It has been an eventful day in Scotland both at the Scottish Child Abuse inquiry and in the Scottish Parliament.
The only remaining original panel member of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Glenn Houston, has resigned, citing personal reasons.
That Inquiry, which Lady Smith continues to chair, confirmed today that it has rejected an application for core participant status by Wellbeing Scotland. Such status can be conferred by the Inquiry on individuals or organisations if they are considered to have a “significant role in all or part of the matters being considered by the Inquiry”. However, Wellbeing Scotland has submitted a fresh application to become a core participant, which is now under consideration.
Lady Smith, the Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, spoke publicly, for the first time, today on the work of the Inquiry. She did so, sitting alongside Inquiry Panel Member Glenn Houston, at the Inquiry’s Preliminary Hearing, which took place today between 11am and 12.15pm in Court 9 of the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
From the outset, Lady Smith was at pains to emphasise the independence of the Inquiry’s work, noting that it “operates independently of central government, independently of local government, independently of the police, independently of the prosecution services and independently of any other organisation whether based here in Scotland or elsewhere”. Lady Smith also emphasised her own independence, noting that she will perform her duties “independently, fairly and without bias”. She reminded all those who worked for the Inquiry that they “are answerable not to government but to me, as Chair of the Inquiry”.
The second chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has today published an update statement. Meanwhile interest in the IICSA remains high with a debate in the House of Commons today and due from Prof Jay and others tomorrow.