Telford child sex abuse: Independent inquiry will be held, says MP Lucy Allan

A dedicated independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford will take place, the town’s MP has said.

Telford MP Lucy Allan
Telford MP Lucy Allan

Lucy Allan, who has campaigned for an independent inquiry into the grooming and sexual abuse of girls in the town since 2016, said “all parties are now agreed that an inquiry is necessary”.

Ms Allan’s comments came after the government said it was up to authorities in Telford to decide if the inquiry is necessary. The Home Office had rejected a call from Telford & Wrekin Council to commission the review itself.

The council continues to call for any inquiry to be commissioned by the government, saying it would be given wider scope and also be seen as free of any potential vested interests.

An inquiry into the child sexual exploitation (CSE) scandal in Rotherham was commissioned by the local council and not the government.

And Ms Allan says a similar inquiry is vital in Telford for victims of offences. It is not clear who would fund any inquiry if it were to be commissioned by the council.

More coverage on the Telford abuse scandal

The MP said: “There is going to be a dedicated independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford.

“All parties are now agreed that an inquiry is necessary and this can now go ahead.

“While it would be expected that such an inquiry will take the form of a ‘Rotherham style’ inquiry, as this is a tried and tested model, there may well be alternative models that would work just as well.

“What really matters is that an independent inquiry is going to take place. This is vital for the victims, their families and our community. It will enable us to find out why this happened.”

Previously Telford & Wrekin Council had said an independent inquiry dedicated to the town was not required, as any issues would be covered by a national inquiry into child abuse. However, the authority changed is position earlier this week and said it now supported an independent inquiry. The government has subsequently said the decision on a new inquiry is down to Telford authorities.


Councillor Andrew Eade, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council’s opposition Conservative group, urged the council to fund the inquiry with £2 million set aside to celebrate Telford’s 50th anniversary.

He also said it was not the government’s job to commission the investigation, adding: “It does not surprise me that it has been turned down. It was ever thus. It is on the local council’s watch and it has to fund this inquiry and it should take the money out of the £2 million set aside for the Telford 50 celebrations.”

The national spotlight has fallen on Telford over the issue after a report published in the Sunday Mirror claimed there could have been as many as 1,000 victims of the offence over the past 40 years. Telford police Superintendent Tom Harding has described the story as sensationalised, and said he had no idea where the numbers had come from.

Seven Telford men were jailed in 2013 as a result of Operation Chalice, during which police revealed they had identified more than 100 girls who had been targeted by a child sex ring.

Officers said that they also believed up to 200 men from across the country had been involved in the ring – with a “huge percentage of them” unidentified. The trial had heard evidence from four women who were between 13 and 16 when they were abused between 2007 and 2009.

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