John rejects today’s Times report on Rotherham

John sets the record straight on a report in The Times today.

John’s response to The Times:

“The Times is incorrect to say I ‘opposed’ a call for an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham back in September 2012 when the newspaper published its first story, I had an open mind but was not convinced this would help the abused girls and their families. I said this in my response to the constituent.

“My view in 2012 was, as it remains now, that the absolute priority must be action to support the victims and prosecute the perpetrators of this terrible child sexual exploitation.

“Child sexual abuse and exploitation are vile criminal offences to which there can never be exceptions and, irrespective of race, all perpetrators have to face the full force of the law and all victims must be supported and protected.

“Back in 2012 I was simply not aware of the scale and seriousness of the problem now exposed by Jay. Certainly the police and council did not brief us as MPs over the years. As the Jay report made clear, the Council downplayed the problem, and there was a lack of communication and action from senior officers. Jay also described how the police in the early years “gave no priority to CSE, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime”.

“As it became clear that the CSE problems in Rotherham were deeper and more widespread than I had previously known, I was strongly supportive of an independent inquiry being launched and publicly backed the Council when it commissioned Alexis Jay. The Jay report confirms ‘many improvements have been made in the last four years’ but also says further action must be taken by both the police and council, and it is essential that every one of Jay’s recommendations are now implemented in full and that the victims of this terrible crime finally get the full support they’ve been denied for so long.

“Roger Stone was right to resign directly the report was published, Labour has taken firm and swift action to suspend four members with further investigation now taking place, and I have been absolutely clear that Shaun Wright should resign immediately as Police and Crime Commissioner.”

The Times article can be seen via the link below: