John responds to councillor suspensions and investigations

Responding to the announcement today of Labour Party action to suspend three local Labour councillors from the party and make further investigations, John Healey MP said:

“When the failings are as grave as the Jay report reveals and the consequences for victims so serious, we all want to understand how this happened and we all expect people to be called for account for it.

“Those who knew about this terrible abuse but didn’t do their jobs in the past to protect our young people and prosecute the perpetrators must be called fully to account.

“Labour commissioned Alexis Jay to do her independent report. Labour council leader Roger Stone did the right thing by resigning directly. The Labour Party is taking some tough steps to help get to the bottom of what’s happened. The council and police must do the same.

“There must be further action in the council management to deal with the questions the Jay report raises, especially for those in leading positions over the years.

“And there must be an independent investigation overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and carried out by another force into South Yorkshire Police’s previous failings.

“What matters most now is action for the victims. Both the council and the police have a big job to do to rebuild public confidence and reassure victims that things have changed, will change further and that they will get all the support they may need. They have to know that their abusers will face the full force of the law, so South Yorkshire Policy must convict more of the perpetrators responsible for these terrible crimes on our town’s children.

“Both the police and council need new leadership that can demonstrate a fresh start and a new, open way of operating.”

John has written to the Chief Executive of the IPCC calling on her to use the powers laid down in the Police Reform Act 2002 to require South Yorkshire Police to refer a complaint to the Commission.

Read John’s letter to the IPCC.

• Cllr Roger Stone, Cllr Ann Russell, Cllr Shaukat Ali and Jahangir Akhtar were suspended. The Labour Party also announced Shaun Wright and Maurice Kirk would require NEC approval of any application to re-join the Party.