THE sex offender crisis engulfing Education Secretary Ruth Kelly deepened last night, as it emerged that ministers are likely to be stripped of vetting powers.
It came as a Welsh politician became the first MP to publicly call for Ms Kelly - and Minister Kim Howells, the Pontypridd MP - to resign over their roles in allowing sex offenders to work with children.
A hastily-ordered review into procedures used to vet those applying for teaching roles is expected to report within the next few days that ministers should lose the right to decide whether sex offenders should be cleared to work in British schools.
It is another blow for Ms Kelly, who has so far resisted any calls to step down, and who has received the backing of Downing Street.
The current row was sparked last weekend when it emerged that a junior education minister, who was subsequently revealed to be Dr Howells, had cleared PE teacher Paul Reeve to teach in a Norfolk school despite his police caution for accessing child pornography.
Another case came to light yesterday, with the publication of a letter to convicted child molester William Gibson, telling him that he would not be barred from returning to work as a maths teacher. The letter was sent on Ms Kelly's behalf.
And last night, Monmouth MP David Davies called for her and Dr Howells to resign, adding, "I speak as much as a father as a politician".
Shadow Education Secretary David Willetts last night wrote to Ms Kelly, demanding she hand over control of the inquiry into her department's handling of paedophile teachers to an independent figure.