The stock government reply to queries about a national inquiry into organised child abuse

Since starting the letter/e-mail/Twitter campaign to ask MPs to join the original seven calling for a national inquiry into organised child abuse there have been already a number of replies. At the time of writing, 97 [update: now 135] MPs are supporting the call whilst various others have either not been prepared to back, have given a so-far non-committal reply, or have indicated whilst they are not opposed in principle to a national inquiry, they wish to wait until current police investigations are complete before committing, or alternatively want the nature of such an inquiry to be more precisely defined before supporting it.

But I would like to draw people’s attention to a series of responses, which make clear how a standard reply has been drawn up either by the government or the Conservative Party, as a ‘line to take’, especially following the question asked at Prime Minister’s Questions this week. All of these replies are from Conservative politicians. Please do send me (ian@ianpace.com ) copies of any other replies of this or a similar nature. I am keeping tabs of MPs who decline to support, as well as those who do support. I would also recommend people compare the replies below in their wording with some of these very similar responses from 2013.


Mike Freer (Conservative, Finchley and Golders Green): ‘Thank you for contacting me about historic allegations of child abuse.

I appreciate your concern about this issue. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime, no matter when, or where, it occurs. It is important that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is important that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people.

There are a number of inquiries taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action.

I join the Government in urging anyone with concerns or information to report them to the police. I am glad that the Government has made clear that if anyone has concerns about police handling of such complaints they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is important that these authorities act on the information provided to them.’

+ (second communication) ‘There is a longstanding practice that overarching inquiries are not undertaken whilst existing inquiries – which may result in criminal prosecutions. This has been respected so as not to jeopardise any prosecutions. The most important thing for any victim is surely to see perpetrators prosecuted.’


Gordon Henderson
(Conservative, Sittingbourne and Sheppey) said [according to a constituent] that he appreciated my concern about the issue.that it was an abhorrent crime. That he was confident the government is committed to tackling it and was not aware of any cover up by the current government. He said: “Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is important that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the minister for policing and criminal justice Damian Green is leading a national group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people. There are a number of inquiries taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action. I join the government in urging anyone with concerns or information to report them to the police. I am glad that the government has made clear that if anyone has concerns about police handling of such complaints they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission . It is important that these authorities act on the information provided to them.”


Gareth Johnson
(Conservative, Dartford, PPS, Home Office): ‘I appreciate your concern about this issue. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime, no matter when, or where, it occurs. It is important that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is important that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people.

There are a number of inquires taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action.’


Andrew Lansley
(Conservative, South Cambridgeshire, Leader of the House of Commons): ‘I do appreciate your concern about this important issue. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime, no matter when, or where, it occurs. I can assure you that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes.

Historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. That is why the Prime Minister has asked Damian Green, Home Office Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, to lead Ministers across Government and a new national group to address urgently the missed opportunities to protect vulnerable children.

The Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People national group is a panel of experts brought together by the Home Office to co-ordinate and implement the lessons from recent inquiries into historic sexual abuse and current sexual violence prevention issues. It will work to improve cross Government delivery, identify problems and solutions and act swiftly to resolve them.’


Patrick McLoughlin
(Conservative, Derbyshire Dales): ‘Thank you for contacting me about historic allegations of child abuse.

I appreciate your concern about this issue. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime, no matter when, or where, it occurs. It is important that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is important that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people.

There are a number of inquiries taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action.

I am glad that the Government has made clear that if anyone has concerns about police handling of such complaints they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is important that these authorities act on the information provided to them.’


Anne Main
(Conservative, St Albans): ‘Thank you for contacting me about historic allegations of child abuse.

I appreciate your concern about this issue. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime, no matter when, or where, it occurs. It is important that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is important that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people.

There are a number of inquiries taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action.

I join the Government in urging anyone with concerns or information to report them to the police. I am glad that the Government has made clear that if anyone has concerns about police handling of such complaints they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is important that these authorities act on the information provided to them’.


Andrew Mitchell
(Conservative, Sutton Coldfield): ‘I appreciate your concern in this matter. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime no matter when or where it occurs. I can assure you that the Government is committed to tackling it in whatever form it takes.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, Social Services, the Police, the criminal justice system and others. That is why the Prime Minister has asked Damian Green, Home Office Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, to lead Ministers across Government and a new national group to address urgently the missed opportunities to protect vulnerable children.

The Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People national group is a panel of experts brought together by the Home Office to co-ordinate and implement the learning from recent inquiries into historic sexual abuse and current sexual violence prevention issues. It will work to improve cross Government delivery, identify problems and solutions and act swiftly to resolve them.

On historic allegations the Government urges anyone with concerns or information to report them to the Police. if they have concerns about the Police they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Government expects those authorities to act on the information provided to them’.


Robert Neill
(Conservative, Bromley & Chislehurst): ‘Thank you for contacting me about the calls for a national inquiry into child sex abuse.

It is needless to say that child abuse, in any form, is an abhorrent crime. Clearly, and without doubt, trusted institutions – including children’s homes, schools and the Church – have failed to protect some of the most vulnerable young people that have been put into their care, and I believe these abuses must be uncovered in their entirety and without delay.

