UK & World News
Rotherham: MP Calls For Criminal Investigation
Police Commissioner Shaun Wright should face a criminal investigation over the Rotherham child abuse scandal, a Labour MP has said.
John Mann told Sky News he is writing to Home Secretary Theresa May asking for police to investigate Mr Wright with a view to bringing a case of misconduct in public office against him and others responsible for childcare while hundreds of children were abused.
The Bassetlaw MP said an independent force, rather than Mr Wright's South Yorkshire Police, should take charge of the inquiry.
Speaking on Sky News Sunrise, he said: "I'm writing to the Home Secretary and to South Yorkshire Police asking for an investigation into misconduct into public office, which is a criminal offence, for wilful neglect of duty.
"Having looked at the law, it seems to me that there is a case to be heard, potentially by him - also potentially by others involved in this scandal for wilfully failing to act."
Mr Wright has insisted he will stay in the £85,000 a year post, despite facing fresh calls to resign.
On Wednesday night he quit the Labour Party after he was threatened with being suspended from the party over his perceived failings in the key child protection role from 2005-2010.
Mr Wright was a Rotherham councillor, charged with heading up the local authority's child protection services at the height of the scandal, where an estimated 1,400 children are believed to have been groomed and abused by gangs of Asian men.
On Tuesday, a highly critical report highlighted widespread failings at both Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police for allowing that abuse to continue unchecked for more than 16 years.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - speaking on his LBC radio phone-in - became the latest senior politician to call for Mr Wright to go.
He said: "As Theresa May said, she can't tell the police and crime commissioner, who clearly should do the decent thing and stand aside, to do so.
"All we can do, which is what I'm doing now, which is what everybody's doing, across parties, is to say 'please, do the decent thing and stand aside because you have to take responsibility and then let's try ... to go after the perpetrators."
Meanwhile, a former director of Rotherham's children's services has said sorry to children abused in the town and said she wished more could have been done to help them.
Sonia Sharp, who was in the key role from 2005-2008, said it was known "that there were many children in the community at risk and feared that this was the tip of an iceberg".
Dr Sharp, now working for the Australian state of Victoria's department of education and early childhood development, said: "You can't be a director of children's services and not take responsibility for what happens to children.
"I am sorry that these children and young people suffered terrible abuse and I wish we could have done more to prevent the abuse of children and young people in Rotherham."