That Fiona Woolf has neglected her duties to the inquiry she is meant to head is an insult to victims of sexual abuse
On 5th September, the Home Secretary Theresa May appointed Fiona Woolf as the replacement for her previous discredited choice of candidate to head an investigation into how the UK’s institutions have handled their duties to protect children from sexual abuse. Since then, Mrs Woolf has failed to take her duties seriously and has not even bothered to set a date to appear before MPs.
The announcement of an inquiry into what is alleged to have occurred at Elm Guest House and elsewhere was originally made in early July and on Sunday it was revealed that the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, had told a child protection conference:
“Given [Fiona Woolf’s] very heavy duties as Lord Mayor, it is hard to see how the inquiry will be able to get under way until late November at the earliest. This is an unfortunate delay… It has already led to concerns being expressed about files being shredded in government departments and elsewhere”.
Mrs Woolf, whose personal links to former Home Secretary Leon Brittan have also been questioned, has yet to respond to requests from Keith Vaz MP asking when she will actually appear. She has spent much of the last month abroad and clearly does not view her role in this important inquiry to be something that merits her urgent attention.
That Mrs May’s first choice of candidate had to resign could be described as “misfortunate” but that the second has failed to seize the mantle indicates far more. A quote by Oscar Wilde comes to mind but it is not just “carelessness” that is endemic here. It is time for Fiona Woolf to make a choice: Step up or throw in the towel.
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