From Chris Longley MBE
19 September 2013
The Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP
Home Affairs Select Committee
House of Commons
London SW1 OAA
Dear Mr Vaz
I have today received documents that inform me that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has belatedly decided to establish an Inquiry into the systemic child rape, trafficking and abuse that took place within its boundaries over an extended period of years.
Whilst an Inquiry is welcome in principle, having read the Terms of Reference I am struck that the Inquiry will have no powers to compel anyone other than current Council employees to give evidence before it. Paragraph 4 of the Terms of Reference is very clear about this.
This means for example that the now Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, Ex Rotherham Councillor Shaun Wright, cannot be compelled to give evidence on the public record at the Inquiry. Nor will any of those who have previously held elected office or have been paid employees but have now left, regardless of the roles they held in these appalling matters, be compelled to testify.
This is such a fundamental flaw in the Terms of Reference that it makes any such Inquiry without point.
I am therefore writing to ask you and your Committee to recommend to the Home Secretary that she should establish without delay a full Judicial Inquiry in Rotherham about these grave matters with powers to compel witnesses to attend and to testify.
Only a Judicial Inquiry that has the necessary full and unfettered powers of access to all potential witnesses regardless of their part in these grave matters will be able to establish anything approaching the full truth of how these grave events were allowed to continue for so long and to damage so many innocent lives.
Chris Longley MBE
Encs: Copies of the Terms of Reference of the Rotherham MBC Inquiry and another related document (Note to Rothpol: these are the documents that you very kindly posted)