Lord Carlile Won't Take Chair of Child Sex Inquiry

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

Lord Carlile Won't Take Chair of Child Sex Inquiry


Byline: David Williamson Political Editor david.williamson@walesonline.co.uk

FORMER Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Alex Carlile - one of the highest-pro-file legal experts in the House of Lords - has ruled himself out as a candidate to head the inquiry into historical child sex abuse.

Lord Carlile, who was Montgomeryshire's MP from 1983 to 1997 and served as the Government's independent reviewer of British anti-terrorist laws, said that whoever leads the inquiry should not be a parliamentarian.

He also insisted that he or she should have expertise in issues involving child protection or child abuse.

The peer suggested one of the Court of Appeal judges could be released from their duties to take up the post. Alternatively, a recently retired senior judge could do the job.

He said: "The politics has to be taken out of this. If the Lord Chief Justice could be persuaded to release a senior judge to do this job, that would be ideal.

"There is no particular reason why it should be a woman but there are, as it happens, seven women who are members of the Court of Appeal. "Alternatively, there are some recently retired judges from the Court of Appeal who would do a very good job if they were persuaded and willing to do it.

"We must remember, too, that there's quite a big world north of Watford. There are an awful lot of people with great ability who could carry out this inquiry who are not part of the Westminster village or the political scene." Asked about judges' status as part of the establishment, he replied: "You would be surprised how independent judges are to politics. " Last week Fiona Woolf resigned as chair of the inquiry following close scrutiny of her links with the former home secretary Lord Brittan, who faces claims he failed to act on a dossier containing allegations of paedophile activity in the 1980s. …

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