Scotland Yard has belatedly apologised to the widow of Leon Brittan for not telling him that he had been cleared of false rape allegations.
It turns out the police had concluded he was innocent months before his death from cancer in January this year, but decided to keep it to themselves.
Perhaps this might explain how Tom Watson MP, the Nonce Finder General, has been able to carry on maintaining until now that the former Home Secretary stands accused of ‘multiple child rape’.
Scotland Yard has belatedly apologised to the widow of Leon Brittan for not telling him that he had been cleared of false rape allegations months before his death. Perhaps this might explain how Tom Watson MP has been able to carry on maintaining until now that the former Home Secretary stands accused of ‘multiple child rape’.
Watson even compared Brittan to the serial sex fiend Jimmy Savile and claimed that he was being protected until his death by a high-level cover-up, whose tentacles reached deep into the Tory establishment.
Of course, dead men can’t sue. So Watson could make whatever vile allegations he liked. It wasn’t the first time he’d accused senior Tories of sex crimes, safe in the knowledge that he wouldn’t have to face the consequences in the libel courts.
Three years ago, under cover of parliamentary privilege, Watson launched an extraordinary vendetta which smeared senior Conservatives as child molesters, rapists and murderers.
He used Prime Minister’s Questions to claim that there was a ‘powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10’.
Watson made lurid allegations of sex abuse at a North Wales children’s home, which sparked a media frenzy and emboldened soppy Sally Bercow, the Speaker’s wife, to name on Twitter the former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine as one of the guilty men.
Watson even compared Brittan to the serial sex fiend Jimmy Savile and claimed that he was being protected until his death by a high-level cover-up
McAlpine was wholly innocent and successfully sought redress for defamation from Bercow and broadcasters stupid enough to repeat and embellish these false allegations.
He was not in the best of health when these vile accusations surfaced and died just over a year later. Who can tell whether this disgraceful assault on his reputation hastened his death?
Watson has never apologised for lighting the blue touchpaper. While he personally hadn’t named McAlpine, he might just as well have led a torch-lit procession along Whitehall.
That’s why, in 2012, I dubbed him The Nonce Finder General.
The McAlpine scandal didn’t, however, give him pause for thought. Soon he was back in the saddle, flaming torch in hand, widening the scope of his Inquisition.
Watson wrote to David Cameron, suggesting that organised abuse of children may have taken place in Downing Street during the Thatcher years. Menacingly, he wrote that anyone counselling caution about these claims was a ‘friend of the paedophile’.
It was a classic case of trying to attribute guilt by association.
According to the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror, Watson said he had been in contact with someone who alleged a former ‘top minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government’ had ‘regularly abused boys’.
Was this Brittan? Who knows? It took the number of Tories being accused of child-molesting to four, at least two of them once close to Thatcher. The police, still smarting from their failure — and in some cases complicity — to stop Savile from abusing victims on an industrial scale, swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker.
They were already rounding up ageing celebrities for ‘historic’ sex crimes — a handful of them subsequently found guilty, others falsely accused but whose lives and careers were plunged into turmoil.
Watson made lurid allegations of sex abuse at a North Wales children’s home, which sparked a media frenzy and emboldened soppy Sally Bercow, the Speaker’s wife, to name on Twitter the former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine, pictured, as one of the guilty men
To the DJs and game-show hosts, the Yard could now start adding prominent politicians and Establishment figures on Watson’s hit-list. Brittan was among those he targeted. Watson claimed he had spoken to both a man and woman who had been raped by Brittan many years ago and said he knew of two further cases.
My suspicions were raised at the time when it was revealed that one of the accusers was a ‘Labour activist’. This week we learned from Panorama that the other accuser gave Brittan’s name ‘as a joke’.
The police dutifully carried out intensive investigations, but in the summer of 2013 the Crown Prosecution Service advised them that there was no evidence to suggest that any such crime had happened. Or, indeed, that one of the alleged victims had ever met Brittan. Yet Watson wouldn’t let go. Quite improperly, he put pressure on the Director of Public Prosecutions to reopen the case.
Consequently, the police interviewed Brittan and his name was made public. Even though he wasn’t charged, for the last months of his life he had to endure the whispers of the ‘no smoke without fire’ brigade and the frenzied speculation of social media — a victim of the modern equivalent of ordeal by fire.
