Number 10 Press Briefing - 5 November 2012 – Afternoon
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on the Wales child abuse inquiries and electoral reforms.
Wales child abuse inquires
Answering questions about the child abuse inquiries in Wales the PMS told the lobby briefing that the Prime Minister was keen to ensure that no stone was left unturned and that people should have confidence in our determination to get to the truth. Some specific allegations had been made on the issue of abuse in a care home in Wales in recent days. Those allegations were very serious and related to the conduct of earlier police investigation and a public inquiry. The PM thought those allegations should be investigated in a way that commanded public confidence and was seen to be properly independent.
The allegations themselves went back many years - to the 1970s. The public inquiry was set up in 1996 and reported in 2000 so spanned different administrations. We would need to have discussions with the Opposition about the process, and its terms of reference. We would also need to talk to the Welsh First Minister.
There were a number of different investigations underway: the police investigations into allegations of abuse, and a number of investigations into what happened at the BBC and the NHS. What was being proposed here was something that looked specifically at the public inquiry and its conduct. It would advise on next steps and whether further investigation is required.
Responding to a question on whether there should be one overarching public inquiry the PMS said a number of different organisations had put in place inquiries. In the case of the NHS we have asked somebody to pull together to ensure consistency and independence. We did not rule anything out but it was important that it was work already underway and should progress as quickly as possible. Asked who was co-coordinating work on the inquiry the PMS said that the Prime Minister had been out of the country on government business but was in touch with his office. The Cabinet Secretary had been having meetings that day with other government departments to work through the issues.
Asked whether the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had been unable to reach agreement on electoral reform the PMS said that the Boundaries Commission were carrying out work which they would report back on in the autumn next year when there would be a vote in the House of Commons.