Scripted inquiry answers show child-abuse ‘honest/open debate’ not on cards

Government minister Sajid Javid has called for an ‘open and honest’ debate about child sexual abuse, following the resignation of Sarah Champion for her problematic comments about abuse by Asian men:

javid champion csa

But The SKWAWKBOX looked on Monday at the case of Sharon Evans, former panel member of the government’s child abuse inquiry, who has claimed that members were told how to answer questions put by the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) in order to protect the reputation of Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

Ms Evans has spoken of the control exerted on panel members testifying to the HASC in a startling interview given to Talk Radio and the fact of the ‘coaching’ has been a matter of public record since 2015 – but the SKWAWKBOX is now able to bring you the scripted answers themselves.

And some of them are both striking and raise serious questions about the inquiry itself.

The scripted answers were circulated with an email telling panel members how to apply them – telling them to use their own words rather than read out the answers:

iicsa script email

But the idea that ‘suggested lines only’ might mean panellists could answer differently was quashed during two-hour coaching sessions before the HASC sessions.

The full document is available for download at the end of this article, but some of the most problematic examples are shown individually below.

Do you have faith?

p8 highlighted

What if you don’t? There’s no room for a dissenting voice or even a personal opinion here. But were there grounds for any lack of confidence?

By this point, the inquiry was under heavy fire from many sides for a lack of transparency and the many conflicts of interest in the fact that its secretarial staff and some panel members worked for the Home Office that it was, in theory and among other departments, meant to be investigating – it was supposedly an independent inquiry.

In addition, as the HASC evidence session on 20 Jan 2015 showed, the committee had already lost two chairs, had no idea who its next chair would be and was struggling to find someone suitable – and the chair appointed the following month, New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard, would later resign amid murky circumstances.

Panellists may indeed have had confidence in a future inquiry – but in such circumstances, the idea that anyone, let alone everyone, would give an unqualified ‘yes’ stretches belief.

But that’s what was scripted for them.

What about X person and the future of the existing panel?

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Two questions about an unnamed individual – in context, clearly Sharon Evans – with scripted, non-committal answers. What if you did support her? Nobody disputes that, because of her background in journalism, she was appointed as the media spokesperson for the group.

In addition, while collective responsibility had been discussed, as Ms Evans told the HASC session, there was no chair and not even an agreement among the panel about what constituted a suitable majority for any vote on what should be disclosed to the press – so when she spoke out there was no mechanism in place for agreeing or vetoing.

An acceptable answer is also provided for any question about the future of the panel and whether it should be disbanded. Again an anodyne, essentially non-responsive answer is prescribed with no room for personal opinion – even though the HASC made a point of explaining to those providing evidence that their personal opinion was what was sought, not a collective response.

Who’s writing your letters?

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Fiona Woolf was a former chair of the inquiry. A 2014 letter she wrote to Theresa May playing down the involvement of the late Leon Brittan in child abuse was not allowed to be submitted until various revisions had gone back and forth and reached an approved form.

Panel respondents were told to say that the only changes to their own initial draft letter were to ensure factual accuracy – but Ms Evans says that letters were essentially written for panel members by advisers. Their input went far beyond ‘support’ to ensure ‘factual accuracy’.

Security service documents

inq notes sec servs

The panel members were told to answer that they would have access to security service documents if required – but an MP close to the matter has told the SKWAWKBOX that one chair of the inquiry was manoeuvred out of the post within a very short time of asking for documents held by the security services.

‘Action taken’

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Again in a clear reference to Sharon Evans, the scripted answer mandates a response limited to a mere discussion of a protocol. However, Ms Evans told the HASC that she had been threatened with legal action for speaking to the media – even though she was the panel’s media spokesperson.

The full script is too long to include in full in this article but can be downloaded as a PDF below. It is worth reading to see the extent of the control that someone wished to exercise over the answers given to an official parliamentary body.

Whatever Sajid Javid might say, the government’s track record on the treatment of child abuse casts serious doubt on any actual intent to be either open or honest.

If a formal inquiry cannot be trusted to do its putative job of exposing Establishment involvement in the abuse of children, what chance is there of the Tories permitting genuinely open or honest discourse now?

If the Establishment tries to maintain such a tight grip on what members can say even in a setting where they are specifically instructed that their personal views – under parliamentary privilege – are required, what chance is there that they will do anything else than try to keep the tight rein they have maintained so far on public discussion and on the information we can access?

Full document: inq notes compiled

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20 responses to “Scripted inquiry answers show child-abuse ‘honest/open debate’ not on cards

  1. It’s not an ‘Open and honest’ debate that’s required, javid. Get it into your thick skull – It’s open and honest ACTION, ffs.

    And I’d start by keeping may well away from selecting ANY judge for ANY inquiry.

