Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan Dies
Sky News – 12 minutes ago
- [url=https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fuk.news.yahoo.com%2Fformer-home-secretary-leon-brittan-dies-144240775.html%239Uh6Hhc&t=Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan Dies - Yahoo News UK]Share[/url]25
Sky News - Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan Dies
Former Tory leader Lord Howard has said it is a "tragedy" Lord Brittan's "last days were dogged by unsubstantiated allegations" about a Westminster paedophile ring.
The former home secretary and Tory peer died in his sleep at the age of 75 after a long battle with cancer.
Lord Brittan, a key figure in Margaret Thatcher's government, last year became mired in the historical child sex abuse scandal
after claims he was handed a dossier containing details of the abuse allegations in the 1980s.
He was accused of failing to act on the evidence passed to him by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens in 1983.
While he admitted he had met Mr Dickens and had been handed a file, he said he had passed it on to officials and was not contacted on this issue again.
However, the Home Office released a letter in which Lord Brittan, who was knighted in 1989, wrote to Mr Dickens saying the material had been assessed and "had been passed to the appropriate authorities".
Lord Howard told Sky News Lord Brittan was a great parliamentarian, while former cabinet colleague Lord Lamont said he had been very "brave and stoical" during his illness and added he was a kind man and one of the "brightest of his generation".
Prime Minister David Cameron praised him as a "dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant".
Lord Brittan's family said: "It is with great regret that we announce the death of Leon Brittan.
"As a family, we should like to pay tribute to him as a beloved husband to Diana and brother to Samuel, and a supportive and loving stepfather to Katharine and Victoria, and step-grandfather to their children.
"We also salute his extraordinary commitment to British public life as a Member of Parliament, Minister, Cabinet Minister, European Commissioner and Peer - together with a distinguished career in law, and latterly in business.
"We shall miss him enormously."
Leon Brittan was elected as MP for Cleveland and Whitby in 1974 and then for Richmond, Yorks in 1983 when he became the youngest home secretary since Winston Churchill.
He was as prominent in the Thatcher government for taking on the National Union of Mineworkers during the miners' strike in 1984-85 as he was for his resignation over the Westland affair in 1986
In 1984 he led the government response to the shooting of police officer Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London because both Mrs Thatcher and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe were away.
He went on to become a European Commissioner, spending 10 years in the role and rising to vice-president of the Commission between 1989 and 1993. Nick Clegg was a member of his office.
Lord Deben - who served alongside Lord Brittan in the Thatcher administration as John Gummer - said: "A decent and lasting friend. He will be sorely missed."
Lord Heseltine told Sky News Lord Brittan was a "talented and highly respected minister" and that they had in later years enjoyed a friendship despite the differences that emerged during the Westland affair.
Thanks for this forward and: uk.news.yahoo.com