Labour Party Blocks Public Inquiry Into Child Rape Grooming Gangs and Local Failures to Protect Girls

OLDHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: The Victorian splendour of Chadderton Town Hall in Oldham which reflects the wealth of the former cottons towns of the North on November 24, 2015 in Oldham, England. Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon is the Labour party candidate in the Oldham West and Royton by-election, …
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The local Labour Party-run council in Oldham rejected a motion to launch a public inquiry into the grooming gang sexual exploitation of children and the failures of local officials and police to protect them.

Following the release of a report on child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham last month, which found that girls were failed by the very social services meant to protect them and failings among the local police and council, the Failsworth Independent Group (FIP) of local councillors introduced a motion to petition the government to establish an independent public inquiry into the failings.

The left-wing Labour Party introduced an amendment to strip the call for a public inquiry, neutering the motion, sparking fury from local observers of the town hall meeting, some of whom shouted “paedophile protesters” at the councillors, according to footage posted on social media. Due to the overwhelming majority they hold on the body, Labour was able to pass the amendment despite all members of the Failsworth Independents, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats voting in opposition, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Conservative councillor Robert Barnes called the move a “travesty” and that it was “the night that democracy died in Oldham”.

Councillor Brian Hobin, from Failsworth Independents, said: “We can’t move on. Multiple failings have happened – general apologies; no good.

“We need a public inquiry, an independent one to tell us who failed and why, to tell us who knew and why and who did nothing about it and why.”

The Labour Party argue that instead of establishing an independent inquiry, funds should be directed to the ongoing police investigation into historical child sex abuse, Operation Sherwood.

The demands for an independent inquiry follow a report last month that found that a 12-year-old girl was raped multiple times by multiple men, yet was local authorities and police missed various opportunities to protect her from her abusers. The report went on to note that police had failed to inform the local council leaders that it had employed Rochdale grooming gang leader Shabir Ahmed as a welfare officer for a year, despite having knowledge of allegations of sexual abuse against him.

The local council was also accused of enabling the grooming gangs through the issuance of taxi driver’s licenses to men convicted of sexual crimes against women and children. Taxis have repeatedly been identified as a means by which Asian grooming gangs abused young girls, as they allowed them to lure the girls away from sight.

Oldham council leader Amanda Chadderton, who introduced the amendment to block a public inquiry, argued that she did so “not because we don’t understand the level of concern Oldhamers feel about this issue, but it is because we want to take action.

“We want to see improvements for children and young people and see the people that committed these disgusting crimes brought to justice,” she added, saying that Labour has called for additional funding for victims of grooming gangs.

“The original motion doesn’t explain what benefit at all a public inquiry would have, either providing improvements to our assurance for today’s children and young people or seeking justice for historic victims of abuse,” Chadderton said.

In February of this year, an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) found that many local authorities are continuing to “victim blame” rather than taking responsibility in order to ensure their area is “not another Rochdale or Rotherham’, rather than being determined to find and root out child sexual exploitation in their area and expose its scale.”

This is despite the fact that the main source of public outrage over the grooming scandals in Rochdale and Rotherham was over the institutional cowardice in confronting the scourge of mostly Pakistani grooming gangs over a fear of being labelled as racists or inflaming “racial tensions” in the area.

Indeed, just this week, a public inquiry into grooming gangs in Telford found once again that police “turned a blind eye” to Asian grooming gangs abusing children over similar politically correct concerns.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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