Saying she was “not the right person” for the job, Baroness Butler-Sloss has stepped down as head of the UK government’s inquiry that looks into reports of at least 20 senior figures including MPs and cabinet ministers abusing children over decades.
Butler-Sloss, 80, had
been under pressure to quit by both MPs and victims due to her family
links. Sir Michael Havers, who is the Baroness’ late brother, served as
attorney general in the 1980’s, and is suspected of turning a blind eye
to incidents of child abuse conducted by politicians during the time.
said that she was ‘honored’ to be invited to chair the inquiry but that
she “did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact
my brother had been attorney general would cause difficulties.”
is a victim-orientated inquiry and those who wish to be heard must have
confidence that the members of the panel will pay proper regard to
their concerns and give appropriate advice to government” she added.
retired judge had been appointed by Home Secretary Theresa May last
week, a decision that has been called “somewhat shambolic” by a leading
Speaking in front of the Home Affairs select committee today,
the Home Secretary said she did not regret selecting Butler-Sloss, and
that she would have done an “excellent job” as chair of the inquiry.
Asked about appointing a new chairperson, May said she hoped to name a new candidate “within a reasonable amount of time”.
Minister David Cameron bowed to pressure in calling for a public
inquiry into child sex abuse last week, following revelations that the
Home Office lost a document alleging that politicians in powerful
circles were involved in pedophilia during the 1980s.
this month, former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit told the
BBC that there “may well” have been a cover up over child abuse in
Westminster during the 1980’s, saying that politicians at the time felt
they needed to “protect the system”.