In 1984, he handed this dossier to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan containing details of the allegations he was aware of, and a list of the names of alleged abusers.
Also in that year he addressed the Commons during a debate on his proposed Child Protection bill in which he hinted heavily at the nature of what he knew:
I have actually seen publications advertising holidays abroad in Commonwealth countries with children provided and an application form too distressing to describe in this House.... When I asked the Prime Minister at Question Time whether the spy Geoffrey Prime was involved in child abuse a few months before his trial, the very question drew laughter in this Chamber. When it was revealed at the spy trial that Geoffrey Prime had been detected as a spy through child offences, there was no laughter. I know exactly what I am up against, for I know that within the Establishment there are those who would not wish to see a change in the law. It is a fact that adults in every walk of life are to be found involving themselves in paedophilia. They range from some of the highest in the land to misfits in society.
The precise contents of the dossier given to Brittan were never disclosed and its fate is now the subject of intense scrutiny. Brittan himself has offered contradictory explanations. To some, his recollection of the events is suspicious in itself, while others point out that it is hardly unknown to struggle to remember exactly events of thirty years past.
In 1985, during a debate in Parliament, Dickens intimated that his campaign on the matter had actually led to death threats. He mentioned 'important names' and his name being on a 'hit list'.
"...vast sums are exchanged for child-adult pornography. The noose around my neck grew tighter after I named a former high-flying British diplomat on the Floor of the House. Hon. Members will understand that where big money is involved and as important names came into my possession so the threats began. First, I received threatening telephone calls followed by two burglaries at my London home. Then, more seriously, my name appeared on a multi-killer's hit list. So the threats went on."
What these allegations actually meant, or on what information they were based is unclear at this remove.
In 2014, several newspapers alluded to Hayman as being involved with military intelligence in a senior capacity (although this information was without citation). If this is true, it casts a potential new light on the story.
Counterpoint: Dickens as Unreliable Witness
While Dickens is being lauded by many for his role in trying to expose the alleged paedophile ring at Westminster, there is also evidence in the record that he used his parliamentary position to foment belief in Satanic Ritual Abuse. In 1988, he addressed Parliament on the topic of 'Occult Societies':
"...it is necessary to ensure that the Home Office is aware of and alert to the rapid growth in the United Kingdom of black witchcraft and Satanism.The fear of the devil is being put into children's minds, and that is evil. This black magic influence is so strong and dangerous that the power and command over adults and children is total. Disgusting ceremonies are held, in which children are sexually abused by Satanists. Paedophiles are joining such groups because they have found yet another way to get their hands on children whom they know will be too terrified to talk. It is within my knowledge that children who have escaped are under treatment and are still receiving psychiatric care and help from their local priests."
Several of the elements that were present during the 'satanic panic' that swept the country just a couple of years later are mentioned here: secret ceremonies, ritualised child abuse, escaped 'survivors,' All of these were motifs that later informed the disastrous decisions made by social workers and police to break up and destroy the lives of hundreds of families in the early nineties.
Bearing this in mind, it is worth noting the commonality in Dickens' hints that he has direct personal knowledge of cases - inferring that there is more to be said. Perhaps most damningly are his closing remarks in that debate:
"...that warning is duly recorded in the Official Report of our proceedings. It is my intention in a few weeks' time to hand a dossier to the Home Office, compiled by Childwatch and me."
Dickens also used the cloak of Parliamentary Privilege to name suspects in other cases. This led to complaints in the House that he was effectively misusing the privilege with the effect of potentially thwarting the justice he claimed to wish seeing being served. In 1986, for example, Kevin McNamara - then MP for Hull - decried Dickens for publicly naming a suspect in this way, leading to:
"...a person is being tried by the media and would have been subject to a form of parliamentary lynch-law..."
In light of this, doubts should be raised about Dickens' reliability, but in the febrile atmosphere currently surrounding the issue of child abuse we predict that he will continue to be elevated to posthumous secular sainthood.