Westminster child abuse scandal: Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf replaces Baroness Butler-Sloss as inquiry head

She hopes it will 'ensure these mistakes are identified and never repeated'

The first female Lord Mayor of the City of London will replace Baroness Butler-Sloss as the head of an inquiry into historic child sex abuse in Westminster.

Fiona Woolf has been named as the new head of the probe, which was announced in July to examine allegations that institutions including the Government and civil service covered up or failed to investigate abuse.

The 66-year-old is a renowned solicitor and the former president of the Law Society.

She said: “Ensuring lessons are learned from the mistakes which have been made in the past and resulted in children being subjected to the most horrific crimes is a vital and solemn undertaking.

"I was honoured to be approached to lead such an important inquiry, and look forward to working with the panel to ensure these mistakes are identified and never repeated."

Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith are among the prominent offenders who were not prosecuted for numerous sexual offences against young victims over the space of decades.

Read more: Butler-Sloss stands down from Westminster paedophile inquiry
Exclusive: 'Lost' dossier of evidence was handed to Director of Public Prosecutions
Comment: 'Rumours of child abuse in the 1980s weren’t taken seriously'

Lady Butler-Sloss stood down less than a week after her appointment following questions about potential conflicts of interest as her brother, Lord Havers, was Attorney General through part of the period being investigated.

Baroness Butler-Sloss has today stepped down as chairman of a wide-ranging inquiry into child abuse claims Baroness Butler-Sloss stepped down as chairman of the inquiry The Home Secretary, Theresa May, defended Lady Butler-Sloss but came under fire for the appointment.

In a written statement to MPs, she said she was confident that Ms Woolf has the skills and experience needed to “challenge individuals and institutions without fear or favour to get to the bottom of this issue and stop it happening again”.

"To help her in this role, and to ensure that the inquiry delivers the thorough, robust and independent review that I have promised, she will be supported by a panel of distinguished experts, and will be able to call upon expert advisers as required," she added.

Among them will be Professor Alexis Jay, author of the recent report revealing decades of child abuse and exploitation in Rotherham, and Graham Wilmer, a child sexual abuse victim and founder of the Lantern Project.

Barbara Hearn, the former deputy chief executive of the National Children's Bureau and Ben Emmerson QC will also advise the inquiry.

Professor Alexis Jay led the investigation into child abuse in Rotherham Professor Alexis Jay led the investigation into child abuse in Rotherham Mrs May said: "In recent years, we have seen appalling cases of organised and persistent child sex abuse which have exposed serious failings by public bodies and important institutions.

“These failings have sent shockwaves through the country and shaken public confidence in the pillars of society in which we should have total trust.

"That is why the Government has announced that an independent panel of experts will consider whether such organisations have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

“We are absolutely clear that we must learn the lessons of past failures and the panel will be instrumental in helping us to do this.”

The inquiry panel, which has not yet been finalised, is due to deliver an interim report to Parliament before the general election in May.

Additional reporting by PA

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches