Home Office minister risks coalition rift over Baby P inquiry

Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone (pictured) has called for a public inquiry into the death of Baby P, despite this being ruled out by the government. (Picture credit: Rex Features)

A Liberal Democrat Home Office minister has called for a public inquiry into the death of Baby P, despite this being ruled out by the government.

In an e-mail to Community Care Haringey MP Lynne Featherstone said: “I have written to education secretary Michael Gove to raise a number of issues that I believe have not been fully investigated thus far and to suggest that these areas still need scrutiny and that it is my view that we still need a public inquiry.”
The Liberal Democrat MP, who first asked former prime minister Gordon Brown to order an inquiry in 2008, has not revealed which specific issues she is referring to.

But a spokesperson for the Department for Education has maintained that there will not be an inquiry. Featherstone admitted she “does not know how likely it will be”.

North London coroner’s court has confirmed that, in July, there will be a pre-inquest review into Peter Connelly’s death, with a full inquest expected later in the year.

Peter was placed on Haringey Council’s child protection register but went on to suffer eight months of abuse in which he sustained more than 50 injuries. He died at the hands of his mother and two other adults in August 2007.

The case sparked a national outcry when it emerged that the family had been seen 60 times by agencies including social workers from the council.

Featherstone, who has served as MP for Hornsey and Wood Green since 2005, was also leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition in Haringey during the Victoria Climbié case in 2000. She has been campaigning for an independent inquiry since the case hit the headlines in November 2008.

A first serious case review of the Peter Connelly case was found to be inadequate by Ofsted. Former children’s secretary Ed Balls ordered a second review, which concluded that agencies should have saved the child.

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