MP Danczuk lays into Council Leader Lambert
Date published: 17 November 2012
Councillor Colin Lambert
Rochdale Labour MP Simon Danczuk seriously criticised Rochdale Council Leader, Labour Councillor Colin Lambert for his response to the sex grooming scandal that has engulfed the council.
Speaking in Parliament he said: "...the reality is that, contrary to what the council leader had said, people were trying to share information with his local authority, clearly trying to make the point that these girls should be taken into social services care."
Mr Danczuk said that Councillor Lambert was attempting "to suggest that it was a failure of information sharing that had led to the problems in Rochdale".
The following is extracted from the Hansard record of the House of Commons debate:
'...the Home Affairs Committee immediately started examining issues around child sex abuse, and in June called the leader of the council and the chief executive to explain themselves. It was then that the council leader from Rochdale [Councillor Colin Lambert] attempted to suggest that it was a failure of information sharing that had led to the problems in Rochdale. Soon after, with evidence mounting that Rochdale council’s social services department had suggested these girls were making "life choices" and were "prostitutes", the council leader decided to change tack. Indeed, he jumped on the back of an excellent report by the all-party parliamentary group for looked after children and care leavers, and started suggesting that the problems that occurred in Rochdale should actually be laid at the feet of private care homes. He said: "They do not protect vulnerable children, they do not rehabilitate them back into the community, they do the opposite."
'He also said: "Rochdale borough, at the moment, in the current climate, is the wrong place to send these children.
'It was as though Rochdale’s council leader was talking up the failings of children’s homes to avoid having to explain the failings of his own social services department.
'The public began to believe that private children’s homes were part of the problem. The reality is that that was not the case, and only one victim had actually stayed in a children’s home. That became apparent months later when the local safeguarding board published its review. First, it hardly mentioned private children’s homes because they were not part of the problem. Secondly, it pointed out that Pennine Care NHS crisis intervention team had continually tried to share information with the local authority - with the social services department. So the reality is that, contrary to what the council leader had said, people were trying to share information with his local authority, clearly trying to make the point that these girls should be taken into social services care. That was ignored by the local authority.'
Last month, the beleaguered Councillor Lambert, who chalked up over £32,000 in 'allowances' in the last financial year, was threatened with legal action by private care company, Meadows Care following his comments which they consider to be seriously defamatory.
Moreover, this is not the first time MP Mr Danczuk has criticised his party colleague, in May this year he heavily criticised Councillor Lambert's council policy on homeless people. He said that the town faces what he described as “a homelessness crisis” after figures show that the town has seen the biggest rise in homelessness of any area in Greater Manchester.
Councillor Lambert responded by saying: “It is wrong to suggest that it is council policies that are making people homeless or that we are not providing for the homeless."
However, in October, in council papers, the Council admitted its cuts may increase homelessness:
'The reduction in funding in 2013-14 may have a detrimental effect upon the range of services and activities that can be provided and may impact on their ability to enable people at risk of homelessness to sustain independence and to achieve improved lifestyles.
'The proposal may result in greater numbers of people accessing critical and statutory services and people sleeping rough in the Borough.'
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