Javid urges “honest open debate” about child sexual exploitation after Labour’s Champion quit frontbench role

Thursday 17 August 2017


The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, has defended the Labour MP Sarah Champion, who resigned from the frontbenchafter she said in an article in the Sun that Britain had “a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.

Champion resigned as shadow minister for women and equalities, having earlier said her words had been “stripped of nuance” by the tabloid.

But the Sun produced emails from an aide to the MP saying she was “thrilled” with the piece.

Javid, who was the first British Pakistani MP to lead a government department, criticised Jeremy Corbyn, suggesting Champion had been removed from her post by the Labour leader as a result of the controversy.

Javid tweeted: Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) August 17, 2017



Champion has been a vocal campaigner on child sexual exploitation during her time as MP for Rotherham.

A 2014 inquiry led by Prof Alexis Jay concluded that at least 1,400 children had been sexually abused in the town over a six-year period, predominantly by British Pakistani men.

“I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career,” she said in her resignation statement.

In her article in the Sun, published in the aftermath of another string of child sex abuse convictions in Newcastle,

Champion wrote: “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is? For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up. No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.”

Read more Sarah Champion resigns as shadow equalities minister

Controversy over the piece, published last Friday after Champion was quoted approvingly in a separate article by the Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh, in which he said politicians had to deal with “the Muslim problem” and that Champion was one of the few politicians prepared to speak out.

Champion said she was horrified that a “repulsive and extreme Islamophobic” column had quoted her positively but Kavanagh’s piece prompted more than 100 cross-party MPs, led by the Labour’s Naz Shah, to write a letter to the Sun accusing him of using “Nazi-era language” to demonise a community.

Shah had used Javid as an example of a British Pakistani man who should not be stereotyped, in an article she wrote rebutting Champion’s piece.

“Let’s be clear about ‘Pakistani’ men – are we including the secretary of state for communities and local government, Sajid Javid, in this sweeping statement? Because he’s Pakistani,” she wrote in the Independent.

“Or how about Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London? The list goes on. There is no community where men don’t rape girls and we must face up to it.”

Amina Lone, a former Labour parliamentary candidate and community activist, also defended Champion, saying she had been made a scapegoat.

“She’s being punished for a subsequent column in the same newspaper that referenced her,”

Lone told BBC Newsnight. “She also said in her article the vast majority of convictions are against white men acting alone. But we haven’t seen an outcry from white men.

“She was very specific about a certain type of exploitation crime, from a certain community with cultural differences. I think she’s been punished and used as a scapegoat because as a politician she’s an easy target.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/17/sajid-javid-says-jeremy-corbyn-wrong-to-sack-sarah-champion




READ IN FULL http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15479425.Javid_urges__quot_honest_open_debate_quot__about_child_sexual_exploitation_after_Labour__39_s_Champion_quit_frontbench_role/


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