Concerns about child sexual abuse probe raised months before Lowell Goddard quit

Concerns about the leadership of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse were reported months before the resignation of the former chair Dame Lowell Goddard, MPs have heard.

Drusilla Sharpling, a member of inquiry's panel, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that she reported concerns about the "qualities of leadership" to the then Home Office director general Mary Calam in April.

"That was our principle concern, and that was the reason why we wanted to work with the inquiry to ensure these were overcome," she said.

"Regrettably that was not the case in the end."

Inquiry chair Professor Alexis Jay (centre) and panel members give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Credit: PA Wire

Ms Sharpling stressed that she did not require any actions to be taken after raising the concerns, neither did she give permission for the concerns to be "spread".

Dame Lowell, 67, resigned as chair of the inquiry in August, saying there was an "inherent problem in the sheer scale and size" of the probe.

She also said the probe had been beset by a "legacy of failure".

Last month, Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Home Affairs Select Committee that Dame Lowell quit her role partly because she found it "too lonely".

Dame Lowell was replaced by Professor Alexis Jay as chair of the inquiry in August.

Ben Emmerson QC, the most senior lawyer appointed to the inquiry, resigned last month amid reports of a difference in opinion between himself and Prof Jay.

Prof Jay, however, insisted that she had not clashed with Mr Emmerson.

"There was no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that he and I had a disagreement about anything, that was entirely untrue," she said.

Prof Jay maintained that the number of resignations would not affect the inquiry.

"The inquiry is bigger than any individual ego or personality," she said.