UK1

An official UK inquiry into child abuse has been marred by allegations of bullying and silencing of members of the probe panel.

The development came as panel member Sharon Evans told British MPs on Tuesday that the inquiry?s counsel, Ben Emmerson QC,?had taken over control of the panel in absence of an appointed chairman, making threats against panel members, The Guardianreported.

Evans, an abuse survivor and chief executive of the Dot Com children?s charity, made the allegations before members of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee while Home Secretary Theresa May is?contemplating moves to disband the independent panel and establish a new legislative inquiry.

The inquiry, according to the report, was set up in July following the Jimmy Savile, Rotherham and other child sex abuse scandals, but still has no chairman after May?s first two nominees were ousted due to their ties with the establishment.

Evans was providing parliament members with an update on the progress of the inquiry panel along with two other panel members as well as an adviser, Prof. Alexis Jay, who authored the report that exposed the existence of 1,400 child sex abuse victims over 16 years in the Rotherham area.

She further told the MPs that even before their Tuesday Commons hearing? there had been an attempt by the inquiry secretariat to make sure that panel members did not voice any internal criticism.

?I feel that I was told today that we must speak with a collective voice. I feel that would prevent me from answering your questions honestly,? she added.

Meanwhile, Emmerson denied any bullying or intimidation in a Tuesday statement, describing the allegations as ?baseless.?

Source: MFB/NN/ Press TV

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