Pressure builds in Parliament to address child sex abuse in UK
Chorus of calls for independent inquiry as 146 MPs from across parties back campaign
Updated many times, latest: 7 July 2014 with additional MPs, comments, and amended figures in second paragraph, as well as altered second headline.
MPs from across the political divide are backing the call for a national inquiry into historical cases of child sex abuse.
By the time the government ordered the inquiry, 36 Conservative MPs, 15 Liberal Democrats and 82 from Labour became part of the cross-party group that made the initial call. There are also 13 from other parties.
I am happy to support and I will do what I can to help the campaign
Jim Sheridan, MP
But it quickly grew, and continues to build, as Exaro’s Twitter followers (@ExaroNews) pressed MPs to say whether they supported the call.
And the issue was quickly raised with David Cameron at prime minister’s questions by Duncan Hames, a Liberal Democrat.
Hames referred to the calls for an inquiry from “members on all sides of the house”, and asked Cameron whether he could “truly be satisfied” with current police investigation.
Cameron said that he had “looked at this carefully with ministerial colleagues”. He referred to the series of inquiries taking place across hospitals, care homes and media organisations, and was ultimately non-committal about an inquiry as called for by a growing number of MPs.
This is the full list of MPs who are supporting the call so far (with the initial seven underlined). We have added tweets or other comments of support from MPs after the list.
Nick de Bois
Sir Peter Luff
Anne Marie Morris
Sir James Paice
Sir John Randall
Sir Nicholas Soames
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Social Democratic and Labour Party
MPs’ tweets and comments
Andrew Bingham’s office manager responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Bob Blackman responded to a letter from Tim Loughton, one of the seven original MP signatories, in support. In reply to one of Exaro’s Twitter followers who asked whether he agreed with the call for an inquiry, he tweeted: “Yes I do & have added my name to the list of MPs calling for this inquiry.”
Graham Brady told Exaro: “This is an import issue. I have been contacted by constituents who want child abuse to be thoroughly investigated, and I am happy to give my support to this group.”
Robert Buckland told Exaro that his support came with a caveat: “I think that an inquiry could be of real value, but the terms of reference need to be carefully considered first. Many victims have been used to getting their expectations raised, and then being let down. Before any inquiry is set up, there needs to be agreement and understanding as to the desired outcomes. I firmly believe that, wherever possible, criminal prosecution is the preferable means of redress, but the case of Savile is clearly one that cannot be covered by such an option... Sometimes, we vest too much into judicial inquiries. They are not a panacea for all ills, sadly. My instinctive support for the victims makes me supportive of this sort of pressure, however.”
Conor Burns responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Neil Carmichael tweeted: “Child care is a top concern of @CommonsEd and I am happy to promote a wider inquiry into child abuse.”
Nick de Bois discussed the issue with Tim Loughton. He said that he shared the concerns, and supports the campaign. He tweeted: “I have read the arguments put forward and very happy to add my name to this important campaign.”
Nadine Dorries, asked whether she would pledge her support, tweeted: “I have, just don’t think my name has been officially added yet.” It has now.
Richard Drax responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Jonathan Evans responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Mark Garnier responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Zac Goldsmith told Exaro: “We now know of many cases of child abuse that went uninvestigated for far too long, not least relating to Jimmy Savile. But we also know that countless questions remain unanswered, and they must be – in full. The government should establish – and properly resource – an independent inquiry so that a line can be drawn, once and for all.”
Gordon Henderson responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Charles Hendry, energy minister between 2010 and 2012 and former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Philip Hollobone responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the House of Commons public administration committee and another former deputy chairman of the Conservative party, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Chris Kelly responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Charlotte Leslie, in reply to one tweeter who asked whether she agreed with the inquiry call, said simply: “Yes.”
Jack Lopresti’s assistant told Exaro that he would be writing to Tim Loughton shortly to express support for an inquiry. Loughton later told us that he duly received a response in support from Lopresti.
Tim Loughton told Exaro: “Virtually every week, the public is bombarded with new stories about sexual abuse of children coming to light, yet they stretch as far back as the 1960’s. Few areas have been left untouched with increasingly alarming stories involving schools, churches, care homes, entertainment, sport and of course politicians and celebrities. Most alarming is a consistent theme of the reluctance or, more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies to investigate the allegations seriously, and pursue the perpetrators rigorously. Documents go missing and investigations are curtailed with a chilling frequency, and that now threatens a serious undermining of the public’s confidence in our current child-protection system despite all the progress that has undoubtedly been made in recent years.”
