Abuse inquiry set for yet another chair this month

Home Secretary Theresa May answers an urgent question from shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper
Home Secretary Theresa May answers an urgent question from shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper
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A new chair of the Government’s crisis-hit child abuse inquiry should be in place by the end of the month, the Home Secretary has insisted.

Theresa May has revealed her third nomination to chair the panel will be announced soon, as well as a decision on whether to change the panel into a statutory inquiry or a royal commission.

Mrs May set up the inquiry in July to find out whether public bodies had covered up allegations of child sex abuse in the wake of claims paedophiles had operated in Westminster in the 1980s.

The inquiry has faced a series of problems, including the resignation of two previous chairs over their alleged links to Establishment figures of the time.

Mrs May said: “I am clear that the new chairman must be someone who commands that confidence and who has the necessary skills and experience to carry out this vital work.

“In my work to find that person, as I told the House I would do, I have undertaken a number of meetings with the survivors of child abuse and their representative bodies, and I have been deeply moved by the candour and the courage they have shown in telling me their harrowing stories and the experiences they have been through.

“I am absolutely committed to finding them the right chairman to ensure they get the answers they deserve.

“But not only does this inquiry need the right Chairman, it also needs the right powers.”

Mrs May revealed she is chairing a Secretaries of State group set up to look at the impact of the Professor Jay report into Rotherham’s horrific child abuse scandal, in which more than 1,400 girls were targeted.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said “this whole inquiry has now become a farce,” telling the Home Secretary: “What we need are transparency and clear communication.

“We also need not just an inquiry but a national taskforce, because this is a national issue and the regional forces do not have the capacity to deal with it.