Widow of Leon Brittan 'urges Tom Watson to quit as an MP' over false VIP sex abuse claims
Tom Watson has been urged to quit as an MP over his support for the discredited claims of a VIP sex abuse ring in Westminster.
Labour's deputy leader has come in for severe criticism after the allegations were dismissed following a Metropolitan Police investigation.
Mr Watson gave his public backing to the testimony of Carl Beech, previously known as “Nick”, who said he had witnessed the rape and murder of young boys, and had himself been abused.
It led to a to a £2.5 million police inquiry, known as Operation Midland, which revealed Beech to be a fantasist. He jailed for 18 years for offences including perverting the course of justice.
On the basis of Beech's claims, in 2012 Mr Watson said there was “clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10”.
A report into the police operation by Sir Richard Henriques, a retired High Court judge, is due to be published on Friday and be critical of how officer's ineracted with the MP.
Former Tory Home Secretary Leon Brittan was among those accused of abuse, but died before the claims were proved to be false.
A friend of the peer’s widow told The Times: “The extent of Tom Watson’s involvement in the witch-hunt of innocent people has been laid bare.
“His subsequent attempts to distance himself show a complete lack of integrity.
“By misusing his public office to recklessly repeat false allegations, and to characterise himself as a victim, he has shown that he is unfit to hold the office of MP.”
But Mr Watson told the newspaper: “I have always said that it wasn’t my place to judge whether sexual abuse allegations were true or false; that was for the police.
“The police asked me to encourage the hundreds of people that came to me with stories of child abuse to report their stories to the police. That is what I did.
“I hope the case of the liar Carl Beech doesn’t prevent true victims of abuse coming forward.”
It was announced on Thursday that Home Secretary Priti Patel is to order a public review by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary into Operation Midland.