The Lawyer who replaced Butler-Sloss in the CSA inquiry into alleged paedophile politicians says ‘no close association’ with Tory peer Leon Brittan and also stressed that she was “not a member of the establishment”
But given she dined with him five times, lives on the same street, and sponsored his wife’s fun run, will she have the teeth to get to the truth? asks the Independent
The Independent report continues: ‘The head of the Government’s sprawling historic child abuse inquiry is facing demands to step down after she admitted hosting dinner parties with the former minister under scrutiny over his role in an alleged Establishment cover-up.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, Fiona Woolf, a lawyer, said that she had hosted three dinner events for Lord and Lady Brittan and dined twice at their home since 2008.
Despite other connections with the couple, including living in the same street, she said this did not amount to a “close association” with the former minister.
But concern at her relationship with the couple is mounting, particularly as Ms Woolf was only appointed after the original choice to head the inquiry – Lady Butler-Sloss – was herself forced to step aside over Establishment and family links to Lord Brittan.
The peer faces questions about what actions he took, while serving as Home Secretary in the 1980s, after being handed a now-missing dossier by the late MP Geoffrey Dickens that included claims of the involvement of VIPs in a child sex ring. In her first public grilling since she was appointed head of the inquiry, Ms Woolf – the Lord Mayor of London, former Law Society president, and member of the RAC club – repeatedly denied that she was a member of the Establishment.
She said that she would rigorously seek answers for the “victim community” during the wide-ranging inquiry charged with looking into institutional abuse back to 1970.
But she faced further questions about the independence of her inquiry, after she revealed that she sent an original draft of the letter detailing her links with the Brittans to Home Office officials before it was passed to Ms May. The letter was published today on a new inquiry website.
Ms Woolf – a corporate lawyer with no history of child abuse investigations – revealed that she had not raised the issue of her links with Lord Brittan with Ms May until it first emerged in the media.’