From The Guardian :
The former leader of Rotherham council has been summoned to parliament to answer questions about his handling of the town’s sexual exploitation scandal.
Roger Stone stepped down last August on the day the damning Jay report into Rotherham’s grooming problem was published, claiming least 1,400 children had been groomed for sex in the town, many during his tenure.
Stone, who led Rotherham council since 2003, has not spoken publicly since his sudden resignation. He is now set to attend the Department for Local Government and Communities (DCLG) select committee, which is investigating failures in leadership in the South Yorkshire town.
Earlier this month Stone was accused of presiding over a sexist and bullying culture which suppressed whistleblowers. In a report on the council’s mishandling of child sexual exploitation, Louise Casey, the government’s lead on troubled families, said Stone ruled with fear.
Concluding that the council is “not fit for purpose”, Casey said she had found “a culture of covering up uncomfortable truths, silencing whistle-blowers and paying off staff rather than dealing with difficult issues” and “an archaic culture of sexism, bullying and discomfort around race”.
Casey said Stone refused to be interviewed by her team, along with Shaun Wright, the former police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, who also resigned following the Jay report.
But a spokesman for the DCLG select committee said Stone had indicated he would address the committee. The spokesman said: “We have been in contact with Roger Stone regarding him giving oral evidence at a future date. He has indicated that he will give evidence, probably some time in March.”
In an interview with the Guardian last week, Sarah Champion, Rotherham’s MP since 2012, accused Stone of being a “sexist bully”. She claimed Stone was deliberately obstructive and announced after her election he was going to treat her “like an opposition MP”.
She said: “I think one of the problems is that people haven’t got any baggage on me, they haven’t got any levers on me. I’m genuinely trying to be here for the people of Rotherham. I don’t play party-political games. I don’t collude. If something’s wrong, I’ll say it’s wrong, so I think when he was having a fiefdom that he controlled every aspect of, to have this loose cannon running around – and she’s a bloody woman as well – I can see why, in his reality, it was a real threat.”
Casey is due to answer questions from the select committee on 23 February.
Stone did not respond to requests for comment.