Professor Alexis Jay has been appointed the new chairwoman of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse following the resignation last week of Dame Lowell Goddard.
Jay, who led the Rotherham sex abuse inquiry and was already among the inquiry’s panel of advisers, was rumored to have been a favourite to take over the lead role.
The inquiry was set up in 2014 to investigate child sexual abuse, including claims a paedophile ring operated in Westminster in the 1980s and has been beset by delays.
Jay is a child protection expert with over 30 years’ experience and led the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham which found that at least 1,400 children were sexually abuse in the town between 1997 and 2013.
Goddard, who works as a judge in New Zealand, was appointed after two previous chairs had to resign.
Before she quit, Goddard was criticised for having spent 44 days working in New Zealand and Australia - in addition to 30 days of annual leave she was entitled to - in her first year as inquiry chair.
Despite the revelations about the amount of time Goddard spent abroad, investigate journalist Mark Watts said she had threatened to resign before over “interference” from the Home Office in the inquiry.
The inquiry has not yet held any public hearings, though preliminary hearings began in March.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said after Goddard resigned: “I want to assure everyone with an interest in the inquiry, particularly victims and survivors, that the work of the inquiry will continue without delay and a new chair will be appointed.”
In her 32-word letter of resignation, Goddard did not specify the reason for her resignation.
Goddard had written to Rudd: “I regret to advise that I am offering you my resignation as chair of the Independent Inquiry into Institutional child abuse with immediate effect. I trust you will accept this decision.”
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