At least 20 high-profile members of the British Establishment formed a VIP paedophile ring that abused children for decades, a whistleblower claimed.
Peter McKelvie, the former child protection manager, said senior politicians, military figures and even people linked to the Royal Family were among the alleged abusers.
The campaigner, who first raised the alarm about prominent individuals engaged in child sex abuse two years ago, said the conspiracy may have been going on for 65 years.
Speaking in public for the first time in 20 years, the former local authority child protection chief said there were still people in power who had been involved in child abuse two decades ago.
While working in Hereford and Worcester, he helped to convict notorious child abuser Peter Righton – once one of the country’s most respected authorities on child care.
Righton, who is now dead, was also a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) – which tried to decriminalise sex between children and adults, before he was convicted of importing child abuse images.
Mr McKelvie told police in 2012 that seven boxes of potential evidence about Righton were being stored by West Mercia Police, and that these might contain evidence of further abuse by senior members of the establishment.
He told the BBC: ‘For the last 30 years – and longer than that – there have been a number of allegations made by survivors that people at the top of very powerful institutions in this country, which include politicians, judges, senior military figures and even people that have links with the Royal Family, have been involved in the abuse of children.
‘At the most serious level, we’re talking about the brutal rape of young boys.’
Mr McKelvie said the child abusers made up a ‘small percentage’ of the British Establishment, but ‘a slightly larger percentage’ knew about it but did not report it to the police.
He said these people ‘felt that’ in terms of their own self-interest and self-preservation and for political party reasons, it has been safer for them to cover it up than deal with it.’
The retired civil servant said he had once tried to blow the whistle with a ‘very prominent figure’ in the Labour Party when the party was in opposition, but ‘nothing came of it’.
Mr McKelvie also took his concerns to Labour MP Tom Watson, who then raised the matter in Parliament two years ago.
His comments prompted the Scotland Yard inquiry known as Operation Fairbank, into claims of a pedophile network linked to Downing Street.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight, Mr McKelvie added: ‘Over many years I’ve spoken to a considerable number of victims and most recently victims of perhaps the most powerful elite group of paedophiles.
‘Because the worst part of sexual abuse is the power that powerful people have over them. And they don’t believe that power can ever be broken.’
The evidence from West Mercia Police includes letters between Righton, who was a consultant to the National Children’s Bureau before he was unmasked, and other suspected paedophiles.
He welcomed the two inquiries ordered on Monday by Home Secretary Theresa May but said the allegations should have been taken up ‘a very long time ago’.
He said: ‘At last there is the very real prospect of survivors and victims having justice. I believe that there is strong evidence and an awful lot of information that can be converted into evidence if it is investigated properly.
‘There has been an extremely powerful elite, among the highest levels of the political classes, for as long as I have been alive – and I am 65 now.
‘There has been sufficient reason to investigate it over and over again – certainly for the last 30 years – and there has always been the block, the cover-up and the collusion to prevent that.’
Parties must reveal what whips knew
The Lib Dems, Tories and Labour were last night forced to agree to trawl through their records for evidence that party whips covered up historic allegations of child abuse against MPs.
A senior civil servant last night insisted all public bodies – including political parties – should carry out a sweep of their documents for any evidence of a conspiracy of silence.
Mark Sedwill, permanent secretary at the Home Office, said ‘all bodies’ should carry out investigations to see whether they hold files or evidence relevant to a new, wide-ranging inquiry into historic paedophile allegations.
He told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee this included the offices of party whips – the senior MPs in charge of discipline in political parties. His intervention raises the prospect of current and former MPs who served as whips being questioned about what they knew of rumours or allegations against colleagues.
They have long been said to hold ‘little black books’ containing damaging information against colleagues they want to control.
Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems indicated last night that they would co-operate in full.
This week Labour MP Lisa Nandy raised in the Commons remarks by the late Conservative MP Tim Fortescue, who was a whip in Edward Heath’s government between 1970 and 1973.
He said in a 1995 documentary that MPs ‘in trouble’ would ask the whips’ office for help when in difficulty.
Mr Fortescue, who died aged 92 in 2008, claimed he could assist MPs with scandals, including those ‘involving small boys’, to exert control over them later and make sure they followed the party line.
He said: ‘For anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?”.
‘We would do everything we can because we would store up Brownie points. That sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but if we could get a chap out of trouble then he will do as we ask forever more.’
Former Conservative chief whip Mr Heath pioneered the keeping of a ‘dirt book’ about MPs’ private lives for his political advantage.
Conservative MP Mark Reckless suggested there should be checks to ensure that whips’ offices co-operated with any police inquiries into historic abuse allegations. He said a debate in the Nineties about whether whips’ notes were personal or government property had led to a new shredding procedure.
A Tory spokesman said: ‘Conservative whips will review their records and co-operate fully.’
Labour said: ‘We will do everything in our power to help the inquiry.’
The Lib Dems said: ‘We will cooperate with the inquiries in whatever way we can.’