Richard Farnell, former council leader for Rochdale and a Labour representative, has been suspended from the party after the nation’s child abuse inquiry found he had lied under oath.
The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse found he had lied whilst giving evidence about the Knowl View sexual abuse scandal in hearings last year. Farnell claimed he was unaware of ongoing abuse allegations whilst acting as leader of the council between 1988 and 1992.
The revelation caused the Labour party to scramble for a response, and suspended their councillor within 30 minutes of the inquiry’s report being published.
Prior to the findings, a petition on Change.org pushing for a vote of no confidence in the Rochdale council leader, outlining allegations of dishonesty and profiteering from his position, was launched.
The inquiry called Farnell’s denial of child abuse taking place in his constituency shameful.
Inquiry Chair, Professor Alexis Jay, commented:
“After listening to the evidence presented by a number of victims and survivors in Rochdale at the time, I am deeply disturbed at the evidence of extensive abuse and the institutional responses to that abuse.
“Many of those who testified to their abuse have never had the opportunity to seek justice through the courts. I hope that the public hearings and this report has offered them some measure of acknowledgement for their suffering.”