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Summary

  1. Fiona Woolf tells BBC 5 Live's John Pienaar that she will quit as head of inquiry into historic child sex abuse
  2. Resignation follows weeks of intense pressure from victims' groups who questioned her suitability
  3. Victims' groups earlier told Home Office officials they wanted the probe to be a statutory inquiry
  4. Inquiry will look at how public bodies and other institutions handled sex abuse claims from 1970 to present day

Live Reporting

By Adam Donald and Richard Crook

All times stated are UK

We're going to bring our live coverage of Fiona Woolf's decision to step down as the head of the inquiry to a close. Our

news story will continue to be updated with the latest developments.

Tom Watson, MP and author

@tom_watson

tweets There are many people in Westminster who would be happy to see the #CSA inquiry derailed. Theresa May is not one of them. Stay focused team.

You can find a run-down of the current child abuse investigations and inquiries involving UK institutions

here.

Steve Reed, Labour and Co-operative MP for Croydon North

@SteveReedMP

tweets Fiona Woolf right to quit, but huge questions now over Theresa May's repeated failure to pick abuse inquiry head acceptable to victims.

Camilla Batmanghelidjh, founder of the children's support group Kids Company, says today's events make abuse victims who were already "anxious about establishment" involvement "feel this is all being engineered in a perverse way".

UKIP MEP Jane Collins has called on Theresa May to resign. "The whole process of appointing a lead for the Child Sex Abuse inquiry has been an absolute shambles. The only people who are suffering are the victims of the abuse."

Michael Mansfield QC, whose name has been mentioned in connection with leading the inquiry, tells BBC Radio 5 Live he wants to know about the other candidates the Home Office approached for the role: "What kind of trawl have they made? Nobody knows this."

BBC Radio 5 live's John Pienaar says that after all the attention focused on the inquiry, whoever eventually steps into the chairman's role will have to have "an awful lot of competence, an awful lot of confidence, and an awful lot of courage".

Get involved

@ShyKeenan

tweets: #CSAinquiry I think Mrs Woolf is a very good person, just wrong for this job ...

Tom Bateman, BBC Radio 4 Today reporter

@tombateman

tweets Lab MP
@SimonDanczuk says Woolf episode cost time: "Some... child abusers are very old & could well die before justice catches up with them"

Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

says several survivors and representatives at today's meeting said the government had not kept them up to date with the inquiry's progress. One - who queried whether his travel expenses for today's meeting would even be refunded - said he felt "taken for granted".

Critics of the home secretary will say her promises to consult victims over the next chairman are too late, and "the job of gaining their confidence may be every bit as tough as finding a new chairman".

Fiona Woolf was the government's second choice to lead the sex abuse inquiry following the resignation of Baroness Butler-Sloss. You can find more about her life and the background to the inquiry in our

profile.

Fiona Woolf
Home Office

Matthew Ashton, politics lecturer at Nottingham Trent University

@DrMatthewAshton

tweets: "Woolf has resigned. It's genuinely astonishing how incompetent the government has been in this matter"

Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

says the voices of victims' and their representatives were impossible to ignore. More than three months after it was established, the inquiry has no leader, and has completed no meaningful work.

The resignation will see the scrutiny switch to the Home Secretary Theresa May, with Labour leader Ed Miliband suggesting the events were a direct consequence of the way that she had run the process.

Geordie Greig, editor of the Mail On Sunday, says Mrs Woolf's resignation is "a reminder of the need to protect investigative journalism at a time when press freedom has never been under greater threat in Britain". Mr Greig's newspaper was the first to raise questions after she was appointed about Fiona Woolf's links to Leon Brittan.

Tony Gallagher, Daily Mail Deputy Editor

tweets: "A good week for a vigorous free press which exposed Woolf. Mail on Sunday led the way. Daily Mail/Independent did most thereafter..."

emails: "How on earth does the government get into situations like this? It would have needed only a little competence and understanding of the real world to select a capable chair acceptable to the interested parties."

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, says "it is right that Fiona Woolf has decided to stand down and she has done so with considerable dignity, having been put in an impossible position by the Home Secretary".

