THE late Baroness Barbara Castle drew up a list of 16 MPs allegedly involved in child sex abuse in the 1980s, an inquiry has heard,

Investigative journalist Don Hale claims he was handed a dossier by the former Blackburn MP about the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).

The former editor of the Bury Messenger said it included a list of 16 MPs allegedly involved in paedophilia but was unable to remember a single name.

PIE advocated abolishing the age of consent for sexual activity and Mr Hale claimed the documents revealed many senior figures supported its aims.

Mr Hale was appearing before the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse heard.

He said in the summer of 1984, Baroness Castle handed him several sensitive documents to photocopy relating to parliamentary committee meetings discussing the PIE.

Mr Hale claimed all the documents was confiscated by officers from special branch as soon as he started trying to verify them.

The inquiry is examining allegations of historical sexual abuse by politicians and its cover-up.

Mr Hale went public with his allegations in national newspapers in 2014.

He claimed Leon Brittan chaired meetings discussing PIE and had been exploring the possibility of lowering the age of consent.

Other names implicated included Haslingden-born former Rossendale headteacher and later Conservative education minister Sir Rhodes Boyson.

Mr Hale claimed that among the documents was a list compiled by the parliamentary committee of 16 MPs actively involved in paedophilia.

He said he was visited by Liberal MP Cyril Smith demanding he hand over the documents the day before they were seized.

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In his evidence to the inquiry, Mr Hale said "Baroness Castle wanted me to write a story about the fact the meetings were taking place.

"She wanted me to expose quite a number of things.

"Barbara felt that everything seemed to go through Leon Brittan.

"In regards to the 16 names contained in the files who were involved in paedophilic activity, I have been asked many times to recall the names that I saw but I have been unable to recall them.

"I have no copy of that document. My recollection is that there were some important names but I just can't remember.

"The whole experience of being raided by special branch was a complete shock and you want to block things out of your mind."

Mr Hale alleged he was served with a 'D-Notice' to hand over the documents in the interests of national security.

He accepted that he had been paid for the 2014 newspaper articles.

In July 2014 then Blackburn MP Jack Straw, and Baroness Castle’s former assistants Janet Anderson and Anita Pollack said they had no knowledge of any such dossier.