Former Tory Home Secretary Leon Brittan has passed away, aged 75, after a battle with cancer.

The Conservative peer's family confirmed, with "great regret", that Brittan died in London.

"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," the family said.

"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.

The former Tory minister hit headlines recently after it emerged that he was sent a dossier of allegations about paedophiles between 1983 and 1985 by Geoffrey Dickens.

It was alleged that Brittan had failed to investigate the MP's claims.

The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating the child sex abuse allegations.

The Home Secretary Theresa May has also launched an inquiry into an alleged establishment cover-up over claims that VIPs were behind the sex parties.

But Fiona Woolf had to resign last year as head of the investigation after it emerged that she had links with Brittan, who was expected to give evidence.

Lord Deben, a Conservative peer, said Brittan was a "good and honourable" servant to the UK.

"A decent and lasting friend. He will be sorely missed RIP," he added.