Sir Peter Luff, former defence minister, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support. Asked on Twitter whether he supported the call, he replied: “Yes I certainly do; this systematic failure to protect the vulnerable must be investigated.”
Paul Maynard tweeted: “Happy to confirm I'm backing Zac Goldsmith and others’ call for an inquiry.”
Jason McCartney told Exaro: “I do support a full inquiry into historical child abuse that was not properly investigated at the time.”
Anne Marie Morris tweeted: “I support the @tom_watson & @timloughton online campaign/petition – child abuse is a scourge & must be dealt with severely.”
Caroline Nokes responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Sir James Paice, former environment minister, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Sir John Randall responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Henry Smith responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support, and tweeted: “I support independent inquiries into child abuse particularly in light of the horrendous discoveries recently.”
Sir Nicholas Soames, former defence secretary, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Caroline Spelman, former chairwoman of the Conservative Party and environment secretary between 2010 and 2012, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Iain Stewart responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Craig Whittaker responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Mike Crockart tweeted: “I’ve now had time to look into this, and agree there are too many unanswered questions. Please add my support.”
John Hemming told Exaro: “The whole area is still not in any way properly accountable or subject to independent checks. The sagas with Kincora and Cyril Smith do seem to have a pattern of similarities that needs a proper independent investigation. Our system, however, is very tolerant of misconduct in public office.”
Julian Huppert tweeted: “Happy to support it.”
John Leech: “Support national inquiry into child abuse. Too many mistakes too often.”
Greg Mulholland: “Yes happy to support this.”
He raised the issue with Damian Green on the floor of the House of Commons on July 1 in the wake of the conviction of Rolf Harris, a television star, for 12 indecent assaults against girls.
Mullholland asked: “We have seen another celebrity convicted of a string of appalling child sex offences, someone who used and abused their position and their power. Is it not time that we had an overarching inquiry into the culture at that time, and those historical sex offences, so that we can bring closure and learn lessons for the future?”
Green responded: “I would… make the general point that there is clearly a large number of important criminal investigations going on at the moment. So it would be sensible to let them take their course before we decide what it is best to do next in this important and sensitive area.”
Adrian Sanders tweeted: “Very happy to support them.”
Ian Swales, asked whether he agreed with the inquiry call, tweeted: “Yes.”
Mike Thornton responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Mark Williams tweeted: “I support an inquiry in principle.”
Roger Williams: “Please add my name.”
Debbie Abrahams responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Heidi Alexander, an opposition whip, tweeted: “Yes, I do think an inquiry would be the right thing to do. Sorry not to have responded sooner.”
Jonathan Ashworth, shadow Cabinet Office minister, tweeted: “I support and think we need an overarching inquiry.”
Hilary Benn, shadow secretary for local government: “114 now. Please add my name.” In fact, he was the 116th to indicate his backing for the inquiry.
Luciana Berger’s assistant told Exaro that the MP and shadow health minister supported the call for the inquiry.
An assistant to Clive Betts e-mailed Exaro to say: “Clvie Betts MP would like to add his name to your list of supporters.”
Tom Blenkinsop, an opposition whip, tweeted: “More than happy to support.
Paul Blomfield: “Yes @discovery77_ I’ll add my name to call for a national inquiry into child sex abuse after discussing it over the w/e with constituents.”
Ben Bradshaw, former media secretary, when asked on Twitter whether he agreed to the proposed independent, national #CSAinquiry, replied: “Yes Labour as I'm sure you know supports proper inquiry.” However, Labour’s position was not clear at the time of that tweet.
Andy Burnham, shadow health spokesman, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Karen Buck tweeted: “Agree we do need a proper overarching inquiry.”
Richard Burden, shadow transport minister: “I have spoken with Tom Watson and support the efforts he and others are making to get to the truth about organised child abuse.”
Ronnie Campbell responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
He also e-mailed a constituent, saying: “Mr Campbell has added his name as he too is in favour of an urgent, robust and independent inquiry into this catalogue of historic abuse.”
Martin Caton responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Katy Clark tweeted: “I agree with the call for a national inquiry and happy to support the campaign to achieve this.”
Jim Cunningham told Exaro: “It is vitally important that an inquiry takes place to get to the bottom of these allegations. Justice must be done, however late, and victims must not feel like their abuse has gone ignored. It is also necessary to reassure the public that everything that should be done in this situation is being done, and that lessons are learned.”
