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Woolf faces further questions from MPs over links to Lord Brittan

Fiona Woolf could be ordered to testify in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee again over new evidence emerging about her links to Lord Brittan.

Woolf was under fresh pressure to resign as chair of the government’s child abuse inquiry over the weekend, as the Mail on Sunday claimed to have documents that revealed she had hosted a drinks reception attended by Lord Brittan that was not mentioned in her letter to the Home Office, detailing her possible conflicts of interest.

PSE previously reported that Woolf had sent Theresa May a letter detailing her potential conflicts, and among them were numerous dinner parties and social engagements she had attended with either Lord or Lady Brittan. Despite this in the letter she insists that she does not have a "close association with any interested party" relating to the inquiry's work.

Lord Brittan was home secretary in 1984 when ministers were handed a dossier on alleged high-profile paedophiles that subsequently went missing.

The dossier, compiled by the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens, was considered by Home Office officials and handed to the police but no action was taken and the information now cannot be found. Lord Brittan has insisted that proper procedures were followed.

However according to the Mail on Sunday these new documents show that as Lord Mayor Woolf hosted a drinks reception attended by Lord Brittan which was not mentioned in her letter to the Home Office.

The peer was reportedly among a handful of City of London dignitaries invited to meet the French prime minister in 2011. The paper said Woolf declined to comment about the claims.

The paper has also claim that in 2001 Woolf and her husband attended some of the same opera events as Lord and Lady Brittan.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said to the Mail: “It is disappointing that new information is coming to light so soon after Mrs Woolf gave evidence to the committee. She told us that her letter to the home secretary was comprehensive. However, there were clearly items that were missing.

“The Home Office should have had these conversations before her appointment. The appointment process has bordered on the farcical.”

Vaz also said that the committee had written to Woolf and will look carefully at the answers she gives.

"If they are not satisfied then the committee will of course recall her but we need to give her the benefit of the doubt to see what she says to the questions we put to her," he added to the Telegraph.

The Home Office said: “Each of the panel members, including Fiona Woolf, has written to the home secretary setting out in full any issues which might be seen to cast doubt on their impartiality.

“The home secretary has said she is confident that they will carry out their duties to the highest standards of impartiality and integrity.”

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, said: "Victims must have confidence in this inquiry. Woolf has to stand down."

(Image: c. Anthony Devlin/PA)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Fred Parrott   27/10/2014 at 16:12

Woolf must go as must the individual(s) responsible for her appointment. As many have already said, the establishment will continue to protect it's own so I won't hold my breath waiting on any resignation(s).

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