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Child sexual abuse inquiry: Dame Lowell Goddard asked to explain resignation to MPs

Justice Goddard is the third person to walk away from the role since 2014

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 05 August 2016 17:46 BST
Justice Goddard said the inquiry was beset with a “legacy of failure” in a brief resignation statement released Thursday
Justice Goddard said the inquiry was beset with a “legacy of failure” in a brief resignation statement released Thursday (Getty)

Dame Lowell Goddard has been asked to appear before MPs and explain why she resigned as chairwoman of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, a senior Labour MP has confirmed.

Keith Vaz, who is also the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee in Westminster, said it was not enough for the New Zealand high court judge to “resign and leave” and called for a thorough explanation. Mr Vaz added that the “only way” to move forward was to hear from Justice Goddard herself.

In a brief resignation statement, released on Thursday, Justice Goddard said the inquiry was beset with a “legacy of failure” and offered her resignation to the new Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She was appointed as chair of the unprecedented inquiry, set up in 2014, by then-Home Secretary Theresa May after two previous chairs walked away from the role.

Ms Rudd, however, has attempted to dismiss doubts about the future of the inquiry into child abuse and insisted the Government would “continue without delay”.

Ms Rudd said in a statement: "I can confirm that Dame Lowell Goddard wrote to me today to offer her resignation as Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and I have accepted.

"I want to assure everyone with an interest in the inquiry, particularly victims and survivors, that the work of the inquiry will continue without delay and a new chair will be appointed.

"I would like to thank Dame Lowell Goddard for the contribution she has made in setting up the inquiry so that it may continue to go about its vital work."

Mr Vaz told Sky News: “She is someone with impeccable credentials, so this is a big shock that she chooses to resign now. I think what's really important is that we find out the reasons why she has decided to take this course of action.

“I've written to her today to ask her to come before the committee when we return at the end of August and share with us her thoughts about the setting up of this inquiry and why she resigned, and where she thinks we could go.

“Because although we've had ministers and Parliament and others involved, she of course has been intimately concerned with establishing this very difficult inquiry, so what she has to say is extremely pertinent, and I don't really think a resignation letter or a statement is enough.

“So I've asked her whether she would be prepared to do this to help us in determining what is going to happen in the future.”

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