THE Judge, Sir Christopher Pitchford, involved in the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing used to infiltrate trade unions and left-wing groups in England since the 1960s, has revealed that he has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
This means he will eventually have to stand down from the complex and already-delayed probe.
It is said that this has not yet affected his running of the inquiry so far - although the judge's physical symptoms have been becoming apparent.
The home secretary has been asked to appoint another judge to work alongside Sir Christopher and succeed him when he ultimately stands down.
The inquiry is already well behind schedule because of a complex legal dispute with Scotland Yard over how many former officers from the controversial unit at the heart of some of the allegations ought to give evidence.
This fall-out is expected to come to a head in a public hearing later in the spring which is expected to still take place with Sir Christopher at the helm.