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    • Why? What makes a judge any less credible to run such an inquiry? Apart from some mistaken belief that all judges are part of this so-called “establishment”.

      Like

  2. It is always the case, somebody have agenda and always to muddle up their own sake and over politicise and dismiss the fact. The best way to handle is to stick with the fact that should be appreciated, no nonsense. I know it is difficult task because politics misused and mishandled. A word of politics became so dirty.

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  3. Why on earth are Sarah Champion’s comments described here as ‘problematic’? All she wants is an honest debate about one of the biggest cover-ups of our time. I’m feeling very let down by JC – he shouldn’t be supporting a cover-up.

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    • I didn’t actually notice that first time around, Marge – but I agree about the race issue being ‘problematic’ . Except the time for debate has long since passed. Action is what’s required.

      Pakistani nonce, British nonce, Westminster nonce, judicial/police nonce – it makes no bleedin’ odds to me. .

      Get found guilty of it = Get physically/chemically castrated & thrown in jail with zero segregation. That’ll eliminate ANY need for debate.

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      • I broadly agree with what you have said here, The Toffee. The disturbing thing about the Sarah Champion matter is that she had to resign for mentioning one of the taboo areas of it. The issue is a massive problem. Her comments weren’t.

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    • Sarah Champion resigned due to an article in the Sun she wrote, purely about Pakistani men abusing woman and children, She said it had been edited in a way which took her comments out of context and allowed the paper to use it as a more hateful sweeping generalisation of an entire community.
      Champion should never have used the Sun of all papers to address such a serious issue, the Sun is pretty much guaranteed to always take something serious and turn it into an attack piece.

      As for Corbyns comments, they were purely about the article in the Sun and had nothing to do with the current disgusting cover up of the child abuse case that our amazingly incompetent prime minster manged to ‘accidentally lose’ important documents on, and Sajid needs to look at his own leader instead of trying to score points.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Whether or not the S*n article reflects her true intent, the mere fact of them being in that rag is problematic – and naive at best to make them in such a rag that is guaranteed to use them as a dog whistle, even if that wasn’t SC’s intention. And to consider abuse of that kind to be a Muslim/Pakistani issue simply shows ignorance of the huge problem of abuse by white men, including rich and powerful white men. But that’s perhaps the aim of the Scum and similar in focusing on the Muslim manifestation of that evil

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      • Fully agree, it’s frustrating to see so many in the PLP constantly bringing Labour into the limelight for all the wrong reasons, by using hostile and hate fuelled press with no regards to the outcomes. Shame too since SC has done a lot in the past to fight against abuse, but it was the right to resign, and at least Corbyn has said he will still work with her on the subject of child abuse.

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  4. Pingback: Truly Shocking but definitely not at all surprisingScripted inquiry answers show child-abuse ‘honest/open debate’ not on cards | paulh121·

  5. Pingback: Scripted inquiry answers show child-abuse ‘honest/open debate’ not on cards | Hercules space·

  6. The problem with the right wing of the labour party is that they are SO close to the conservative propaganda machine. They drink and dine together in the rather crazy belief that they can stroke each other’s careers. Perhaps they could in the past but they need to wake up to realise that those days are over now. The war is on. Leveson was the first battle. Corbyn’s constant wins have been the following battles with the MSM. The stranglehold of the MSM gangsters MUST be brought to an end.

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  7. Sarah Champion should be sacked from the labour party. There is no doubt that thuis is yet another neocon labour party effort to judge Corbyn. The in fighting has not stopped since the elction despite the euphoria with Corbyn’s leadership. Champion is a failure and it’s good people can see through her action

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  8. Pingback: Child-abuse revelations: Establishment backlash begins | The SKWAWKBOX·

  9. Pingback: Reader tells terrible tragedy and horrific extent of child sexual abuse | The SKWAWKBOX·

  10. AFTER READING THE ARTICLE, I’M IN NO DOUBT, THIS INVESTIGATION WON’T GET OF THE GROUND, WHILE THE TORIES ARE IN CHARGE!
    THOSE BEHIND THOSE INVESTIGATING, ARE PULLING THE STRINGS.
    THEY WILL NOT, ALLOW THEM TO GET CLOSE!
    THEIR GUILT, IS SCREAMING OUT TO BE INVESTIGATED!
    BY HONEST POWERFUL PEOPLE.
    A LOT TO ASK, MAYBE!
    IF, YOUR OUT THERE.
    WE WANT AN END TO THIS ABORENT PRACTICE, EVERYWHERE!

    Like

  11. Pingback: READER TELLS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY AND HORRIFIC EXTENT OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE | HOLLIE GREIG JUSTICE E mail holliegreigjusticee@gmail.com·

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