Simon Danczuk told Exaro: “I am pleased that we have politicians from across the political divide who are coming together to try to get to the bottom of what is a murky and nasty abuse of power. As we have seen from the story that we told about Cyril Smith, there was a network at the highest level that was out to protect him at every turn. We now need the home secretary to step up to the mark and instigate an investigation that leaves no stone unturned. I look forward to seeing what her response is.”
Geraint Davies tweeted: “I support a national independent inquiry into past & present organised child abuse in public & private institutions.”
Jim Dobbin’s office e-mailed his support to Tom Watson, saying: “Jim would like to put his name to your call for an inquiry into historical sexual abuse, and desires that Theresa May sets up an inquiry akin to that investigating the Hillsborough disaster.”
Stephen Doughty, an opposition whip, blogged his support, saying: “I have been contacted by a number of people in recent weeks regarding the shocking reports of abuse of children that have emerged, not only as a result of the Jimmy Savile investigation but also numerous other inquiries.
“As someone who previously worked on global children’s rights issues for a major charity, I am appalled by the reports and allegations that continue to emerge – and as a whole society we need to do everything we can to investigate and prosecute these cases where wrongdoing is uncovered, regardless of whenever or wherever these occurred, or whoever was involved.
“I want to see a comprehensive and properly structured inquiry that draws together the fragmented investigations into institutions and individuals throughout the country.”
Michael Dugher said in an e-mail to a constituent: “I agree that this is an important issue, and it is clear that we need a properly structured inquiry that draws together fragmented investigations into institutions throughout the country.
“Although legislation has moved forward, and great strides have been made in child protection, we all know that much more needs to be done. And the scale of Jimmy Savile’s abuse should be a wake-up call to everyone.
“It is my belief that the home secretary should step in now, in the light of several reports, and establish an overarching inquiry led by child-protection experts to draw together the fragmented investigations so we can make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and better protected from these horrible crimes.”
Julie Elliott, shadow energy minister, tweeted: “I wholeheartedly support the call for an independent CSA inquiry.”
Natascha Engel responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Jim Fitzpatrick tweeted: “For those of you who have tweeted me over the last week or so I am supporting calls for a Home Office inquiry into historical child sex abuse.”
Yvonne Fovargue responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Mike Gapes responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Pat Glass tweeted: “Have spoken to Tom Watson on this & yes I support.”
Mary Glindon told Exaro: “I would support it – definitely would… I think that it is a nationwide issue and it is most timely that something is done… We have ‘Operation Sanctuary’ in Newcastle… We are aware of what has happened in Rochdale and share the concerns of Simon Danczuk. If they are having an inquiry, they should ask, ‘Why did it not come out earlier?’ All the issues the public want to know.”
Kate Green responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, tweeted in response to a question as to whether he supported the inquiry call: “In principle yes, although precise scope and remit of inquiry needs to be established in detail before giving final view.”
Asked whether he could be added to the list of MPs in support, he replied: “With caveat re scope etc then yes.”
Lilian Greenwood, shadow transport minister, responded to a question that asked would she add her name to the list of supporters with a simple: “Yes.”
Peter Hain, who held several cabinet posts, including Northern Ireland secretary, tweeted following disclosures about missing documents at the Home Office: “I completely agree especially after the weekend revelations that 114 Home Office 1980’s files ‘disappeared’.”
Kate Hoey tweeted: “#CSAinquiry. An independent inquiry is only way to get to the truth. I support calls for this.”
Huw Irranca-Davies: “Happy to support the call.”
Diana Johnson: “The Home Secretary should step in now, in the light of several reports and establish an overarching inquiry led by child protection experts.”
Barbara Keeley blogged her support, saying: “There are calls for a national inquiry into child abuse, and MPs are being asked to support this. I do support the need for a national inquiry.
“The NHS should already have reported on the inquiries into abuse by Jimmy Savile on NHS premises, reports that were promised this month. But now we hear that the report related to abuses at Stoke Mandeville will be delayed until later in the year. This means that some of Savile’s victims will be waiting still longer for answers.
“There is now a need for a properly structured inquiry that draws together fragmented investigations into institutions throughout the country. Instead of many separate inquiries, the home secretary should step in and establish an overarching inquiry led by child-protection experts so we can make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and protected from these horrible crimes in future.”
Ian Lavery tweeted: “I would gladly sign the letter requesting a #CSAinquiry. Simple it must ALL come out.”
Mark Lazarowicz e-mailed a constituent to say: “I have written to Zac Goldsmith’s office to ask him to have my name added to the list of supporters of such an inquiry, which is clearly essential given the increasing number of reports and information emerging.”
