The fiasco surrounding Fiona Woolf and the csa inquiry suggests the Home Office still doesn’t grasp the size of the problem. Its been almost four months since the announement of an inquiry which still has not even started.
‘How could this happen? asks the Independent: Almost four months ago, the Government announced a wide-ranging inquiry into explosive allegations of historical child abuse. Since then, two chairs have been appointed; both have resigned and the inquiry hasn’t even started work. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, will face uncomfortable questions from MPs when she makes a statement in the House of Commons tomorrow.
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On Friday, the embarrassment spread to David Cameron when he backed Fiona Woolf, the current Lord Mayor of London, only hours before her resignation as head of the inquiry was announced. She lost the confidence of victims when it was revealed that she is a friend of the former home secretary Lord Brittan, who was at the Home Office in the 1980s when, it is alleged, a dossier on child abuse compiled by a Conservative MP went missing. It emerged last week that a letter setting out her contacts with Brittan went through seven drafts.
The inquiry needs to be exceptionally wide ranging, shining a light into just about every area of the establishment. Yet the Home Office seems not to have realised that the usual approach – announcing an inquiry and picking one of the great and the good to chair it – would be entirely inappropriate in this instance. Woolf’s predecessor, Baroness Butler-Sloss, had also faced questions about her connections to a senior political figure in the 1980s; her late brother, Lord Havers, was attorney general when reports of child sexual abuse were allegedly not examined properly.’