Tessa is one of a cross party team of seven MPs which has called on the Home Secretary to hold a national inquiry into historical child sex abuse, exploring alleged cover-ups by the authorities.
The seven MPs have written a joint letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, urging her to set up “a full, properly-resourced investigation into the failure of the Police, HM Customs & Excise and other agencies to follow up on evidence in a number of historical cases of child sex abuse, some dating back to the 1970s and said to involve paedophile rings consisting of leading politicians, celebrities and other figures of the establishment.
Worrying patterns have emerged whereby evidence has been ‘lost’ or ‘destroyed’, which has stifled investigations to date.
The inquiry being proposed by the seven MPs would involve an independent panel with powers to demand the release of documents from every agency involved in investigating claims of child sex abuse.
Tessa said: “Child sexual abuse is abhorrent. Victims must and will be heard, and justice must be done, however many years have passed.
If it proves to be the case that investigations have been stalled or abandoned over the last thirty years because influential or famous people were involved, or if evidence which could have been used to convict abusers was knowingly ‘lost’ or destroyed, this is completely unacceptable and should be addressed through the Courts.
Victims of child sexual abuse are entitled to justice and it’s never too late for that. The Government should enable victims to be heard, and must ensure those who had responsibility for protecting the vulnerable explain their actions and omissions.
It seems to us that a ‘Hillsborough’ style inquiry has the potential to call all those involved to give evidence and account for their actions. I await the Home Secretary’s reply.”
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, said: “Tessa and I agreed there can’t be many crimes more serious than child abuse, and yet the evidence tells us that extreme abuse has gone unchallenged for decades. With so many unanswered questions, and so many institutions potentially involved, it is time for an all-encompassing, properly resourced and independent inquiry – one in which everyone can have confidence.”
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, said: “Child abuse is a very serious issue and needs to be tackled on a cross-party basis. The work that Tessa and colleagues from all the political parties have done to bring this issue to prominence and build a consensus for action has been vitally important. I hope the Government listens and acts on our proposal.”