FORMER police commissioner Shaun Wright will be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over claims he lied to MPs — a year after the watchdog said it would not look into the allegations.
It is claimed Mr Wright — lead councillor for children’s services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010 — committed perjury when he told a parliamentary committee in 2014 he knew nothing of widespread CSE in Rotherham.
Two complaints against him were sent from the South Yorkshire Police Crime Panel in 2015 but the IPCC said there was no evidence of a criminal offence.
Last month, the watchdog admitted it had made this decision based on “a misunderstanding of the extent of parliamentary immunity in the context of witnesses giving evidence on oath before select committees”.
But the decision has been reviewed after talks with the Metropolitan Police and Mr Wright’s evidence before the home affairs select committee will be probed.
A spokesman confirmed yesterday that the IPCC would carry out an independent investigation into whether Mr Wright committed perjury when giving evidence.
He added: “The IPCC can only investigate criminal allegations against PCCs.
“The IPCC originally referred the matter back to the police and crime panel in 2016 on the basis that misleading a select committee, if proven, would be a contempt of parliament rather than a criminal offence.
“This was founded on a misunderstanding of the extent of parliamentary immunity in the context of witnesses giving evidence on oath before select committees.”
After the home affairs select committee referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police, the IPCC had “re-reviewed the law” relating to evidence given at the home affairs select committee and concluded it was a criminal allegation, prompting officials to ask the police and crime panel to refer the complaint again.
Mr Wright quit his police overview role in November 2014, three weeks after the Jay report revealed that at least 1,400 children in the borough had been sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013.
CSE whistleblower Jayne Senior, who was one of the complainants, welcomed the IPCC’s decision. She said: “I’m pleased personally, but I’m more pleased for the victims of child sexual exploitation.
“They were telling the truth, as everyone now knows. But three years on, still no-one has been held accountable for the authorities’ failings.”
Mr Wright told the committee that he was unaware of CSE in Rotherham until the 2012 revelations and the subsequent Jay report. Keith Vaz, then chairman, called his denials “impossible to believe”.