- New investigation established to look into historic child abuse claims
- It is to run in competition with the Home Secretary’s troubled inquiry
- Theresa May’s inquiry beset by problems since it was first formed
- Michael Mansfield QC has been appointed judge of the rival investigation
Theresa May’s troubled child abuse inquiry suffered a fresh setback last night as it emerged that a rival investigation is to be held by a top human rights lawyer.
Michael Mansfield QC, who represented Mohamed Al Fayed at the inquests into the deaths of Princess Diana and Al Fayed’s son Dodi, has been appointed as the judge of a new ‘people’s tribunal’ on historic abuse claims.
The Home Secretary’s official inquiry has barely started, even though it was launched several months ago.
But just like the Government’s inquiry, the new tribunal – set up by child abuse campaigners – has been beset by problems.
Only weeks after the steering committee was appointed, four members resigned, citing attacks on social media.
Home Secretary Theresa May’s (pictured) troubled child abuse inquiry has now suffered a fresh setback with the formation of a rival investigation
Among them was ex-social worker Liz Davies, a leading child protection expert.
Organisers insist it is not in conflict with the Government’s inquiry but will instead complement it.
However, its website suggests that there will be an element of competition. It says: ‘This tribunal is necessary because the Government initiative has serious shortcomings.’
Questions have also been raised about its funding. Organisers say they hope to raise money from the public, partly by selling wristbands carrying the slogan ‘sweep away the secrecy’.
The tribunal will hold public hearings across Britain at which abuse survivors will tell their stories, and will produce a report within a year that will be submitted to Theresa May’s inquiry as well as other institutions.
As it is entirely unofficial, it has no legal powers requiring witnesses to come forward.
Mrs May will face questions from MPs tomorrow on the lack of progress with the investigation and the struggle to find a suitable chairman.
At least 100 names have been put forward after Mrs Woolf had to step down, following The Mail on Sunday’s revelation that she has close links to former Home Secretary Leon Brittan.