Ex-Home Secretary Leon Brittan dies

Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan has died aged 75 after a long battle with cancer, his family have said.

The former Conservative MP was a key figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s and later became a European Commissioner.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he had been a “dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant”.

His family paid tribute to his “extraordinary commitment to British public life”.

Lord Brittan came under the spotlight last year as part of the investigation into historical sexual abuse because he was home secretary in 1984 when ministers were handed a dossier on alleged high-profile paedophiles.

In October the head of the public inquiry into child sexual abuse stepped down over criticism of her links with the Conservative peer, who insisted the proper procedures were followed.

The family of Lord Brittan released a statement confirming his death.

A spokesman 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.

‘Leon passed away last night at his home in London after a long battle with cancer. We shall miss him enormously. There will be a private funeral service for family only, and a memorial service to be announced.’

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