Sarah Champion: The left are failing to confront the truth of sex crimes

Posted On: 
2nd September 2017

Vulnerable children are being failed by the “floppy left” who fail to speak out against groups of Asian men who have sexually exploited young white girls, according to a former frontbench Labour MP.

Sarah Champion with Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of Labour's election manifesto.
Credit: 
PA images

Sarah Champion was fired from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet after she wrote an article in the Sun claiming Britain had “a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.

Mr Cobyn responded by claiming the paper was stoking Islamophobia and stigmatising “entire communities”.

Solicitor General: ‘Racist’ child sex abusers should get more prison time

Diane Abbott MP: Government 'record of failure' on tackling child sex abuse is 'inexcusable'

MPs accuse child abuse inquiry of 'inadequate' response to sex assault claims against top lawyer

In an interview with the Times, Ms Champion blamed a liberal fear of being accused of racism for Labour’s inability to tackle the problem.

“If I’m on the floppy left, to be accused of racism is probably the worst thing you can call me. That fear will motivate me to step away from a lot of topics I’d maybe tackle head on if I didn’t have that phobia.”

Ms Champion said that many Labour members and politicians based in London had “never been challenged by a reality that’s different” from their largely “tolerant, multicultural world”.

“London is not representative of the UK and it’s definitely not representative of the north of England in relation to race,” she said. “Rotherham and many post-industrial towns are still segregated.”

Since 2012 there have a number of cases of gangs of Asian men grooming young, vulnerable white girls for sexual exploitation.

Successful prosecutions have been brought against gangs in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, and most recently Newcastle Upon Tyne.

No similar prosecution has occurred in London. Ms Champion said that the “multicultural policies that I, through my working career, grew up with, and which Jeremy Corbyn grew up with, need a translation to come outside London”.

She said: “It’s not that Yorkshire’s racist, it’s that Yorkshire is very blunt and doesn’t sugar-coat anything. In Rotherham, people’s frustration is that if they all knew what was going on, why didn’t the people who were meant to protect them do anything about it?”

Ms Champion was strongly criticised by many Labour supporters after she called for research into why so many gangs of Asian men had been deliberately exploiting vulnerable young women.

“Once you make a decision to be open and up front about what’s going on in this country, you want to get the broadest number of people to hear that message,” she said.

“Rotherham has a working-class demographic and a lot of my older constituents read The Sun.

“I’m a Labour politician, I want us to be in government and I wanted to let people know we’re taking this seriously. I wanted to reach out to people that we don’t normally reach out to.”

She emphasised that most childhood sexual abuse in Britain was carried out on family members by men acting alone.

However, she pointed to the sex abuse scandals that had rocked the Catholic Church to illustrate the disinterest plaguing the Labour leadership.

“But for me, with this type of street-grooming crime, it’s no different to where we were in the recent past, with everyone knowing what was happening in the Catholic church but not doing anything about it.

“If, 15 years ago, we’d acknowledged there was a particular issue among a criminal subsection of men in the Pakistani community we could have addressed it, carried out the research and gained the understanding to challenge it, tackle it and eradicate it.”