A City lawyer who was forced to resign as chair of the Westminster child sex abuse inquiry has been included in the New Year Honours list. It is little wonder that the Establishment stand accused of “looking after their own”.
The Herald Scotland reports: Fiona Woolf, the then Lord Mayor of London, was the second senior legal figure to quit as chair over her links to the Westminster political establishment.
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Her resignation, following just months after retired judge Lady Butler-Sloss stepped down over similar concerns, has thrown the Government’s stalled child sex abuse inquiry into crisis.
Edinburgh-born Woolf, a City of London lawyer already honoured with a CBE in 2001, was made a Dame for services to the legal profession, diversity and the City of London in the New Year Honours.
But Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale and a leading figure campaigning against child abuse cover-ups, was scathing about the honour.
He said: “Fiona Woolf misled the Home Secretary over her links with Leon Brittan, caused unnecessary distress to victims of child abuse and caused a lengthy and avoidable delay to a very serious inquiry that urgently needs to get started.
“It seems inappropriate that she’s now being invited to Buckingham Palace to pick up one of the highest honours.
“I can think of many more worthy recipients of this honour, but once again it looks like the establishment is looking after their own.”
Victims’ groups, who along with Mr Danczuk demanded Mrs Woolf step down from her role, are now also calling for a much tougher judge-led inquiry.
Mrs Woolf’s links to Lord Brittan prompted the calls for her resignation amid claims they were closer than had first been thought.
Baroness Butler-Sloss the retired judge who had to step down as head of a child sex abuse inquiry herself, has defended the decision to recognise Fiona Woolf in the New Year’s Honours.
She also claims that the home office did not do enough checks on Woolf, her successor.
The Telegraph reports: Lady Butler-Sloss denied the Government’s honours committee had made a mistake, arguing that it was right to recognise Dame Fiona for her role as Lord Mayor.
She blamed the Home Office for the fiasco over Dame Fiona’s appointment as head of the inquiry, accusing it of failing to do “sufficient due diligence.”