David Cameron under pressure as campaign by Exaro’s Twitter followers hits milestone
By Mark Watts and David Hencke | 23 June 2014
The passing of the milestone heaps pressure on David Cameron, prime minister, and Theresa May, home secretary, to agree to such an inquiry.
MPs have added their support to a cross-party group of seven who sent a joint letter to May three weeks ago to urge her to set up an independent panel to hold the investigation into the abuse of children in the UK over many decades.
The prime minister told MPs then that he was looking at whether to order an inquiry with ministerial colleagues. That there was a series of inquiries, he said, at “various hospitals and care homes and, indeed, media organisations”.
He continued: “If there is a need for any more overarching process to be put in place, I am very happy to look at that. But I think that, at the moment, led by the home secretary and her colleagues, we do have a proper view of what is happening at all of these organisations.”
At the time, the seven MPs who were calling for the inquiry had grown to 40, mainly because of a crowd-sourcing campaign by Exaro’s Twitter followers. Tim Loughton, former children’s minister, and fellow Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith, inspired by the Twitter campaign, decided to e-mail a letter to every MP to ask them to support the call for an inquiry.
That prompted another huge jump in backing as many MPs contacted Loughton personally to pledge their support for an inquiry into child sex abuse (CSA).
Loughton spoke in Parliament last Thursday to press for the inquiry, the second time that the campaign was raised in the House of Commons in little more than a week.
He also asked Andrew Lansley, leader of the House of Commons, for a debate in Parliament “to set the scene for it.”
Lansley, like Cameron a week earlier, was non-committal on the call for inquiry, and did not answer the question about whether there would be a debate about it in the House of Commons.
And as of today, 104 MPs in total are saying that they want the inquiry.
Among the latest MPs to tweet their support was Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, who added the caveat that it depending on its “precise scope and remit”.
Michael Dugher, Labour MP, 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.”
“It is my belief that the home secretary should step in now, in the light of several reports, and establish an overarching inquiry.”
Another Labour MP, Ronnie Campbell, e-mailed Loughton to give his backing.
Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP, asked whether she would pledge her support, tweeted: “I have, just don’t think my name has been officially added yet.”
Her name is indeed included in the updated and fully-verified list of MPs who are backing the call for an inquiry, along with their comments in support. Diana Johnson, shadow home office minister, became the 100th MP to support the inquiry call this afternoon.
Then the three MPs from Plaid Cymru took the total to 104 – so far.
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