Attorney General admits affair with top barrister

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The government's highest-ranking lawyer admitted last night that he had an affair with the UK's leading Asian barrister.

Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, confirmed that he had cheated on his wife with Kim Hollis, a QC and a divorced mother of two.

The Prime Minister's top legal adviser said he had an extramarital affair with Britain's first Asian QC, but that his wife Joy, also 57, had long been aware of it. Whitehall sources said the affair ended around two and a half years ago. "My wife knows all about this and has done for some time. It is all in the past. We are both very happy. This is a private matter and we have no further comment to make," Lord Goldsmith said yesterday.

The admission comes in the week that it emerged that Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, had cheated on his wife with a barrister. Lord Goldsmith, 57, will play a key role in deciding if there is enough evidence to prosecute in the cash for honours affair.

Ms Hollis, made a QC in 2002, has worked on a number of high-profile prosecutions, including that of a man who stole Victoria Beckham's luggage at Heathrow Airport in 2001. She was born in 1957 to an Indian father and British mother and spent the first five years of her life in Calcutta before moving to the UK, where she attended Cheltenham Ladies' College. Asked to give tips for success to young female lawyers, she once said: "Networking is incredibly important."