Iain Gray said: “John Swinney must act now, halt the inquiry, investigate, and relaunch it”
In a letter addressed to Deputy First Minster John Swinney, the University of Cambridge academic said: “Crucially, its fact-finding should not be constrained or micro-managed by one of the bodies whose actions or failures to act may ultimately be criticised.”
He also raised concerns that the Government have “delayed or prevented” the appointment of crucial members of staff and
Last night, abuse campaigners branded the revelation as a “devastating indictment of the Scottish Government” and called on Mr Swinney to give an urgent statement to Parliament.
Alan Draper, parliamentary liaison officer for In Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), said: “It is a devastating response from Michael Lamb about the role of the inquiry, clearly setting out that an independent public inquiry has been interfered with by the Scottish Government.
“We’ve been concerned about this inquiry from the very beginning. We were concerned that the Scottish Government didn’t really want a public inquiry and, once having been forced into it, they put every obstacle in its way to limit its scope.”
The probe was thrown into chaos yesterday afternoon when Professor Lamb announced his resignation
The Scottish Government has rejected Professor Lamb’s comments
But many campaigners and victims insist it should also include other organisations, such as the Catholic Church.
Mr Lamb, a professor of psychology, and Glenn Houston, an experienced social worker, were appointed to the panel last October to assist chairwoman Susan O’Brien, QC, with the work of the inquiry.
The investigation, which could take four years to complete – has already been hit by a number of delays and Mr Draper said Mr Lamb’s sudden depature had left victims – many of whom have spent decades fighting for justice – feeling “totally and absolutely let down”.
Scottish Labour’s Iain Gray said that John Swinney should make an urgent statement to Parliament
Scottish Labour’s Iain Gray said: “Professor Lamb is absolutely clear that he is resigning because of SNP Government interference, compromising the independence of the inquiry and preventing it doing its job.
“John Swinney must act now, halt the inquiry, investigate, and relaunch it in line with survivor demands and with new guarantees of independence from interference. He should make an emergency statement to parliament before recess to explain how he intends to fix this.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We entirely reject Prof Lamb’s comments about the Scottish Government.
“The Scottish Government has a clear obligation to fulfil its responsibilities within the requirements of The Inquiries Act 2005 and other relevant legislation. Our primary focus remains on supporting the successful operation of the independent statutory Inquiry.”
Abuse survivors are due to meet the Scottish Government next week to discuss the progress of the inquiry.