Rotherham leader refuses calls to hand back OBE

the council leader accused of bullying and sexism at abuse-shamed Rotherham Council has said he has no intention of handing back his OBE.

Rotherham Council ex-leader Roger Stone. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Roger Stone led the council for more than a decade while 1,400 girls were targeted by mostly Asian abusers and ignored by social workers and police officers.

Appearing before a Commons select committee yesterday, the former Labour politician, who became leader of the council in 2003, was asked by Simon Danczuk MP if he should return the OBE he was given for political services to Rotherham.

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“No, no, no ,no,” Mr Stone told him, before going on to insist there was no way he could keep track of everything that happened at the council.

Mr Stone denied that he was a bully and he also said that he was told by senior council officers and council cabinet members that they were on top of the problem of child sexual exploitation.

Louise Casey’s inspection report earlier this month painted a picture of a local authority in denial about the problem, even after Mr Stone’s resignation in 2014. It followed the Jay Report, which said councillors, council officials and the police had failed to take the problem seriously

Defending his time on the council, Mr Stone said there was little he could do to end abuse.

“We could not stop it,” he told MPs. “Even Jay could not stop it in Glasgow.”

He went on to admit that he had never met victims to apologise personally, though he insisted he took overall responsibility for his time in charge.