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Topic: Fiona Woolf quits as chair of abuse inquiry  ...
Posted by: Leslie Wilson
Date/Time: 31/10/14 17:52:00

... 30 minutes after Home Office expressed 'full confidence' in her.

Fiona Woolf this afternoon became the second head of the Government’s inquiry into historical child sex abuse to be forced to quit over links to key figures in the scandal – just half an hour after the Home Office said they had “full confidence” in her.

Ms Woolf announced that she was stepping down after it emerged that she failed to declare that she lived on the same street as Lord Brittan and his wife and attended five dinner parties with the former Conservative minister.

She also admitted to allowing the Home Office to help redraft a letter explaining her relationship with Lord Brittan seven times in a ways that appeared to distance herself from the couple.

Lord Brittan was Home Secretary in 1984 when ministers were handed a dossier on alleged high-profile paedophiles. The files have disappeared, leading to allegations of a political cover-up. He was expected to be called to give evidence to the inquiry.

Mrs Woolf was chosen to lead the inquiry following the resignation of Lady Butler-Sloss in July. Lady Butler-Sloss's brother, Sir Michael Havers, was attorney general in the 1980s.

Ms Woolf’s position came untenable after victims representatives have unanimously called for her to be replaced following a meeting with the panel's secretariat.

Campaigners said the entire process would be “a dead duck in the water” if the corporate lawyer and Lord Mayor of London was allowed to remain in post. The Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper also called for her to stand down.

But 30 minutes before her departure was announced the Home Office appeared to be in the dark about her resignation. A Home Office spokesman told The Independent that they had full confidence in Mrs Woolf to lead the inquiry.

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