Ex-Rotherham Council leader to break silence over scandal

Former Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone

Former Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone

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The former leader of Rotherham Council is to break his silence on his handling of the child sexual exploitation scandal.

Roger Stone has agreed to answer questions by MPs on the Department for Local Government and Communities select committee.

Mr Stone resigned as leader of Rotherham Council on the day the Jay report was published in August and has not spoken publicly since.

A select committee spokeswoman said Mr Stone is likely to appear to answer questions next month.

“Roger Stone is willing and has agreed to give evidence and the LGC committee is agreeing a date with him in March,” she said.

Mr Stone refused to be interviewed by Louise Casey and her team as they carried out a follow-up report to Jay.

The Labour politician, who led Rotherham Council from 2003, was criticised in the Casey report, published earlier this month.

Several former officers and councillors quoted in the report described Mr Stone as a ‘bully’. The report also said attempts to tackle child sexual exploitation in the town in the mid-2000s under his leadership did not come to fruition.

It said: “The former leader of the council personally chaired a task and finish group in 2005 in an attempt to tackle CSE.

“This agreed a range of actions, such as a zero tolerance campaign, but officers never implemented the plan.

“Three years later, councillors commented that the 2008 CSE action plan was almost identical to the 2006 plan with the dates changed and sent it back.

“But even then, not enough was done to maintain focus and sustain progress.”

Ms Casey is due to answer questions from the select committee on February 23.

The DCLG select committee launched its inquiry into Rotherham’s grooming scandal in September, shortly after the Jay’s report revealed at least 1,400 children in the town had been exploited over 16 years.

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