Amber Rudd Told to "Get a Grip" over Child Sex Abuse Inquiry

Sky News
November 21, 2016

A Labour MP has criticised Home Secretary Amber Rudd for not appearing in the Commons to answer an urgent question on the national child sex abuse inquiry.

It was left to Home Office minister Sarah Newton to respond to a series of queries from Lisa Nandy, who accused Prime Minister Theresa May of hiding "behind a smokescreen of independence".

The inquiry into historical sex abuse allegations is now being led by its fourth chairwoman, Professor Alexis Jay, and a number of senior lawyers have quit recently.

Also, last week a group representing 600 victims of sexual abuse withdrew from the inquiry, branding it an "unpalatable circus".

Amber Rudd was not in the Commons to answer questions

The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association says it has lost confidence in the inquiry's leadership, claiming the probe was a "botch job" and Professor Jay was the wrong person to lead it.

An exasperated Ms Nandy asked: "Where is the Home Secretary and why is it that nobody from the Government has sought to proactively come to the House and provide reassurance about the series of events that have unfolded over the last week as this inquiry has unravelled in front of our eyes?"

She added: "Has the Home Secretary met survivors' groups since last Thursday and what steps has she taken to establish that the chair and the panel have the expertise and the working relationships for this to succeed?

Professor Alexis Jay is leading the independent inquiry

"This is the second time that I've had to ask ministers to come and account for these failings in the House in recent weeks.

"They've lost seven senior lawyers, three chairs and several survivors' groups and it is now impossible to see this inquiry is effectively operating.

"This maybe the last chance that the Prime Minister and her Home Secretary have to rescue the inquiry - that she set up - from collapse.

"Will she stop hiding behind the smokescreen of independence, recognise she has responsibility for this inquiry's success and get a grip on it."

Sarah Newton said Prof Jay had the Government's backing

Ms Newton pointed out that Ms Rudd had answered questions in Parliament on 17 October and denied there was "some sort of smokescreen and hiding behind independence".

"It's absolutely essential that this inquiry is an independent inquiry," Ms Newton told the Commons.

She also said she, Mrs May and Ms Rudd had confidence in Baroness Jay to lead the inquiry.








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