Theresa May told to 'come clean' over handling of concerns about child sex abuse inquiry

A Labour MP has called on Theresa May to "come clean" about why she did not act on concerns about the troubled national inquiry into child sex abuse.

The Prime Minister confirmed, as the then-Home Secretary, she was aware of "stories" about some of the individuals involved in the inquiry she had set up while in charge of the department.

However she insisted the Home Office was not officially notified of concerns about former inquiry chairwoman Dame Lowell Goddard until July - less than a week before the New Zealand high court judge resigned her post.

Speaking in response to a question from Labour MP Lisa Nandy at Prime Minister's Questions, she defended her actions, saying: "There were stories around about the inquiry and about individuals related to the inquiry but the Home Secretary cannot intervene on the basis of suspicion, rumour or hearsay."

Dame Lowell Goddard became the third chairman to resign from the troubled inquiry into child sex abuse. Credit: PA

The Commons Home Affairs Committee was told on Tuesday a member of the inquiry panel had privately raised concerns with a director-general in the Home Office in April when Mrs May was still home secretary.

However Mrs May told MPs: "That conversation was asked to be confidential and it was, as far as I am aware, treated as such. I think it is important for us to recognise that, when the Home Office was officially informed of issues, the Home Office acted. It's now for the inquiry to get on and deliver for victims and survivors."

Labour MP Lisa Nandy questioned Theresa May over her conduct in Parliament. Credit: PA

But, speaking after PMQs, Ms Nandy said the Prime Minister must explain what concerns she was made aware of and explain why she chose not to act on them.

Some MPs remain angry that when current Home Secretary Amber Rudd appeared before committee last month she made no mention of the issues that had been raised. She said Dame Lowell had resigned because she was homesick.

The Home Office finally issued a statement last week following newspaper reports about Dame Lowell's conduct, disclosing that it had been formally contacted by the inquiry on July 29. Six days later the judge resigned.

Dame Lowell has strongly denied allegations against her - including claims that she used racist language - describing them as "falsities", "malicious" and part of a "vicious campaign".