Birmingham MPs call for heads to roll over Khyra Ishaq case
Pressure was growing for senior council officials to resign over the Khyra Ishaq scandal, as MPs demanded they take responsibility for mistakes which led to her death.
They demanded the resignation of Stephen Hughes, the Council’s chief executive, Tony Howell, the strategic director who has overall responsibility for children’s social services, or Coun Les Lawrence, the cabinet member for children, young people and families.
Steve McCabe (Lab Hall Green) and Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) compared the death of seven-year-old Khyra with the death of Baby Peter in Haringey, London, which led to the resignation of the council leader and cabinet member for children’s services, as well as the dismissal of the head of children’s services and three other officials.
By contrast, nobody at Birmingham has taken responsibility for the failures which allowed Khyra to starve to death - even though a family court judgement concluded she could have been saved if the council had used legal powers to demand entry to the house in Handsworth where she was being imprisoned.
Local agencies, including Birmingham’s social services department, are conducting a Serious Case Review” into the death.
But Mr McCabe said: “We don’t need a serious case review to tell us the three people responsible. They should decide among themselves who is the most culpable and then do the decent thing. They can’t all be innocent. One of them has to admit they didn’t handle this well, and resign.”
Mr Mahmood said: “The judge was absolutely scathing about the authority and how it dealt with this case. It was a catalogue of failures.
“They should be held responsible, just as in the case of Baby P.
“The cabinet member and the director of children’s services should both take a hard look at themselves and ask how they can continue in those roles.”
But another MP urged caution. Roger Godsiff (Lab Sparkbrook & Small Heath) said: “I was shocked when I heard about the death of this young girl and it seems that some people didn’t do their jobs properly.”
“But I think the investigation needs to take place, and when it is completed it will be appropriate to hold people to account for their incompetence or inefficiency.”