Rotherham: Wright leaves Labour but vows to stay on as PCC for South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has resigned as a member of the Labour party in the wake of the damning report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
But he has again refused to step down as PCC for South Yorkshire, despite growing calls from all sides for him to do so.
Mr Wright resigned from the Labour party after they threatened to suspend him if he did not quit as South Yorkshire PCC.
By resigning from the party, Mr Wright cannot now be forced out of his role as PCC by the Labour party hierarchy.
But Mr Wright has again maintained he is the right person to remain in his post.
The damning report said at least 1,400 children were subjected to “appalling” sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013,
Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated it said.
Five men from the town were jailed for sexual offences against girls in 2010.
Roger Stone has already resigned as leader of Rotherham Council in the wake of the report’s findings being made public.
“I think it is only right that I, as leader, take responsibility on behalf of the council for the historic failings that are so clearly described in the report,” said Mr Stone, explaining his reason for quitting.
But Mr Wright, who was the councillor in charge of children’s services at Rotherham Council from 2005 to 2010, said the scale of the problem in Rotherham “came as a surprise.”
“Had I known then what I know now I could have done more,” he said.
“As an elected member I came into this role to make a difference. At every stage I’ve done my utmost to protect those people.”
“I have taken lessons learned in that office and brought them to bear in my new role with South Yorkshire Police.”
“I believe I am the most appropriate person to hold this office at this current time.”