Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fiona Woolf urged to step down from abuse inquiry over Leon Brittan links

Leon Brittan, who was home secretary when an MP’s
dossier on alleged child abuse by politicians went missing. 
The second head of the government’s child abuse inquiry is facing calls to stand down over her social links to Lord Brittan, who was home secretary when a dossier about alleged Westminster paedophiles went missing from his department.

Fiona Woolf, a prominent QC and Lord Mayor of London, was brought in after Lady Butler-Sloss resigned from her role leading the inquiry when it emerged that her late brother Lord Havers was attorney general at the time of some of the historical allegations.

Ministers had hoped that Woolf would be able to draw a line under the previous controversy but a row erupted on Tuesday when it was revealed that Brittan was one of her neighbours, with whom she had dined five times since 2008. Woolf had also had coffee on “a small number of occasions” with Brittan’s wife (most recently last year), sat on a prize-giving panel with her and sponsored her for a fun run.

In a hearing with the House of Commons home affairs select committee, Woolf said there was “no close association” with the Tory peer and she believed her account of contact with him would “lay to rest” any fears. Stressing she was “not a member of the establishment”, she said: “I’ve gone the extra distance to make sure that I’ve dug out every possible connection … to make sure that it absolutely settles all the concerns that may be out there.”

However, Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, who wrote a book about allegations of child abuse against the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, said it was another example of the government picking an establishment figure for the job.  (more...)

More commentary:

No comments:

Post a Comment