Fiona Woolf to lead child abuse inquiry: Doubts raised over connection to key witness

The former Home Secretary Lord Brittan is likely to be summoned by the panel

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The Independent Online

The choice of appointment to head the official inquiry into historic sex-abuse allegations is under question again after it emerged the new chair has several links to one of the key witnesses expected to give evidence.

The former Home Secretary Lord Brittan is likely to be summoned by the panel headed by Fiona Woolf. He was reportedly passed a dossier in 1984 by then MP Geoffrey Dickenson outlining allegations of widespread paedophile activity.

But The Mail on Sunday today listed a series of links between Ms Woolf and Lord and Lady Brittan. They include the disclosures that she sits on the board of a City of London conference with Lord Brittan, judges an annual award scheme alongside Lady Brittan and gave her a donation when she took part in a charity run last year.

Ms Woolf, who is the current Lord Mayor of London, also lives in the same west London street as the Brittans.

She had not commented on Sunday night, but the Labour MP Simon Danczuk, a prominent campaigner on historic abuse, said her position would be “untenable” if close connections to the Brittans were confirmed.

The Home Office has not answered questions over whether Ms Woolf’s links to Lord Brittan were known when she was appointed. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, welcomed her appointment last week. The original panel chair, the former High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss, was forced to quit in July over conflicts of interest.