Tory grandee ‘retires’ weeks after being named in Parliament over paedophile dossier
By Tim Wood, Mark Watts and Mark Conrad | 17 October 2014
“Lord Brittan has now retired from UBS, and your e-mail has neither been forwarded nor read” – Lord Brittan’s automatic e-mail reply
Lord Brittan has stepped down as UBS Investment Bank’s vice-chairman two months after being named in Parliament over a lost dossier on VIP paedophiles.
He left UBS in September. A UBS source said: “Leon Brittan retired last month after 15 years with UBS.” Brittan was seconded as trade advisor to David Cameron, prime minister, from 2010 to 2011.
As Leon Brittan, he was home secretary between 1983 and 1985 in Margaret Thatcher’s government. Lord Brittan was named in July by Simon Danczuk, Labour MP, at a hearing before the House of Commons home affairs committee as the cabinet minister who received the dossier that was handed to the Home Office in 1984 about a paedophile network at Westminster.
The parliamentary session in July put Brittan at the centre of a storm over what happened to the dossier, which was handed to him by the late Geoffrey Dickens, a fellow Conservative MP, at a meeting at the Home Office. The Dickens material named several MPs and other prominent people as paedophiles.
A review by the Home Office last year found that the material had not been retained. The department said in a statement: “The Home Office acted appropriately, referring information received during this period to the relevant authorities.”
Danczuk said in Parliament that it would be helpful if Brittan “stepped forward and shared his thoughts” about what happened to the dossier.
The hearing heaped pressure on the government to order an overarching inquiry into child sex abuse (CSA). It also led to a series of statements the following day on the Dickens dossier, first from Brittan, then the Home Office, and then another from Brittan.
Within a week, Brittan was named as the rape suspect in the 1967 case, and Theresa May, home secretary, announced the CSA inquiry.
May appointed Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor of London, to chair the inquiry. However, victims of child sex abuse who allege a paedophile network at Westminster are calling on Woolf to declare her links with Brittan and his wife, Diana.
Woolf sits on the board of a City of London conference with Brittan, judges in annual City awards alongside his wife , and gave Diana a £50 donation and a chummy message when she took part in a charity fun-run last year.
Woolf was preparing to make a statement to dismiss concerns about the links, and is due to be questioned at the home affairs committee next Tuesday about her inquiry role.
Last month in Parliament, Danczuk raised the issue of Woolf’s links to Brittan with William Hague, leader of the House of Commons. Danczuk said: “I am disturbed by the apparent links between the new chair and Lord Brittan, who is alleged to be at the heart of the paedophile scandal and cover-up surrounding Westminster.”
He asked for a debate in Parliament about it.
But Hague turned down the request.
Brittan was an MP from 1974 to 1988, initially representing Cleveland and Whitby, then Richmond in Yorkshire.
He was trade secretary from 1985 to 1986, when he was forced to resign at the height of the “Westland affair” after he was found to have instructed an official to leak a letter by the then solicitor general that was critical of Michael Heseltine, then defence secretary.
He was a commissioner of the European Commission from 1989 to 1999, including two spells as its vice-president, and became vice-chairman of UBS Investment Bank in 2000.
E-mails to Brittan at the bank receive an automatic reply: “Lord Brittan has now retired from UBS, and your e-mail has neither been forwarded nor read.”
The bank would not comment.
Brittan confirmed in a statement through his solicitors that he had left UBS, adding: “I spent 15 wonderful years with UBS and would like to thank everyone I worked with and wish them all the best for the future.”
Meanwhile, Brittan’s attendance at the House of Lords has fallen sharply. Between May and November last year, he attended 27 out of 66 possible sessions. But out of 83 possible sessions from November 2013 to May this year, he went once.
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