England

Vaz seeks law to sack South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright

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Media captionKeith Vaz: "We call for your immediate resignation"

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz said he would ask the home secretary about the possibility of legislation to remove South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner.

Shaun Wright has been urged to resign since the publication of a report which found at least 1,400 children were abused in Rotherham.

Mr Wright said he was not aware of the scale of the problem while a Labour councillor in the town.

Mr Vaz said he did not accept that.

Mr Wright was cabinet member for children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010.

He told the committee: "I don't recall one single external report from Ofsted or any other organisation that flagged CSE [child sexual exploitation] as being a significant issue.

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Media captionSouth Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright maintains he was unaware of the scale of abuse

"Over that period of time not one member of the public came to a surgery of mine, not one local councillor asked me a question, either in my political group or in full council, not one local MP in Rotherham raised the issue or a case of CSE for those five years."

The report by Professor Alex Jay detailed how children had been subjected to trafficking, rape and other sexual exploitation over a 16-year period and how their abuse had been ignored by a range of agencies, including police, councillors and council officials.

Mr Wright has refused to resign since the publication of the report but has quit the Labour Party.

Image caption Police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright said he could not recall meeting victims of abuse in Rotherham

"I basically think that resigning would have been, perhaps, the easy option given the last fortnight with the various criticisms that have been made and the effect that that's had on both myself and my family," he said.

However Mr Vaz said the committee was calling on him to resign immediately.

"We don't believe you command the confidence of the public. For your own sense of honour, you should go," he said.

"I will be writing to the Home Secretary to see if there's the possibility of emergency legislation... We find your evidence today entirely unconvincing."

Members of the committee also asked Mr Wright if he had met some of the victims of abuse at an outreach group while he was a councillor.

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Media captionFormer South Yorkshire chief constable Meredydd Hughes: "I've singularly failed the victims of these criminals"

He told the committee he could not recall any such meeting.

"As an elected councillor it would have been entirely inappropriate for me to ask to meet young victims of child sexual exploitation and ask them to explain to me or give me the details of the circumstances," he said.

"I have never done that and nor would I deem it appropriate."

One member of the committee, Labour MP Paul Flynn, said: "You are the least credible witness I have ever come across. I don't believe what you are saying."

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