David Cameron pressed to order overarching inquiry as government reels from CSA crisis
By Mark Conrad and Tim Wood | 7 July 2014
“It is only because of Exaro and Tom Watson that this has come about, and I feel vindicated in coming forward” – Jane
Exaro can reveal that the DPP, Alison Saunders, forced the Metropolitan Police Service to review how it had investigated the allegation against Leon (now Lord) Brittan that he raped a 19-year-old student in the summer of 1967 before he became an MP.
Saunders demanded to know from the Met why it had closed the case without even questioning him.
As a result, detectives interviewed Brittan under caution by appointment in the first half of June at his solicitors’ offices.
The alleged victim – known as “Jane” to protect her identity – told Exaro: “I am very pleased that the police have decided to review the case.”
Brittan was not arrested. He denied to police that he even knew of the complainant, and entirely rejected the rape allegation, according to well-placed sources.
The intervention by Saunders came after Tom Watson, Labour MP, wrote to the DPP to ask that she personally looked into how police had handled the case.
He wrote to her following a series of stories on Exaro in May, published in partnership with the Sunday People, that set out Jane’s detailed account of how she was allegedly raped on a blind date.
At Jane’s request, Exaro arranged a meeting with Watson so that she could tell him directly how the police had treated her.
We uploaded an anonymous video interview with Jane.
In a series of damaging disclosures, the Met was also exposed for launching a smear campaign against Jane.
And the Met was under pressure to explain why it failed to follow police guidelines for investigating rape in Jane’s case.
According to well-placed sources, a large volume of e-mail traffic over the case was exchanged between the DPP’s office and the Met.
As a result, the Met has replaced the officer who was in charge of the investigation.
Three weeks ago, two detectives who were on the original case travelled to Jane’s home to tell her that Brittan had been interviewed under caution and that the case files would be reassessed.
They also warned Jane and her long-term partner, “Michael”, not to tell Exaro or anyone else that the Met was having to review the allegations.
Jane and Michael respected Scotland Yard’s request, and so are mystified that two Sunday newspapers yesterday revealed that police had interviewed Brittan. Other newspapers quickly changed their front pages to lead with the remarkable development for later editions.
So far as Jane and Michael are aware, only they and the Met knew about the development. “Only a handful of people would have known about this,” said Jane.
She continued: “It is only because of Exaro and Tom Watson that this has come about, and I feel vindicated in coming forward,” she said. “We must now allow the enquiries to continue.”
Watson said: “There were only two media outlets – Exaro and the Sunday People – that were pushing for greater transparency over such an important case.
“Thank you to Exaro for doggedly pursuing this.”
Meanwhile, a series of separate developments over the weekend heaped pressure on David Cameron, prime minister, to order an overarching inquiry – backed by 146 MPs – into child sex abuse:
- The Home Office admitted that it had lost or destroyed 114 files from between 1979 and 1999 that were “potentially relevant” to child sex abuse;
- Mark Sedwill, Home Office’s permanent secretary, told Cameron that he would appoint a “senior independent legal figure” to assess his review of last year into what happened to a dossier on VIP paedophiles after Brittan received it when he was home secretary in 1984;
- Norman (now Lord) Tebbit, former Conservative Party chairman, said that “there may well have been” a political cover-up over child sex abuse.
And Ed Miliband, opposition leader, demanded a wider review into child abuse “to draw together” all the lessons.
Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, called for an “overarching review led by child-protection experts to draw together the results from all these different cases, investigations and institutional inquiries.”
She was responding to Theresa May, home secretary, who has delayed the decision on whether to order an overarching inquiry.
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