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Child sexual abuse inquiry: Dame Lowell Goddard resigned because it was 'too much', says Amber Rudd

'She was a long way from home and she decided to step down'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 07 September 2016 18:29 BST
Amber Rudd
Amber Rudd (Dan Kitwood/PA)

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has claimed that the former chair of the child sexual abuse inquiry resigned from her position because she was “lonely” and that the probe proved “too much”.

Making her debut appearance in front of the influential home affairs select committee in Westminster Ms Rudd, citing a letter from Dame Lowell Goddard, said: “I think she went...because she found it too much for her, and although she could contribute to it and there was some good work done in the past year, ultimately she found it too lonely”

"She was a long way from home and she decided to step down," the Home Secretary added.

In a brief statement, released in August, Justice Goddard said the inquiry was beset with a “legacy of failure” and offered her resignation to the Ms 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.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who has stepped into the committee’s chair until a replacement for Keith Vaz is found, however, said the inquiry had refunded £2.5 million to the Home Office last year as it they had underspent on their budget."In that respect at least, her letter is factually incorrect and is a misrepresentation of the circumstances which may have led to her resignation," Mr Loughton added.

In August, the former committee chair Mr Vaz said it was not enough for the New Zealand high court judge to “resign and leave” and called for a thorough explanation in front of the committee panel. Mr Vaz added that the “only way” to move forward was to hear from Justice Goddard herself.

The new chair of the inquiry Professor Alexis Jay, a child protection expert, was named as Justice Goddard’s successor last month. In a statement, at the time of the resignation, Ms Rudd added: “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.”

During the home affairs select committee session Ms Rudd also said that the Government was sticking with David Cameron’s “tens of thousands” migration target. But when asked how her department would achieve such a goal – following the Government’s decision to rule an Australian-style points system – Ms Rudd refused to be drawn.

She also repeated the Prime Minister’s comments that there was no need for a “running commentary” on the Brexit negotiations.

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