Mrs Cooper also said that for two inquiry heads to have stepped down demonstrated the government's "appalling incompetence".

Kevin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow

tweets: "If Fiona Woolf realised some time ago that victims groups did not trust her, why didn't she go then?"

Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said he was glad Mrs Woolf had "finally done the honourable thing".

Earlier today Mr Saunders

said the inquiry would be a "dead duck" if she remained.

More from Ed Miliband who says: "At least we should have consulted the victims. Let's make sure this doesn't happen again. Let's make sure the victims are properly consulted. Let's get the right person and let's get on with it."

Tom Bateman, BBC Radio 4 Today reporter

tweets: "Lucy Duckworth confirms on #bbcpm that NSPCC was only group at abuse inquiry meeting not to call for Woolf to stand down. @PeterWanless."

Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children's Society, says "this critical inquiry has already been delayed twice. Now, it is vital that, as steps are taken to find a new chair, its work continues. The victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have already waited too long to get the justice they deserve".

Labour leader Ed Miliband says that anybody who "properly consulted" the victims wouldn't have appointed Mrs Woolf. He says Theresa May has some questions to answer given that two heads of the inquiry have now resigned.

Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror Associate Editor

@Kevin_Maguire

tweets: "Should Home Office ask Prof Alexis Jay who did Rotherham to head this sex abuse inquiry after Woolf quit? Already an adviser."

Lucy Duckworth, chair of the

Minister & Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group, said the victims' concern was that she lacked experience in child protection.

Ms Duckworth said: "It's never going to be an independent inquiry unless it's a statutory inquiry.

"There is no other option but to make this a statutory inquiry where people are forced to give evidence under oath."

Jim Gamble, former head of Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre

tweets: "The @ukhomeoffice should never have put Fiona #woolf in the position they did. Now for goodness sake pause & plan."

David Baddiel, comedian and broadcaster

@Baddiel

tweets: "Thing is, who's going to head an Government Inquiry who *isn't* a member of The Establishment? Joey Essex?"

BBC 5 Live's John Pienaar says the inquiry's eventual findings will be met by a public who now have a "great deal of scepticism and doubt" about the inquiry before it even gets started.

David Wooding, Sun on Sunday Political Editor

@DavidWooding

tweets: "At last! Fiona Woolf, head of the historical child sex abuse inquiry, has fallen on her sword."

BBC 5 Live chief political correspondent John Pienaar says Mrs Woolf's resignation has given Theresa May "not so much a political headache as a splitting migraine".

Naomi Long, Alliance Party Deputy Leader

@naomi_long

tweets: "The CSA Inquiry needs a chair who can command the respect & confidence of victims. Another false start will further undermine the Inquiry."

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham

@SarahChampionMP

tweets: "Fiona Woolf has just done the right thing & quit. It is now imperative victims are listened to & someone clearly independent is appointed"

Labour Press Team

@labourpress

tweets: ""Theresa May has some questions to answer. To lose one chair is misfortune, to lose two is total carelessness on her part" - @Ed_Miliband"

George Eaton, political editor of the New Statesman

@georgeeaton

tweets: "Woolf's resignation another blow to May's undeserved "safe hands" reputation."

@bbcnickrobinson

Nick Robinson

Political editor

tweets: "Is time catching up with the longest-serving Home Secretary for more than 50 years? Theresa suddenly doesn't look so Teflon."

Lawyer Alison Millar, who represents the victim groups, say they feel "disappointed, aggrieved and let down" about how the process has been handled. She said the entire inquiry needed to be "re-booted" with much more consultation with survivors.

Diana Johnson, Labour MP

@DianaJohnsonMP

tweets: "Real questions about Home Secretary Theresa May's competence in now losing a second chair of the CSA inquiry."

In her statement, Theresa May confirms she will appoint a new chair but does not say how quickly. She says Mrs Woolf would have fulfilled the role with integrity, impartiality and to the highest standard and insists that victims of abuse "can have confidence" in the rest of the members of the inquiry panel.

Mr Vaz says the next chairman must be selected "as quickly as possible" after an "open, robust, and vigorous" appointment process, since two heads of the inquiry have stepped aside already.