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Hull MP renews call for inquiry into baby ashes scandal

Hull North MP Diana Johnson has responded to this week’s publication of Hull City Council’s internal review into the baby ashes scandal.
 
Diana Johnson MP said: “I am disappointed that Hull City Council are still denying the need for an independent inquiry into the baby ashes scandal in Hull. 
 
“I have never understood since first asking the Council to set an inquiry up in March 2015 why they refused - and continue to do so.
 
“This is against the backdrop of parents in Shrewsbury who when, in similar circumstances, they approached their local authority to ask for an independent inquiry one was immediately set up. 
 
“That inquiry reported within a few months and was completed on a relatively small budget. The inquiry in Shrewsbury was obviously not based on the same facts as what has happened in Hull. It is therefore wrong for Hull City Council to claim that they can rely on the Shrewsbury findings to reject the need to hold their own inquiry.
 
“It is also worth noting that three Secretaries of State for Justice, Health and Local Government wrote to Hull City Council in 2016 urging them to hold an independent inquiry. This was not acted upon.
 
“After years of pressure on Hull City Council they have finally published a limited review that they had undertaken internally. In March, at a meeting with the Council, along with Tina Trowhill and other parents, we had asked for this review to be made available. It has taken until July 25th to make this internal review public. However, disappointingly the Council did not, in line with good practice, make the report available to parents in sufficient time so that they could read it before publication. It appears that the media knew before parents that the report was being published. This is unacceptable.
 
“The report fails to address the very many questions parents have about what happened to the ashes of their babies and, most importantly, why it happened. There is no indication in this limited report about any work undertaken with the NHS and funeral directors to try to get to the heart of what happened. 
 
“It is now widely accepted that asking public bodies to ‘mark their own homework’ does not provide the transparency and openness that we demand from organisations that serve us.
 
“I will continue to back the many parents in Hull who demand answers to what happened to the ashes of their babies. I believe that this will only be achieved by a thorough independent inquiry.” 
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