Sarah Champion was wrong to pinpoint the perpetrators' race. Whether it's in Rotherham, Rochdale or Newcastle, the solution lies in listening to young womenby Nicholas Blincoe / August 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
The MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, resigned from her front bench post this week, brought down by an article she wrote for the Sun which included the line, “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.” The job of being the MP for Rotherham will always be shaped by the Rotherham abuse cases. In two trials, in 2010 and 2016, eight men of Pakistani origin and two white English women were convicted of the most serious sexual crimes going back to 1997. The official report estimates there were 1400 victims, many “barely pubescent.” The chief whistle-blower, a youth worker named Jayne Senior, places the figure closer to 1700. It was the shadow of this case that led the Sun to invite Champion to comment on a similar case in Newcastle that saw seventeen men, most of Muslim Pakistani heritage, and a single white British woman convicted of nearly one hundred offenses.
Jayne Senior’s account of the Rotherham scandal, “Broken and Betrayed,” is heart-breaking not only for its account of the severity of the abuse, but for the details of the authorities’ attempts to first ignore the crimes and, when that became impossible, to actively subvert the investigations. At one point, Senior’s offices were raided, her files stolen, and her team silenced with reprimands and sackings. Sarah Champion was not the town’s MP during the darkest days: she won the seat in a 2012 bye-election after the sitting MP, Dennis MacShane, was convicted of and imprisoned for expenses fraud.