Labour's Rother Valley candidate faces criticism over council's failings on child sexual abuse

Cllr Beck has faced backlash for being part of the Rotherham Council cabinet criticised in a major inquiry report over the child sexual abuse scandal.Cllr Beck has faced backlash for being part of the Rotherham Council cabinet criticised in a major inquiry report over the child sexual abuse scandal.
Cllr Beck has faced backlash for being part of the Rotherham Council cabinet criticised in a major inquiry report over the child sexual abuse scandal.
“No-one who has been involved in, or had knowledge of and failed to speak out against the grooming gang scandal should have any position of authority at any level.”

A COUNCILLOR who has been selected to fight to become Rother Valley’s MP came under criticism over his links to council failings after the child sexual abuse scandal.

Cllr Dominic Beck, who represents Wales ward, will be hoping to take the seat currently held by Conservative Alexander Stafford in the next general election.

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But he has faced backlash for being part of the Rotherham Council cabinet criticised in a major inquiry report over the child sexual abuse scandal.

A 2014 report by Prof Alexis Jay found at least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 to 2013 and that RMBC had destroyed evidence of perpetrator ethnicity and shut down services instead of confronting criminals from a minority ethnic community because of the “fear of offending local cultural sensitivities”.

The following year, Cllr Beck was among the cabinet forced to resign when investigator Louise Casey concluded they were in “denial” about Prof Jay’s findings.

The Sun, GB News, The Spectator, The Times and blogs Guido Fawkes and Skawkbox all carried critical pieces about the decision to select Cllr Beck.

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Labour leader Keir Starmer has also faced pressure over the decision to allow Cllr Beck to stand.

However, the Labour Party said Mr Beck had only been a cabinet member for six months prior to the publication of the Casey report and he had resigned his position to allow government commissioners to take “full and necessary control of the council”.

Cllr Beck had been reappointed in May 2016 to “take forward the new governance of the council alongside commissioners”, a Labour spokesperson said.   

When he was selected as the parliamentary candidate for Rother Valley, Cllrr Beck said he was “absolutely delighted and humbled” to be chosen to contest the seat and he had the experience as a local councillor and community activist to “provide real leadership” for the area.

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Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was “absolutely delighted”, by his selection, adding: “Dom is a hard-working councillor and I’m sure he’ll make a fantastic MP.”

Rother Valley Labour Party said it was delighted by Cllr Beck’s selection, stating he had a “strong local voice for the area”. 

Labour said “robust” procedures were in place to choose candidates which were of the “highest calibre”.

We asked the party to comment on respond accusations that Cllr Beck’s selection brought Rotherham into “further disrepute” following a letter to the Advertiser and if they would offer their full backing to the Rother Valley candidate but they did not respond to our request.

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Mr Stafford, commenting on Mr Beck’s selection, said: “I stand with all the victims of the Rotherham child rape scandal. 

“Again and again the victims and their families have been let down by the ruling Labour Party in our area, who clearly do not grasp the enormity of this disgusting period of our history.  

“No-one who has been involved in, or had knowledge of and failed to speak out against the grooming gang scandal should have any position of authority at any level. 

“I raised this issue in Parliament last year and I stand by this.”

Cllr Beck did not respond personally to a request for comment.