Boris Johnson comments on child abuse inquiry an 'appalling insult' to victims, says Scottish charity
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been condemned by a Scottish charity for claiming investigations into historic child abuse were a waste of money.
During a radio phone-in on LBC, Johnson suggested funds should only be used in current cases.
“I think an awful lot of money and an awful lot of police time now goes into these historic offences and all this malarkey,” he said.
“You know, £60m I saw was being spaffed up a wall on some investigation into historic child abuse and all this kind of thing. What on earth is that going to do to protect the public now?”
The comments came hours after Cardinal George Pell became the most senior member of the Catholic church to be convicted and sentenced for sexually abusing young boys.
Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Scottish charity Children 1st, which works with victims, said the comments were “outrageous and irresponsible”.
She said: “Child abusers rely on their power, status and a culture of looking the other way to keep children silent about the horrific things that are happening to them.
“Jimmy Saville and other high-profile abuse cases have shown how society’s willingness to turn a blind eye to abuse devastated the lives of child after child.
“Historic child abuse investigations can stop abuse happening to children, the smallest, most vulnerable members of the public, today. They show both child and adult survivors that if you speak out: you will be heard; abusers will be stopped, and you can begin to recover and move on with your life.
“For the survivors of child sexual abuse we work with, supporting them to recover from their childhood experiences of trauma, language like “spaffing money up the wall” is an appalling insult given their often horrific experiences.”
Labour MPs also criticised Johnson for the comments. Party chair Ian Lavery said: “These disgusting comments are an insult to every survivor of child sex abuse.
“If Boris Johnson has even a little bit of decency he will now apologise to the victims and families of those who have suffered.”
SNP MP Neil Gray tweeted: “Are there no depths he won’t sink to? Beyond the pale and you have to question how comments like these aren’t beyond the Tory whip.”
Despite a series of high-profile gaffes and controversial statements, Johnson continues to poll highly among Conservative party members on who should replace Theresa May.