The Yorkshire Post Says: Sarah Champion should not have felt need to resign for speaking out against grooming gangs

Sarah Champion
Sarah Champion

Sarah Champion should not have felt the need to resign from the Labour front bench for speaking out in The Sun newspaper about the grooming gangs known to have systematically sexually abused young children, on occasion to an industrial scale.

The Yorkshire MP was only doing that which Professor Alexis Jay previously identified was sorely lacking from the Rotherham case where the fear of being labelled racist prevented the authorities from being able to confront a glaring yet uncomfortable truth, letting down abuse victims in the process.

It was not the Rotherham MP’s intention to demonise a section of society. Like everyone else, she knows the perpetrators of such vile, degrading crimes represent a tiny proportion of the entire population and are not entirely from one ethnic group. But she, like everyone else, knows too that so many of the sickening cases to come to light in Rotherham, Rochdale and Newcastle have involved men who share a certain profile.

If Jeremy Corbyn wanted to demonstrate clearly that his party was reformed, and not in the grip of activists still resentful of Ms Champion’s past differences with the Labour leader – he would have stood by the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, whose allies include Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

By allowing such a respected Parliamentarian to be publicly pilloried in this way risks setting back progress made in tackling child sexual exploitation for decades at a time when so much has been done by so many to win the fragile trust of victims.

Young children who have suffered in silence, and are still doing so, need the confidence that they will be taken seriously.

Sarah Champion’s political demise will only make it harder for them to come forward and harder for others in authority to tackle these wicked gangs of depraved criminals.