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Rotherham sex abuse revelations 'deeply troubling'

The mass sexual abuse which took place in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 is "deeply troubling", according to the head of an influential group of MPs.

Home Affairs select committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said MPs wanted to know how this abuse "was allowed to go unchallenged for so long":

The revelations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham are deeply troubling. The Committee will be questioning those in positions of authority at the time that these offences were being committed on how the sexual exploitation of children on a horrifying scale was allowed to go unchallenged for so long.

We will also be hearing from Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC about progress in their ongoing review of how the Home Office handled historical allegations of child abuse.

– Keith Vaz


MPs demand answers over Sir Cliff Richard search leak

MPs have demanded answers from both South Yorkshire Police and the BBC as to how the broadcaster seemed to know about the raid on Sir Cliff Richard's Berkshire home before it happened.

Keith Vaz wants answers by the end of this week. Credit: PA

Home Affairs Select Committee chair Keith Vaz has written to both sides asking them to explain themselves.

In the letter, Mr Vaz asks when the BBC first learned of South Yorkshire Police's intention to carry out the raid, how the BBC received this information and if the police force confirmed the time and date of the planned search to the BBC.

He also queries if it is possible that any BBC journalist behaved inappropriately during the handling of the case and asks for a response by Friday August 22.

Depending what the responses are, witnesses from the police and the BBC could be called to give evidence to the committee when they resume in September.

MP questions choice of Butler-Sloss for abuse inquiry

The choice of a former High Court judge to oversee the Government's inquiry into allegations of a cover-up of child sex abuse has been questioned by a prominent MP.

Baroness Butler-Sloss will lead the inquiry into sex abuse allegations. Credit: Stephen Kelly/PA Archive

Baroness Butler-Sloss will head a probe into whether alleged abuse by politicians and other powerful figures in institutions during the 1970s to 1990s was swept under the carpet.

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz expressed his surprise at the appointment, saying that while Lady Butler-Sloss is "distinguished" she is also a member of the House of Lords.

He said: "She is a member of Parliament and is very closely related to a former Lord Chancellor."

Vaz urges Home Office to reconsider 'cruel' deportation

Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz has written to Home Secretary Theresa May asking her to urgently reconsider the decision to deport Yashika Bageerathi.


'Essential' trust between police and public is restored

The Police Federation needs to implement a raft of recommendations put forward by an independent review if they are restore public faith in the police, Labour MP Keith Vaz told Daybreak.

Mr Vaz said it was "essential" trust between the federation and the public was restored.

However, he empathised with members of the public who felt let down by the police as he expressed some dismay that the "only people not to apologise" for "Plebgate" were the Police Federation.

Keith Vaz MP greets Romanians off plane at Luton

Romanians landing at Luton Airport were greeted by Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz on the first day of new rules allowing the migrants to work in the UK.

He said he saw no evidence of migrants who have "rushed out and bought tickets" because of the lifting of regulations.

Keith Vaz MP (second from L) greets a Romanian passenger at Luton Airport Credit: ITV News

He said that most of the people he met already work in the UK and were "coming back after a holiday".

But he also criticised the government for a "lack of robust estimates" of the number of Romanians and Bulgarians expected to arrive in the UK.

1.5 million patients 'are addicted to prescription drugs'

There are currently 1.5 million people addicted to prescription drugs in the UK. The abuse of these types of substances is taking place in the shadows and its extent is still unquantified.

Local GPs need to report their suspicions and collate information to illuminate this problem.

– Keith Vaz MP, Committee chair

Lack of action would lead to "catastrophic consequences", Mr Vaz said.

The committee cited work by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction which estimates that 1.5 million people are addicted to these type of drugs, far higher than those who are in treatment for addiction to illegal drugs.

Vaz: Today a 'big opportunity' for plebgate officers

Today is a "big opportunity" for two officers involved in the plebgate row to set the record straight, according to the chairman of the home affairs select committee Keith Vaz.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones will appear before the committee for the second time in as many weeks, after the committee found their evidence to be "misleading".

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Select Committee, said today represents a 'big opportunity' for the plebgate officers. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Vaz told BBC Breakfast: "I'm sorry to say that in a number of respects they have given evidence that was not strictly accurate, so this is their big opportunity today to come before the committee and to explain why that happened and to correct the record."

The chairman admitted he was frustrated with the time and cost of the inquiry: "I think we're getting near the end but I share your frustration and that of the viewers that this has taken so long and cost so much money - almost a third of a million pounds - and involved so many police officers."

The MP concluded that it was in the best interests of the taxpayer, Andrew Mitchell and the police officers involved that the saga be brought to a close.

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