Savage PMQ session on Baby P death

Prime minister’s questions descended into a savage series of attacks by Gordon Brown and David Cameron as the two men debated the death of Baby P.

Following the debate, children’s secretary Ed Balls called an immediate inquiry, holding open the possibility of a full-scale government takeover of the relevant Haringey council department if it found there was a systemic failure.

The prime minister said the government would evaluate what action should be taken after receiving a report from the council.

But Mr Cameron wanted stronger action, and called for heads to roll, saying he was “sickened to the core” by the crime.

“Those whose job it was to oversee this system have failed. They must admit that and pay a price,” he said.

When Mr Brown mentioned the issue had taken on a party political edge during the debate, Mr Cameron launched into an angry offensive, demanding the prime minister retract the statement. Mr Brown consistently refused to do so.

As MPs on both sides of the House shouted and the speaker struggled to regain control, the session descended into an angry series of exchanges.

Mr Balls stressed the inquiry he launched today did not mean the Haringey report was conducted improperly.

Mr Cameron had attacked the Haringey council report for being written by the same people it was evaluating, but Mr Balls said it relied on “an independent author”.

Ofsted will be conducting their own investigation.

Baby P died in August last year, and yesterday the boyfriend of the babies’ mother and their lodger were found guilty of causing or allowing death. The mother pleaded guilty at the start of the trial.

The child had effectively been used as a punchbag for the entirety of its 17 month life.

Haringey council is at the centre of the storm, having visited the baby 60 times without taking action. Their inaction continued even when a doctor highlighted the fact the baby’s injuries were ‘non-accidental’.

The scandal is hitting Haringey council hard, given it was severely criticised following the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie in 2000.

Lord Laming, who called for a raft of reforms following that incident has been asked to prepare an independent report into their implementation for the childrens minister, Beverly Highes.