Remember the grooming gangs petition on the government website? Clearly the government would rather you didn't. The petition ran its six month course last month and closed, but despite surpassing the 100,000 signature threshold way back in March we are still waiting for the Parliamentary debate. At that time it could be argued that coronavirus was more of a priority, but the Commons was sitting throughout June and most of July too. It is now 213 days since the petition reached its target, the longest wait for any eligible petition on the government website.
The government response to the petition twice references a paper that it says will be released this year. It also refers to a 'cross-government Child Sexual Abuse Strategy' that it says will be 'published shortly'. Almost six months later neither has materialised.
On the day the government responded to the petition, Priti Patel said: "Victims of these sickening child sex abuse groups have told me how they were let down by the state in the name of political correctness. What happened to these children remains one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience. It is shameful. I am determined to deliver justice for victims and ensure something like this can never happen again".
The Home Secretary talks a good talk and she appears sincere, but clearly she is up against a number of obstacles - primarily a civil service determined to undermine and even sabotage her work. We've seen this recently by internal leaks regarding her attempts to stem the flow of migrants across the Channel.
Whether it's bogus asylum seekers or grooming gangs, at some point she is going to have to deliver. Kicking either issue into the long grass will not be appreciated in working class communities who lent the Tories their vote last December.