Head of child abuse inquiry vows to keep 'fighting'

The chairwoman of an independent inquiry into child sex abuse has said some forces want to stop a light being shone on "dark institutional failings"

Professor Alexis Jay, who is the inquiry's fourth chair following previous resignations, said she had fought for its independence, and does not intend "to stop fighting for it now".

Writing in The Times (£), Prof Jay said: "I have fought for this inquiry - for its independence,its reputation and its vital capacity to right a terrible wrong - since it opened, and I don't intend to stop fighting for it now."

Professor Jay insisted she had fought for the inquiry's independence. Credit: PA

It comes after a victims' group quit the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), branding it an "unpalatable circus".

The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (Sosa) described the inquiry as a "stage-managed event" which has "lurched from crisis to crisis".

The group's chairman Raymond Stevenson said members had voted last weekend that they no longer wanted to be part of the inquiry.

Raymond Stevenson said members of Shirley Oaks Survivors Association no longer wanted to be part of the inquiry. Credit: PA

Sosa, which represents victims affected by abuse at children's homes run by Lambeth Council in south London, also said it feared Prof Jay is "an uninspiring leader" who is not the right person to uncover the truth.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna also said he did not have confidence in Prof Jay as chair and wanted a judge of High Court level or above to replace her.

An inquiry spokesman said: "Our investigation will continue and will examine the scale and nature of the abuse that may have taken place under the care of Lambeth Council with pace, confidence and clarity."

Downing Street and Home Secretary Amber Rudd have voiced their support for the professor.

The inquiry, first established by then home secretary Theresa May in 2014, has been fraught with problems and controversy.

Described as the most ambitious public inquiry ever launched in England and Wales, it is running several investigative strands spanning decades.