It is also absolutely crucial that we learn from the mistakes of the past to ensure every effort can, and is made to prevent similar crimes like this reoccurring in the future. That is why the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, is currently leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable adults. The lessons that emerge from this must, I feel, dictate future policy and go some way in shaping current campaigns, whether it be the push to end female genital mutilation or the new announcements to protect children’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Whilst I appreciate the issue your raise, and have, of course, taken due note of your concerns, I do not feel this proposed national inquiry stands as the best course for justice at the present time. As you are no doubt aware, there are a number of separate inquiries already taking place into accusations of historic child sex abuse, some of which involve criminal investigations, and I believe it is absolutely right we allow these to run their proper course before taking further action. To interweave these with a wider, more general inquiry, like the one suggested, would, I feel, be completely counterproductive. Anyone who has concerns regarding malpractice or has evidence that the current investigations are not being conducted sufficiently should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact me on this incredibly important issue. i hope my response reassures that you [sic] the Government is approaching all child sex abuse cases very seriously and is taking a proactive stance on the matter. Whilst I would not rule out an inquiry of this nature taking place in the future, I do not feel that the investigation a number of my colleagues are supporting is, at this time, appropriate. If you wish to discuss the matter in any further detail, of course, please do not hesitate to get in touch.’


Mark Prisk
(Conservative, Hertford and Stortford, Minister of State for Housing and Local Government): ‘It is important that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes. Damian Green is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people’.


Grant Schapps
(Conservative, Welwyn Hatfield, Conservative Party Chairman): (sent on Schapps’ behalf by his office) ‘Grant appreciates your concern about this issue. Child abuse is an abhorrent crime, no matter when, or where, it occurs. It is important that the Government is committed to tackling it, in whatever form it takes.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is important that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people.

There are a number of inquiries taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action.

Grant joins the Government in urging anyone with concerns or information to report them to the police. Grant is glad that the Government has made clear that if anyone has concerns about police handling of such complaints they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is important that these authorities act on the information provided to them’.


Alok Sharma
(Conservative, Reading West): ‘There are a number of inquiries taking place into child abuse cases, including criminal investigations. It is important we allow these to run their course before taking further action’.


Theresa Villiers
(Conservative, Chipping Barnet): ‘Thank you for contacting me about historic allegations of child abuse.

I fully understand your concern about this issue. I find it truly shocking that so many horrific child abuse cases keep coming to light.

Both the historical cases of child abuse and recent cases of organised sexual exploitation raise a number of important issues for the Government, social services, the police, the criminal justice system and others. It is vital that we learn lessons from these reviews of historic child abuse cases. That is why the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, is leading a National Group which will work across government to urgently address any missed opportunities to protect children and vulnerable people.

There are a number of inquiries taking place into historic child sex abuse cases, including criminal investigations. We need to allow these to run their course before taking further action.

I would urge anyone with information to report it to the police. The Government has also made clear that if anyone has concerns about police handling of such complaints, they should report them to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I am confident that these authorities will act on the information provided to them’.


The original seven MPs made very clear that one of the purposes of such an inquiry was to address a series of failures on the part of police and other authorities. Simply arguing that it suffices to leave things in these authorities’ hands will not do. This reply amounts to a ‘we are just going to let things continue as they are at the moment, and not do anything different, but are sending you this stock reply in an attempt to buy time before a general election’. I would urge people not to let this sort of response be forgotten come that election.

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15 Comments on “The stock government reply to queries about a national inquiry into organised child abuse”

  1. anon says:

    Lansley scurried off as fast as he could when I confronted him whilst he was leaflet dropping in my area, he denied any knowledge of Elm Guest House, Haut De La Garrene etc etc

    Oh how these people are going to fall hard soon enough.

  2. This does indeed sound like a series of politicians’ answers of the kind that one has come to expect with wearisome regularity on, for example, such programmes as BBC Radio 4’s Today and which amount to “we are already doing things – and/or are aware that things are being done – about this, so please go away and let’s wait for the outcomes (if any) of those actions (if any)”.

    Even to the extent that there may be some truth in what these and other MPs might seek to persuade those who ask them, such bland and largely non-specific “answers” do little more than encourage and seek to endorse the kind of fragmentation and dissipation that are the very enemy of moves towards the holding of a much needed full public inquiry.

    If these MP’s “answers” are sincere in wanting something to be done about this issue, they should be working towards co-ordination of effort rather than passively leaving it to various organisations each to do their own things (or not) and hope that it will all gradually disappear from general public consciousness.

  3. GMB says:

    Seems to me our lot are slow off the mark. Thank God for the FOIA (US) at the DHS @ Murray Drive Washington DC. If you think the revelations over hear are bad wait a few days for ones from the USA.

  4. Mrs Angry says:

    I’ve also received the stock answer, I now realise from my MP, Mike Freer. I find such a response to a cross party issue to be utterly unacceptable, and shall be writing to tell him so.

  5. […] am keeping another blog post with the standardised template responses such as some of those […]

  6. […] that your party and possibly your Government is exercising some control over MPs wishes and a “Standard Response” has crept in to letters to constituents who have written to them asking them to support the demand […]

  7. […] The stock government reply to queries about a national inquiry into organised child abuse (15/6/14, also regularly updated) […]

  8. […] Labour – 73 at the current count, compared to 23 Conservatives. Many Conservatives have been copying and pasting stock replies which say nothing. Furthermore, most of the Labour MPs have been backbenchers without so many high profile figures; […]

  9. […] that your party and possibly your Government is exercising some control over MPs wishes and a “Standard Response” has crept in to letters to constituents who have written to them asking them to support the demand […]


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