LONDON Britain pledged on Monday to investigate allegations that politicians may have sexually abused children in the 1980s and then used their position to scuttle attempts to uncover their crimes.
Claims of a high-level conspiracy to abuse children in the care of the state have roiled the political establishment after the unmasking of once-feted celebrities such as late television presenter Jimmy Savile as prolific child abusers.
"We need to get to the truth," finance minister George Osborne told BBC radio from India. "We want to get to the truth and nothing but the truth and we will do it in an independent and authoritative way."
"We need to get to the bottom of what happened in many of our institutions including potentially at Westminster. And I think the best approach to this is to find an independent and authoritative way to investigate it."
Local media have claimed that a group of politicians and others in authority may have used their position to abuse children in care during the 1980s.
No evidence has yet been published to support the allegations, but fears that claims about the abuse were not properly investigated at the time were stoked when Britain's Home Office admitted 114 "potential relevant files" had been destroyed, were missing or could not be found.
Britain's interior minister, Theresa May, will make a statement to the House of Commons on the issue at about 14:30 GMT.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Stephen Addison)