James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Lambeth child abuse scandal: Ex-Council Leader 'absolutely horrified' by report
27 July 2021, 20:55
A former leader of Lambeth Council admits she had no idea that there was systemic cover-up of child abuse going on on her watch.
"I am horrified." Linda Bellos OBE announced. She spoke to Iain Dale in the aftermath of horrific revelations made a report detailing historic child abuse and cover-up in Lambeth Council.
Ms Bellos, who was leader of the council between 1986 and 1988, stook her head above the parapet on the day the harrowing report was unveiled.
"Allegations were made to me for the first time today and I have spoken. I don't know how any of the other leaders have spoken but my impression is I am the only one.
She explained to Iain why she felt obliged to speak out against the atrocities: "I do so because the responsibility for the welfare of children in council's care is a legal one, a moral one."
She admitted to being "absolutely horrified" by the evidence. Ms Bellos went on to stress that action would have been taken if it came to her attention.
"I don't know what to say except I did not know. If I had known I would have ensured action was taken."
"We're not talking about a bit of a breach of a policy," she said, noting that the disgraceful findings are a grave stain on the council and need serious action to be taken.
The former leader told Iain that she "didn't visit all the branches of the council," adding that she wasn't trying to make excuses and wring her hands of responsibility: "I'm just describing how it was."
"If I had an inkling of what was happening I would have done something," Ms Bellos concluded.