This is turning into a farce – Fiona Woolf must stand aside, writes the Labour MP who exposed the Rochdale child abuse scandal
Farce: Labour MP Simon Danczuk, pictured, argues that Mrs Woolfe must stand aside
Fiona Woolf hasn’t even begun work on one of the most important inquiries in years – that of dragging dirty parliamentary secrets out into the open and challenging historic child abuse cover-ups – and she yet commands zero-confidence from abuse survivors across the country.
This story has now become a full-blown farce and is fast turning into a tragedy. It’s been painful listening to Woolf’s hopeless attempts to claim she’s somehow not close to Lord Brittan, who was Home Secretary when Geoffrey Dickens’s dossier of VIP child abuse allegations disappeared.
‘Yes,’ she admits, ‘I live in the same street as Lord Brittan and yes, I go to coffee mornings with Brittan’s wife and yes, I sit on a judging panel with her. And yes, I’ve entertained Lord Brittan in my house on several occasions, but none of this means I’m friendly with him. Of course there’s sufficient distance between me and Lord Brittan to do a thorough investigation.’
She must think the public are fools. Over the last few years, I’ve spoken to many victims of child sex abuse. This week I spoke again to some of them. Their views on Woolf were scathing.
‘Victims see her as the Sybil Fawlty of child sex abuse. She’s a joke,’ said one, who is giving evidence to Operation Fernbridge in London. At least Lady Butler-Sloss, who stood down because her brother was the Attorney General in the 1980s when reports of child abuse were not examined properly, responded quickly to criticism and realised it was inappropriate for her to continue.
Woolf has spent the last month stonewalling about her relationship with Brittan. When she did finally answer questions, she only made matters worse.
‘We were all pleased when Theresa May launched a child sex abuse inquiry,’ says Martin Digan, a former social worker who brought the Knowl View school sex scandal – where Cyril Smith was a governor – to light. ‘But now it just looks like a farce. Fiona Woolf is clearly not going to fearlessly challenge establishment abusers. It’s an insult to people who’ve had their hopes built up.’
Victims must have confidence in this inquiry. Woolf has to stand down. As long as she carries on treading water and defending her relationship with Lord Brittan, then the promise of justice and a day of reckoning for powerful, seemingly untouchable child abusers will remain hopelessly out of reach.
We haven’t reached this tragedy yet and it can still be avoided – but only if Woolf listens to victims and steps aside.
Close: Fiona Woolf (left) with Lady Brittan (right) at a party last year. She insists there is enough distance between her and Lord Brittan for her to be able to conduct a thorough investigation
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2808025/This-turning-farce-Fiona-Woolf-stand-aside-writes-Labour-MP-exposed-Rochdale-child-abuse-scandal.html#ixzz3HGpQO1gk
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