Home secretary Theresa May is to disband the panel for the inquiry into child sex abuse by high-profile public figures news agency Exaro reports.
She wrote to each member of the panel at the end of last week to say that she is considering turning it into a statutory inquiry, or setting up a fresh statutory inquiry or a Royal Commission.
But her move has prompted fury among panel members. They are urging May to convert the inquiry to statutory status and keep the current panel.
In May’s letter, a copy of which was passed to Exaro, she said that a statutory inquiry may have a panel, but even then it would be appointed afresh.
Existing members of the panel can apply for positions on any new one, she adds.
The letter followed a meeting between May and panel members on Monday.
She wrote: “As I said on Monday, I am currently considering these three options and I appreciate this has implications for the members of the panel.”
If she sets up a statutory inquiry or royal commission, said May, “the panel would have to be dissolved in its current form.”
“I should like to make clear that I appointed each and every one of you for your experience, your professionalism and your undoubted commitment.
“I know that it has not been easy, that you are working in an incredibly sensitive and difficult subject area and that some of you have faced significant personal criticism.” May claims that she was responding to concerns about the panel raised with her by abuse survivors.
However, panel members accuse May of listening to a vocal minority set against the inquiry instead of the majority of abuse survivors.
If you have information which may help the investigation into the abuse of children from care homes, or you were resident in Dolphin Square, London in the 1970s, 80s, or 90s and saw suspicious activity involving children, please contact Exaro or the Operation Midland investigation team at New Scotland Yard.
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