Watson wrote to David Cameron, suggesting that organised abuse of children may have taken place in Downing Street during the Thatcher years
Scotland Yard now admit they knew he was innocent months before he died.
In a letter to Lady Brittan, DAC Steve Rodhouse grudgingly confesses that the force should have provided ‘clarity’ earlier. What a weasel word, ‘clarity’. What a weasel apology. Lady Brittan deserves at the very least a personal, handwritten, grovelling mea culpa from the Commissioner of the Met, Bernard Hyphen-Howe, not an insincere ‘sorry for any distress’ from one of his subordinates to her husband’s solicitors?
Hyphen-Howe has plenty of questions to answer about the ‘paedos in high places’ investigation — not to mention the phone-hacking fiasco and the Savile hysteria, which has ruined the lives of countless innocent individuals.
But, incredibly, despite all this and the Andrew Mitchell ‘Plebgate’ scandal, we are told Hyphen-Howe is being rewarded with a three-year extension to his contract. This is the man who has finished the job of turning what was the finest police force in the world into a cross between Haringey Social Services and the paramilitary wing of the political class.
The conduct of the Yard and the CPS in these inquiries has been outrageous, over-zealous and, until now, unapologetic. But this column isn’t about them.
This is about Tommy ‘Two Pizzas’ Watson — named not just for his legendary appetite, but because he once spent so much (taxpayers’) money on food at Marks & Sparks, the store gave him a free pizza cutter wheel.
That was the year he claimed £480 for food on his parliamentary expenses. Maybe he bought the pizzas for Hacked Off, who share his other visceral obsession — bringing our Free Press under state control and stopping people like me writing columns like this.
It’s worth pointing out that no newspaper would have dared make the kind of unsubstantiated allegations that Watson has flung at Tory ‘rapists and child abusers’.
Yet the Left think they, and they alone, should be free to hurl smears and lies whenever they want without any comeback whatsoever.
Maybe all that motivates him is genuine concern about exposing abuse. In which case, why does he only go after Tories and Liberals? Why did he refuse to sign a letter from MPs calling on the DPP to reopen inquiries into Labour’s Greville Janner?
At this stage, it is only proper that I stress all genuine allegations of sexual abuse should be investigated and the guilty brought to justice. But that doesn’t justify the kind of deranged witch-hunt we’ve seen over the past few years.
In the case of Leon Brittan, and so many other Conservatives put in the frame for historic sex crime, the gunpowder trail leads directly back to Watson.
Even the ex-DPP Lord McDonald has now come round to my way of thinking, describing the actions of the police and his old organisation as ‘medieval’.
How long before Hyphen-Howe decides to reopen inquiries into the historic abuse and murder of the Princes in the Tower, back in 1483 — even though their jailer, Richard III, like Jimmy Savile, remains dead?
As the motive force behind the hysterical ‘paedos in high places’ inquisition, Watson must also shoulder a share of the blame for 91-year-old Lord Bramall, D-Day hero and former head of the British Army, being interviewed under caution.
Yet this is the man who is now Labour’s deputy leader, who will supposedly ‘moderate’ the Trotskyite tendencies of Jeremy Corbyn — which tells you all you need to know about the delusion of the modern Labour Party
Maybe all that motivates him is genuine concern about exposing abuse. In which case, why does he only go after Tories and Liberals?
Why did he refuse to sign a letter from MPs calling on the DPP to reopen inquiries into Labour’s Greville Janner?
What isn’t in doubt is his raw, tribal hatred of the Conservatives.
Watson is the parliamentary incarnation of that snarling, spitting mob outside the Manchester conference centre this week screaming ‘Tory scum’ at anyone and everyone in the vicinity.
Yet this is the man who is now Labour’s deputy leader, who will supposedly ‘moderate’ the Trotskyite tendencies of Jeremy Corbyn — which tells you all you need to know about the delusion of the modern Labour Party.
Watson is a cynical practitioner of the politics of the ducking-stool, as unfit for high office as the Bearded Trot himself. If he had any shred of decency, he would issue his own unreserved apology to Lady Brittan. But don’t hold your breath. It would stick in his craw.
Anyway, Watson probably considers Leon Brittan just another convenient casualty of class war. The ends always justify the means.
The great virtue of being on the self-righteous Left is never having to say you’re sorry.