As the SKWAWKBOX covered last week, a senior Rochdale councillor claimed that the head of Rochdale council knew about the child abuse taking place at Knowl View school and kept it quiet – and that Labour’s then north-west regional HQ had ignored him when he reported the council chief.
The SKWAWKBOX can now name the councillor who made the claim, as on Wednesday Peter Joinson gave evidence to IICSA – the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Joinson repeated the accusations over around 30 minutes of questioning by the inquiry’s counsel, Brian Altman QC, echoing the claims of other council officers that council leader Richard Farnell was aware of reports of child abuse at Knowl View.
Then came the dramatic moment in which Altman put the question to him directly, whether Farnell’s denials of knowledge and allegation that Joinson’s claims were false and politically motivated meant that Farnell had lied to the inquiry:
Q: [Your assertion that you are telling the truth] means that Mr Farnell lied to this inquiry yesterday.
A: I don’t like to use that word, but I would say that he’s probably not telling the truth.
Richard Farnell is now facing calls for his resignation by the lawyer representing eight victims of the abuse at the school, which was closed in 1995.
There will be calls for a clear-out of other senior officials at the council as well.
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