Emma Lewell-Buck said: “Crimes of child sexual abuse are often hidden, yet they are profoundly damaging. I am wholeheartedly in support of a national enquiry. Victims should be heard, and those responsible held to account.”
Seema Malhotra tweeted: “Haven’t been on Twitter as much recently, but yes, I am supporting this. Best wishes, Seema.”
Khalid Mahmood told Exaro: “There is a real need for this so that people who a suffered a life of torment can have a proper resolution. There is also a policing issue where it appears that some people are treated as ‘off limits’ by the police because of their high-profile personalities and stardom.”
John Mann tweeted in response to a question about whether he support the call for the inquiry: “Yes.”
He later tweeted: “Why was @timloughton sacked and who pressed for him to go? Very big question now.”
“The cover-ups on child abuse looks bigger than that attempted on MPs expenses. Too many people keeping their heads down.”
“I have child abuse victims in my area being denied justice. I am damned if ex-MPs are going to get away with anything.”
Michael McCann wrote to a constituent: “I read everything before I sign up to particular causes.
“As you can imagine, a lot of the time it is an exercise in determining the wheat from the chaff.
“Happy to sign up for this.”
Kerry McCarthy, a shadow foreign minister, responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
John McDonnell tweeted: “Add me as a supporter. John.”
Catherine McKinnell, shadow Treasury minister: “Yes, after appalling constituency case-need overarching one drawing all others together ensuring we really do learn from past.”
Jessica Morden: “Happy to support the call for #CSAinquiry and to add my name to the list @ExaroNews.”
Grahame Morris: “I fully support an independent inquiry and full investigation of historic cases of child abuse.”
Chi Onwurah, shadow Cabinet Office minister: “Happy to support it CSA Inquiry.”
She also asked Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, in the House of Commons while he answered an “urgent question” about the paedophile activities of Jimmy Savile, the late BBC star, in hospitals throughout the UK: “Do we not need an overarching, independent inquiry?”
Sandra Osborne responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
Albert Owen tweeted: “I support the campaign for an independent national inquiry into child abuse. I will work with parliamentary colleagues and others.”
Teresa Pearce: “I am going to add my name when I am in Westminster on Monday.”
Toby Perkins, shadow business minister: “Happy to support the call for inquiry into historic child abuse cases, have remained hidden for too long.”
Yasmin Qureshi, a barrister who had two spells at the Crown Prosecution Service: “I have been arguing for long time about how much sexual abuse there is within home and institutions… In my previous life I saw so much abuse of the young sexual and physical. Made me cry.”
Steve Reed tweeted: “I support having an inquiry yes, but there needs to be discussion over the scope so it's powerful enough.”
And: “Pls note I'm not supporting any particular remit until it's been discussed with charities etc.”
One Tweeter replied: “It's victims you need to talk to.”
And Reed said: “Agreed, and the organisations that support them.”
Steve Rotheram tweeted: “Worked behind the scenes with Tom Watson on the issue, so happy to support an independent inquiry.”
Andy Sawford: “Time for national inquiry on child abuse.”
Sawford also blogged: “There is currently a social media campaign calling for a national inquiry into child abuse. My view is that the time is right for a properly structured inquiry that draws together fragmented investigations into institutions throughout the country. The scale of Jimmy Savile’s abuse should be a wake-up call to everyone. The home secretary should step in and establish an overarching inquiry led by child protection experts so we can make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and better protected from these horrible crimes.”
Alison Seabeck, shadow defence minister, tweeted: “I am pressing govt to support it.”
Virendra Sharma’s assistant e-mailed Exaro to say: “Could you please advise me how I can add Virendra Sharma MP’s name to the list for a national inquiry to child abuse?”
We said, consider it done.
Sharma told Exaro: “It is important that the vulnerable are protected from such heinous crimes, especially children, and that justice is provided to all the victims. Many of my constituents have addressed their concerns with regards to this significant issue, and support the call for a national inquiry into child abuse. We need to learn from mistakes made in the past, and conduct a thorough investigation, which is why I support a national inquiry into child abuse.”
Barry Sheerman tweeted: “Yes as long as it doesn’t involve police trawling or destruction of people’s lives bailed but not charged!”
Jim Sheridan: “I am happy to support and I will do what I can to help the campaign.”
Gavin Shuker responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support, and tweeted: “I’m supportive. Thanks.”
