A national report on child sex exploitation has been described as “an opportunity lost” by Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins.

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner released an interim report last week about its inquiry into child sex exploitation by gangs and groups.

The inquiry found 2,409 children and young people were confirmed victims between August 2010 and October 2011, but warned against viewing the issue in terms of race or religion.

Mr Hopkins, who met with a backlash for his recent claim that gangs of Muslim men are “raping white kids”, criticised the report.

The report identifies “at least 16,500 children” at risk of sexual exploitation during one year. It adds that the largest ethnic group of child abusers is white, and almost a third of those identified were of Asian origin.

Commenting on the study, Mr Hopkins said: “To my mind, this report represents an opportunity lost. It is no surprise, although no less shocking, that so many children are being targeted by paedophiles.

“As we already knew and the report confirms, the largest group of child abusers in this country is white.

“However, the fact that 27 per cent of abusers apparently are of Asian origin when only 6 per cent of people who live here are from that section of the community is worthy of much deeper examination.

“Sadly, the report has fallen into the trap of dancing a politically correct tune around this reality instead of confronting it head-on. That is one of the reasons we are not making the level of progress in tackling the problem that we should be. The important people in this are the victims.”

He called for stark and open discussions about the issue, saying those who attacked the deliverers of “harsh truths” were playing into the hands of child abusers.

“Sadly, I do not believe the Children’s Commis-sioner’s report has particularly helped us towards this end,” he said.