Call for review of Waterhouse report to be dropped


Lois Hough

THE withdrawal of sex abuse claims against a senior Conservative Party figure means a new inquiry should also be scrapped, says a former Appeal Court judge.

And Lord Lloyd of Berwick says a review of the Waterhouse Inquiry should also be axed as a result of abuse victim Steve Messham dropping his allegations.

The Waterhouse Inquiry, led by High Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse, examined claims and made 72 recommendations when it reported in 2000.

Prime Minister David Cameron ordered Mrs Justice Julia Macur to conduct a review of the original inquiry, following a suggestion by Mr Messham on BBC2’s Newsnight that he was abused by the senior Tory figure.

But Mr Messham, a former resident at Bryn Estyn care home in Wrexham, has since withdrawn his claims.

Lord Lloyd said: “There is no longer any need for another High Court judge to go over all the work done by Sir Ronald 15 years ago.

“On the contrary, we should all be grateful for the impeccable conduct of that work and the thoroughness of his report.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord McNally said it was the clamour for action following latest allegations that had led to the fresh inquiry.

Justice Minister Lord McNally insisted the latest inquiry did not mean Sir Ronald’s investigation failed to uncover the truth.

He said: “The judge in charge of the new inquiry is taking time to look carefully at what she needs to do in the job and will look at it again to see whether the plethora of allegations around need re-examining, whether in the details of the inquiry something was missed.

“But I do not accept that impugns either the integrity of the process or the findings of the original report.”

Speaking at Lords question time, retired judges rallied to Sir Ronald’s defence and questioned whether Mrs Justice Macur’s investigation should go ahead.

The Justice Minister claimed the Government’s decision did not “call into question the integrity” of the original investigation.

See full story in the Leader

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