Socialist Worker

Child abuse inquiry faces a new crisis after chair resigns

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2428

Dolphin Square, where police are examining claims of abuse parties

Dolphin Square, where police are examining claims of "abuse parties" (Pic: Paul Farmer/

The prospect of an inquiry uncovering the truth about child abusers at the heart of the British establishment grew even weaker this week. 

Lord mayor of London Fiona Woolf was the second inquiry head forced to resign. 

This is because of her links with Leon Brittan, who was home secretary when groups of alleged child abusers were operating in Westminster in the 1980s. 

Potential conflicts of interest also forced her predecessor, Baroness Butler-Sloss, to step down in July. 

Home secretary Theresa May admitted in a House of Commons statement, “It will not be straightforward to find a chairman that has the expertise to do this hugely important work and has had no contact at all with an institution or individual about whom people have concerns.”

One abuse victim at the Elm Guest House in London told the Exaronews website, “I’ve got no faith whatsoever in Theresa May’s inquiry.

“Woolf was far too close to the establishment to properly look into all this.”

May said that Peter Wanless’s report into how the Home Office handled child sex abuse allegations will be published next week.

It will deal with allegations that Geoffrey Dickens MP handed a dossier to Lord Brittan in 1983. Brittan passed the file onto civil servants but no action was taken and it has since disappeared.

The inquiry suffers from two seemingly opposing problems.

The remit is very broad, tasked with looking into how institutions from the NHS to parliament handled child abuse allegations across decades.

And it is too narrow, currently excluding any investigation of the Kincora children’s home scandal in Northern Ireland.

How or even if security service agents will give evidence is still unclear.

Meanwhile abuse scandals continue to circle Westminster. 

Police have launched a new probe into allegations of historic child sex abuse.

Detectives are examining claims of “abuse parties” at upmarket Dolphin Square, where many MPs had their London homes. 

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