Michael Mansfield QC: "Is 2½ years of historic abuse inquiry inaction & failed chairs deliberate?"





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Published on Nov 21, 2016

Labour’s Chuka Umunna spoke out after the largest victims’ group, representing 600 victims who lived in London children's homes, quit the inquiry – calling it an “unpalatable circus”.
The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association said its members had voted “overwhelmingly” to pull out, warning it had no confidence in Alexis Jay, its fourth leader.
Many of the group’s abuse victims live in the South London constituency of Mr Umunna, a member of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which recently quizzed Professor Jay.
Today, the Labour MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that only the leadership of a judge, at High Court level or above, could rescue the inquiry.
He said: “The concern here is whether you've got a chair that can command the confidence of the majority of survivors and whether they are up to doing the job.
“Can Professor Jay bring the heft and forensic capacity of a judge to this inquiry, which is what is needed? I’m not confident that she can.
“There’s an ongoing issue about the fact that she's come from three decades in social work.
“For many of the survivors that is a problem, because a lot of the perpetrators came from that profession. You can’t just sweep that under the table and it's never been dealt with by the panel properly.”
Raymond Stevenson, chairman of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, said it is now preparing to publish its own report naming 60 people as paedophiles.
“In the last inquiry, some of our members committed suicide, and people need to take that on board,” Mr Stevenson told Radio 4.
“The inquiry needs to sort itself out. They need to get rid of Alexis Jay, who’s been parachuted in by the Home Office. She’s not the right person.”

Amber Rudd told to 'get a grip' over child sex abuse inquiry
The Home Secretary is criticised for not turning up to answer questions after a series of child abuse inquiry setbacks.
17:32, UK,
Monday 21 November 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?


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