituted”.
Steve Messham, a victim of the scandal, claims that a senior Conservative Party figure was among those involved in abuse.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Mr Cameron said: “These actions are truly dreadful and they mustn’t be left hanging in the air. So I am taking action today, first of all to make sure that Mr Messham can meet urgently with the Secretary of State for Wales so he he can hear his allegations and his points directly.
“Secondly, I am going to be asking a senior independent figure to lead an urgent investigation into whether the original inquiry was properly constituted and properly did its job and to report urgently to the Government.
“But third, I would also urge anyone who knows anything about these matters to go to the police. That is where evidence should be taken so that action can be taken and we can deal with this dreadful, dreadful issue.”
In an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight last week, Mr Messham claimed that he was taken out of Bryn Estyn and “sold” to men for sexual abuse at a nearby hotel. He said a senior Tory from the time, who was not named by the programme, had been involved.
Mr Messham criticised Sir Ronald Waterhouse’s inquiry, arguing that its terms of reference meant he was not able to raise the issue of abuse that took place outside the care system.
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said the Welsh Government took the allegations “very seriously”.
“In the first instance, victims of abuse who feel that the abuse they suffered was not investigated properly should report their cases to the police. My officials have been in touch with North Wales Police.”
He added: “I have asked for urgent advice on the terms of reference of the Waterhouse Inquiry at the time when it was set up.
“I need to understand fully what was included in those terms of reference and what was excluded. In due course that will enable me to consider, with others, whether any further inquiry might be necessary.”
Welsh Secretary David Jones said he will meet Mr Messham to discuss the allegations.
“I am grateful that Mr Messham has come forward and I look forward to meeting him tomorrow,” he said.
“I have spoken to the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, today and will meet with him later in the week.”