Elizabeth Butler-Sloss will head historical child abuse review

  Forum Editor 23:25 08 Jul 2014

Which has to be good news to everyone with an interest in seeing this subject given a thorough examination.

She has an enviable reputation for good sense and sensitivity where children are concerned.

  Al94 23:49 08 Jul 2014

Absolutely the wrong person to lead this enquiry. She at 80 years of age is too old, she is a member of the House of Lords and must surely be regarded as too close to the very society that is being investigated. Also her brother being Lord Chancellor during the 80's, a period which will be investigated, must put a question mark over her impartiality.

  Flak999 00:17 09 Jul 2014

An unusual choice, given some of the controversy that has surrounded her judgements. As Al94 says, given her background as a member of the Lords she could well be investigating some of her peers.

I feel this should be a full public enquiry with the ability to call witnesses under oath. If half of what we hear turns out to be true this will make the MPs expenses scandal look like a storm in a teacup.

A 1995 BBC interview with Tim Fortescue, a Conservative whip in Ted Heath's Tory government between 1970-73, suggested MPs might seek their help with personal problems.

"It might be debt, it might be scandal involving small boys, any kind of scandal. And if we could help, we would, because we would store up brownie points. If we could get a chap out of trouble, then he'd do as we ask for evermore."

This will destroy whatever credibility the political class had left!

  BillSers 09:22 09 Jul 2014

'I'm amazed that the statistics show it's always white males that seem to like to interfere with children.'


I think a woman is better suited for the job, and her reputation precedes her. A good choice I believe.

  Al94 10:02 09 Jul 2014

The BBC are now reporting this click here

Maybe go the same way as her appointment as coroner in the Diana inquest?

  Aitchbee 11:31 09 Jul 2014

I think that this woman would have been a better candidate for the job in question:-

click here

  spuds 11:45 09 Jul 2014

Already I am finding the whole affair confusing, considering the lengthy speech the Home Secretary made in the Commons, especially on how any procedures were to be followed.

Initially it was stated that this "would be a review of a review" that the CEO of the NSPCC would govern and investigate, and from that a further panel would conduct a more intense investigation if required.

It was apparent by the speech, that a senior level legal (independent?) person would be involved, possibly someone not affiliated to any of the political party's, because this may lead to a 'investigating their own' situation.

While I have respect for Butler-Sloss and somethings that she as said and done in the past, in my opinion she is not the person to be selected, because of her possible commitments to the Conservative party, not forgetting that the events of the possible investigation was in the Conservative era that this 'lost, misplaced,not known the whereabouts' documents incident occured. To perhaps give public faith in a total independent investigation on the legal side, then it might possibly by the selection of a well known QC (who are known for their actions) chairing the investigation, and not someone with any noticeable ties to a political party?.

  flycatcher1 15:28 09 Jul 2014

I think that Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is not the right person to head this enquiry purely because she is just too old. The fact that she may be a Conservative supporter should not be a reason to doubt her balanced judgement in legal cases. The recent DPP, Keith Starmer is a strong Labour supporter but I have never heard anyone suggest that he was biased when he decided on major prosecutions.

I feel neutral about her brother's political career it really should not make any difference.

In my "long and varied Service career serving the King/ Queen in far off places" (!) Only once was their a hint of political bias. In 1959 a major body of Aircrew Officers was assembled and for nearly two hours harangued by Air Marshals about the danger of the "Ban the Bomb" movement. We thought that it was like water off a ducks back, in one ear and out of the other. The only thing I really remember was when Bernard Russell was mocked for believing in "Free Love". It raised momentous applause and the proceedings were rapidly curtailed.

  john bunyan 16:54 09 Jul 2014


I have no political affiliations but the Tory party can have had no worse a character than Labour's Tom Driberg (later Lord Bradwell) - see Peter Cook's view of his biography. I suspect, if one includes Thorpe and Cyril Smith, all parties will be seen to have harboured some very unsavoury characters, and the sooner any current ones ( criminals , not "just" gay) are "outed", the better.The same goes for anyone in any walk of life involved in paedophilia. The Pope has belatedly apologised but few Bishops have been prosecuted for not reporting such crimes, partly because the old common law of "misprision of a felony" (google it) was abolished in the '60's.Perhaps it should be brought back.

Tom Driberg

  Forum Editor 17:06 09 Jul 2014

"Maybe go the same way as her appointment as coroner in the Diana inquest?"

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss stepped down from that inquiry because she felt that she did not have sufficient experience with juries in Coroners courts. She is known for her integrity and desire to be scrupulously fair, and would not undertake something if she felt there was any conflict of interest.

There are going to be people who would object to virtually any appointment to head this review, it's an emotive issue. You can already detect the atmosphere of prejudice surrounding a case that might involve members of the House of Commons and/or Lords - it's inevitable.

Butler-Sloss has had considerable experience of cases involving child abuse - she headed the Cleveland inquiry, and was the judge in the James Bulger case. She was criticised for allowing James' killers to be given different identities, but has steadfastly defended the decision.

I think she will do an excellent job with the new review, I can't think of anyone better qualified. All the fuss about her being prejudiced because her late brother was Attorney General is nonsense - she will go to great lengths to avoid any hint of a cover up; she knows that her every word and action will be subject to scrutiny by the media.

I wish her luck with an unenviable job.

  john bunyan 18:00 09 Jul 2014


Agreed, again. I just thought the Driberg case was so awful. Everyone at the time knew he was liable to importune anyone he came across but did nothing about it.

We share, I suspect, a cynical view of most politicians.

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