Yesterday, an urgent question was asked by my colleague Lisa Nandy MP on the news that the UKs largest survivors group withdrew its support form the inquiry.
This inquiry has been besieged by failings since being established. Theresa May whilst Home Secretary, announced the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in July 2014, after the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal and amid reports of a VIP paedophile ring. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, a retired judge, was appointed to chair the inquiry.
It has been confirmed that the Home Office knew of concerns about the professionalism and competence of the inquiry’s third chairwoman Dame Goddard before her resignation in August 2016. However the Home Secretary did not reveal this to the Home Affairs select committee when she appeared before them on 7 September 2016.
The inquiry is on its fourth chair. Its first chair Dame Elizabeth, resigned a week later after questions about the role of her brother-in-law, the late Lord Havers, a former attorney-general, and her handling of an inquiry into abuse allegations in the Chichester diocese.
It was not until March 2016 that the inquiry conducted its first preliminary hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice. By July 2016 no evidence had been heard, (a whole year after the official launch of the inquiry).
All of these failings by the previous Home Secretary and the current have undermined the inquiry and people’s faith towards it.
I asked the Minister if she could tell the House when the first evidence session will be.