The government is moving at a swift pace over the allegations of child abuse at North Wales children's homes: yesterday it announced an review of the Waterhouse inquiry, today Theresa May announced National Crime Agency head Keith Bristow will lead a new investigation into the allegations of child abuse, and the Prime Minister's official spokesman has just announced that the honourable Mrs Justice Julia Wendy Macur will lead the review of the Waterhouse Inquiry.
But these inquiries announced in the past 36 hours are examining specific allegations, and MPs from across the house are starting to call for an over-arching inquiry which will incorporate those investigations into the BBC, the NHS, and the abuse in Rotherham and Rochdale. Number 10 said this afternoon that it has 'not ruled anything out', with the spokesman adding: 'I think we should take stock when we have the results of these inquiries.' Macur's inquiry is the best-placed to recommend something more wide-ranging on child abuse allegations. If it does make such a suggestion, the government will be unlikely to turn it down: the pressure is on here for ministers to be seen to be doing everything they can to examine these allegations. Downing Street is clearly mindful of the trouble the BBC caused itself with its slow response to the Savile scandal, and ministers will want to ensure they do not endure the same damage.
The most important thing is that these two inquiries launched this week bring those involved in the latest allegations to justice and ensure that gaps do not continue exist in safeguarding which would allow similar abuse to take place today. As Tim Loughton suggested in the Chamber today, a wide-reaching inquiry may well be better-placed to address the second issue across institutions involved with children.