Two years on from the Oldham Liberal Democrats calling for the law to be changed to make illegal sexual contact between persons in ‘positions of trust’ and young adults in their care, Group Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE has written to the Deputy Prime Minister calling for long-overdue action.
In September 2019, the Liberal Democrats brought a motion before the Full Council in support the NSPCC ‘Closing the loophole’ campaign. The children’s charity wants the Position of Trust law changed to cover all roles where an adult holds a position of power, care or responsibility over a 16-or 17-year old and to make it illegal for that adult to engage in sexual activity with that young person, even in circumstances where this activity is mutually-consensual. The motion received cross-party support.
After almost 18 months of inactivity, in January of this year, Councillor Sykes asked Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Justice matters, to table a Parliamentary question about progress. In his written response, Justice Minister Alex Chalk MP stated that the government was ‘considering next steps with both pace and care’ and that he hoped to be able to update Parliament shortly.
Nine months on, there is still no news and Councillor Sykes has decided to take the matter higher.
“After all this time, the government’s pace on making the necessary changes to the law is pitiful; all the while our young people continue to be at risk from sexual predators in ‘positions of trust’,” said Councillor Sykes. “Dominic Raab has been recently appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, and, in these capacities, I have written asking him to make one of his personal and departmental priorities securing a change in the law at the earliest possible time.”