UK Politics

Actor Nigel Havers defends aunt's abuse inquiry role

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Media captionNigel Havers, Baroness Butler-Sloss's nephew: "She's completely independent of politics"

Actor Nigel Havers claims attempts to get his aunt to quit as chair of a child sex abuse review are politically motivated.

MPs and abuse victims say Elizabeth Butler-Sloss should step down because her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was attorney general in the 1980s.

But Mr Havers said his aunt had "no political ties" to his father.

"Anything the Conservative Party do, it seems to me, the Labour Party has to question," he told the BBC.

Baroness Butler-Sloss was chosen by the home secretary to head the probe into allegations of abuse by politicians and other powerful figures over a 30-year period.

But a number of MPs urged the peer to step down, claiming she was too close to the establishment, particularly as Sir Michael was attorney general at the time of the alleged paedophile activity.

'Most respected'

Mr Havers, who has appeared in Coronation Street, dismissed the claims, insisting his aunt, who stood as a Conservative MP in 1959, was "the most qualified person" in the country to do the job "and therefore should be allowed to get on with it and be left alone".

He told BBC News: "I do think it's odd that they can't trust my aunt to do a good job. She's completely independent to politics, especially at that period.

"My father was in the House of Commons - she wasn't. She's the most respected judge of her period.

"She wouldn't have taken up this job unless she thought she could make a fist of it and do it properly."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Baroness Butler-Sloss said work on the child sex abuse review would begin as soon as possible

Mr Havers dismissed the row over his aunt's appointment as "children politics" and said she should be allowed to get on with the job.

"I think the general public are so hacked off with politicians always arguing for the sake of arguing," he said.

"My father would not have seen my aunt very much during that period and to question my aunt's integrity is absurd.

"She's the most transparent, honest, brilliant lawyer and her judgement should never be questioned as far as I'm concerned,"

Mr Havers, who appeared in the 1981 hit movie Chariots Of Fire and recently played love rat Lewis Archer in ITV soap Coronation Street, said he was too busy "blissfully making movies" at the time to know much about his father's work.

"I know he worked very hard and was very close to what was going on in government but he's not around to defend himself."

Pressed on whether Lady Butler-Sloss really needed to be thrust into the heart of a hugely contentious inquiry at the age of 80, Mr Havers replied: "Probably not.

"The very reason she's taken on this inquiry means to me she wants to get to the bottom of it and she wants to do her job extremely well, otherwise she would have not bothered to take the job on in the first place.

"She should be allowed to continue and to do the job that she's been asked to do."

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