Child abuse inquiry: MPs, churches and spies among those examined for historic investigation

Current and former MPs, local councils and the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches are among the 12 sections of investigation during the “unprecedented” government inquiry into child abuse. Lambeth, Rochdale and Nottinghamshire councils will also be investigated over their failure toPROTECT children from abuse in their care from paedophile gangs.

Knowl View School and Cambridge House Hostel – where former Lib Dem MP for Rochdale Cyril Smith was said to have abused children for years – will also be examined as part of the inquiry into how institutions failed toPROTECT children.

Justice Lowell Goddard, head of the inquiry, announced 12 investigations will run at once across England and Wales. She said she hopes some of these will be concluded within 18 months, whereas others could take several years, describing the original five-year timetable for completion as “ambitious, but achievable”.

Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence andSECURITY agencies. It will consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.

“By adopting both an institution-specific and a thematic approach, we will ensure that the inquiry reaches its conclusions on as broad an evidence base as possible. We will not be limited to considering the particular institution that is the focus of the investigation, but will address the range of institutional responsibility for childPROTECTION.

She added: “There is no doubt that the task we have set ourselves in the first phase is ambitious. To run 12 investigations in parallel represents an organisational challenge that is unprecedented in a public inquiry in the UK. We are determined to succeed and expect full cooperation of all institutions and individuals who can assist us in our work.”