After the shocking revelations of the Rotherham report into the abuse of children, even the national Labour Party is now calling for Sean Wright, the PCC for South Yorkshire, to resign.
As a councillor, Wright was in charge of Children’s Services (including child protection) in Rotherham from 2005 to 2010, years during which the council ignored clear warnings and allowed the crimes to continue.
It’s clear Wright should go, but shouldn’t Labour also be asking themselves how he got this job in the first place?
When they selected him in 2012, it was only two years since he had resigned specifically because he believed he had some “responsibility” for the appalling failures in Rotherham. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what he told Sky News about it today:
“I stood down in 2010 from that particular role and took my responsibility at that time.”
This means that Labour selected someone for a law and order role who had already acknowledged his own responsibility for overseeing serious failures in child protection – a remarkable decision to take, given that the PCC is meant to hold the confidence of victims and the concerned public. This wasn’t some secret he had kept, it was apparently his reason for no longer holding the Children’s Services role. Senior figures in the local party must have known.
Wright evidently believes that resigning from the council role washed him of that responsibility (let’s call it the Mandelson Doctrine). By then putting him forward to be PCC it seems the Labour Party agreed – or at least they did until the heat was on over this report and they needed someone to cut loose.