Andy Slaughter, shadow justice minister, e-mailed Exaro to say: “I am very happy to sign. Please add my name.”
Owen Smith, asked whether he would add his name to the list of supports, tweeted simply: “Count me in.”
John Spellar told Exaro: “I have written to a number of my constituents, who have raised the issue, saying yes I am backing the call for an inquiry into child sex abuse.”
He also wrote to a constituent: “Unfortunately, the government is dragging its heels on this issue. The home secretary should step in now in order to establish an overarching inquiry led by child-protection experts to draw together the fragmented investigations.”
Gisela Stuart told Exaro: “You can add my name to the list of MPs who are supporting calls for a national inquiry. There clearly are some unresolved cases out there, and you need to open this up and look at it.”
Mark Tami, opposition whip, tweeted: “Yes I do support such an inquiry.”
Emily Thornberry, shadow attorney general, wrote to a constituent: “I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents calling for an overarching investigation into historical allegations of child abuse across the United Kingdom. These constituents share the disgust that I have felt in recent years as the successive revelations of cover-ups and institutional failures in relation to the most vulnerable children in our society.
“It is my view that wherever possible allegations of child abuse, however far they date back, should be investigated by the police and then prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service so that the perpetrators can then be sentenced to a long time in one of Her Majesty’s prisons. Judicial inquiries are no substitute for that, and have disappointed in the past.
“However, I appreciate that the investigation/prosecution route is not always possible, for example because the passage of time or institutional foot-dragging have impeded the search for answers. There are also occasions where the scale of institutional failure will demand a broader frame of reference than a criminal trial targeted at a single person or a handful of individuals.
“These have been the lessons of Jimmy Savile and his horrible crimes. That is why we need a properly structured inquiry that draws together myriad, fragmented investigations into institutions throughout the country. The home secretary should step in now and establish an overarching inquiry led by child-protection experts to draw together these investigations so that young people are better protected in future.”
Karl Turner, an opposition whip, tweeted: “Happy to support.”
Derek Twigg responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support.
He also wrote to a constituent: “We need a properly structured inquiry that draws together fragmented
investigations into institutions throughout the country.
“The home secretary should step in now, in the light of several reports, and establish an overarching inquiry led by child-protection experts to draw together the fragmented investigations so we can make sure vulnerable young people are listened to and better protected from these horrible crimes.”
Stephen Twigg, former education minister, tweeted his support, adding: “Please keep in touch about the campaign.”
Tom Watson told Exaro: “There is a growing consensus among MPs of all political parties that the party leaders should agree to resource adequately searching investigations into historical allegations of child sexual abuse. The failure to act needs to be urgently addressed, and there is a belief that much more needs to be done to uncover what has happened in previous investigations.”
Chris Williamson tweeted: “You can me to the list supporting this.”
We know he meant “add to the list”. He tweeted in response to someone who thanked him: “No problem. Thanks for asking for my support.”
Iain Wright, shadow industry minister, tweeted: “I fully support the idea of a full independent and open inquiry into child abuse.”
Naomi Long, deputy leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland: “I do support an inquiry as victims deserve to have the truth.”
Nigel Dodds’s assistant told Exaro that he was “very supportive” of the call for the inquiry.
Jeffrey Donaldson told Exaro: “The Northern Ireland executive has initiated an inquiry of this nature in its own jurisdiction, and I believe that it is important that there should be a similar type of inquiry covering other parts of the UK.”
William McCrea told Exaro: “It is imperative that those that have suffered abuse receive the support of government and the community, and are assured that justice is done and is clearly seen to be done.”
Jim Shannon told Exaro: “I am keen to have answers. Those who have been abused deserve to have those who were involved exposed for what they have done.”
Mark Durkan responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support, and told Exaro: “As the seconder of the original NI Assembly motion leading to the Institutional Abuse Inquiry now taking place, as MP, I would also support a properly framed national inquiry panel.”
Margaret Ritchie responded to a letter from Tim Loughton in support, telling him that she had received many requests on Twitter and had supported motions to a similar effect when she was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Jonathan Edwards, Elfyn Llwyd, Hywel Williams, the three Plaid Cymru MPs, also support the call for the inquiry. A party spokeswoman tweeted: “I have raised the issue with all three Plaid Cymru MPs, and they are glad to support the campaign.”
If you have information that might help our investigation, please contact us. Keep re-visiting Exaro for more on this investigation. Our Twitter followers @ExaroNews have been asking their MPs whether they back the inquiry call. Let us know your MP’s response by tweeting to us or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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