Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Haringey apologises over Baby P

George Meehan, Leader of Haringey Council

The leader of Haringey Council has offered his "heartfelt and unreserved" apology for the death of Baby P.

Councillor George Meehan said there had been failure "by all the agencies involved" in the case.

He made the apology at a cabinet meeting at which the Liberal Democrats called for his resignation.

The death of the 17-month-old baby boy in August 2007 in the north London borough has sparked public outrage over the child protection system in England.

The council has come under intense pressure to review its social service procedures in light of the case.

Public inquiry

At the highly-charged cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening, Mr Meehan offered a formal apology for "the suffering he endured" and the "failure of all the child protection agencies" to save his life.

George Meehan makes an apology on behalf on Haringey Council

Members of the public shouted "shame" and "how many more must die?" during the meeting while Liberal Democrat councillors continued their calls for Mr Meehan to step down.

The 17-month-old toddler died in a blood-stained cot on 3 August 2007.

He had suffered more than 50 injuries at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and a lodger despite repeated visits by the authorities. They will be sentenced next month.

The apology comes as children's minister Ed Balls refused to rule out a public inquiry into the death of Baby P.

He has sent inspectors to Haringey Council and they are due to report back to the Department for Children, Schools and Families in two weeks.

'Personally apologise'

In his statement, Mr Meehan said he would wait for the outcome of the review before commenting in detail on the case.

But he added: "There is no failure to apologise in full by this council, we do so unreservedly."

Baby P
Baby P died after suffering sustained abuse

Lib Dem councillors asked him to to offer his personal apology, to which Mr Meehan replied: "I have no problem saying I personally apologise."

Before the meeting a small group of residents demonstrated outside the Civic Centre, holding banners saying "Haringey: unfit for purpose" and "Baby P - how many more?".

Lydia Rivian, a scriptwriter from Muswell Hill, was among those protesting.

She said: "This child is a symptom of a malaise that runs through the whole of Haringey Council from bottom to top.

"This is dreadful - it is horrible that a child has died but there are thousands more in Haringey living in misery."



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