Rochdale scandal detective backs MP who quit over rape comments

Detective Constable Maggie Oliver says Sarah Chapman's words were "not racist". Credit: Manchester Evening News

A leading detective in the Rochdale child grooming scandal has backed a Labour MP who quit the shadow cabinet after facing a backlash for claiming Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping white girls.

Sarah Champion resigned as shadow women and equalities secretary and apologised for her "extremely poor choice of words" after warning of a "problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls" in a column for The Sun.

But Maggie Oliver, who persuaded young girls who were being sexually abused in Rochdale to speak to police, leading to nine gang members being jailed in 2012, said Ms Champion's remarks were not racist.

Eight of the Rochdale gang were British Pakistani and the issue has been thrust to the top of the agenda again following the convictions of 17 men and one woman over the sexual abuse of under-age girls in Newcastle.

The majority of the offenders in the Newcastle case were from a Muslim background across Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities.

But Ms Oliver said Ms Champion was right to focus on British Pakistanis, while stressing that not all men from that background are abusive.

The former detective told the Sunday Express:

Ms Champion received backing from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and the Equality and Human Rights Commission following her resignation.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Thursday it was: