I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of his statement.
It is unusual that we are here in this House with so much cross-party agreement on an issue, but the Secretary of State spoke from the heart and with a genuine desire for change, and I hope that we can be supportive of that. I join him in commending those who brought Arthur’s killers to justice, and offer my condolences and those of Scottish National party Members to Arthur’s family and loved ones.
This tragic death has affected us all. The footage of the little boy saying, “No one loves me” will remain with many of us; I think that parents hugged their own children a lot harder when they heard that. We are shocked for two reasons: first that these people exist and were put in charge of such an innocent little soul; and, secondly, that opportunities were missed that would have prevented this tragedy. The Government review is important, but if failings are found to be due to resourcing, will the Secretary of State commit to funding child protection services properly and directly? It is not enough that such services come through councils. If direct Government funding is needed, will he ensure that that happens?
The Secretary of State talked about agencies working together. How is he going to monitor how well that actually happens? There has to be cross-party working on this issue, so will the Secretary of State today assure us that he will genuinely listen to cross-party recommendations and suggestions for improvement? None of us wants to have another Arthur, Baby P or Victoria Climbié, so let us do the best of politics on this issue and ensure that no other vulnerable children are harmed.