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Rotherham police chief must go, says Labour

Rotherham police chief must go, says Labour
Labour has called on South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright to quit in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse revelations.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls led the charge today, arguing: "Mr Wright should stand down.. because of the failures of leadership".

Mr Balls also told The World At One: "The Labour Party has no power to compel somebody who has been elected as a PCC to stand down. But it is absolutely our view that he should do so. That is something which has been communicated to him today, and I hope he very much reflects upon the position he is now in."

Mr Wright oversaw children’s services at Rotherham Council from 2005 to 2010. The police commissioner and former Labour councillor has so far rejected calls for him to go, saying he was not aware of the scale of the abuse.

But despite Mr Wright's initial defiance, the intervention of the Labour leadership could mean his days are now numbered.

A spokesman for the party said: "The report into child abuse in Rotherham was devastating in its findings. Vulnerable children were repeatedly abused and then let down.

"In the light of this report, it is appropriate that South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright should step down."

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham tweeted today: "Now fully read report, Sean Wright [sic] needs to step down as PCC. He's championed child abuse prosecutions since, but this happened on his watch."

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said that "heads must roll" and in particular Mr Wright needed to "consider his position".

Education Minister Nick Gibb has also called for policy-makers in Rotherham to be "held to account" over the abuse.

There have been growing calls for Mr Wright to resign after a report published yesterday revealed that at least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited by gangs in the town between 1997 and 2013.

But the South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said today: “My message is, from my perspective I am very sorry for any abuse that took place. If I could have prevented it, I would. All I can say is that this is top priority and will remain a top priority as long as remain in this role. I give a pledge and commitment going forward.

Mr Wright added: “Of course, I take my share of the responsibility. I only wish I knew more at that time, more could have been done. I do have regrets that I weren’t aware of it at the time. I’ve taken responsibility for that...

"I do have regrets that perhaps I weren’t more aware of the issue at the time where I could have perhaps influenced services better but in the end, I regret my role in that systemic failure and I’ve taken responsibility for that."

Green Box: Rotherham police chief must go, says LabourClick to open

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