Lord Brittan’s widow hits out at Metropolitan Police ‘cover-up culture’ and ‘despicable’ Tom Watson

Jane DaltonWed, 10 February 2021, 6:43 pm

Leon Brittan, and his wife, Diana, who says Scotland Yard should be held accountable (AFP via Getty Images)
Leon Brittan, and his wife, Diana, who says Scotland Yard should be held accountable (AFP via Getty Images)

The widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan has attacked a “culture of cover-up” at Scotland Yard and called for top officers to be held accountable.

Lord Brittan was falsely accused of rape in 2013 and was among high-profile figures linked by fantasists to a “Westminster paedophile ring”.

The Conservative politician, who served under Margaret Thatcher, died in 2015 under a cloud of suspicion as police were still investigating the allegations.

Lady Brittan accused the Met of lacking a “moral spine,” saying: “Not a single person in this case has resigned, lost their job, been fired, demoted or disciplined.

Speaking to a Daily Mail podcast, she added: “There has been a little bit of hand-wringing which doesnot amount to a row of beans. If, in a case like this, accountability does not involve firings or resignations at the point of responsibility, what then is accountability?”

Lady Brittan, who was a long-serving magistrate, also said Tom Watson, the former Labour deputy leader, did “the most despicable thing ahuman being could do” by joining the accusers.

And she condemned the Independent Office for PoliceConduct (IOPC), calling its inquiry that cleared five officers of wrongdoing “as good as a whitewash”.

Lady Brittan has submitted evidence to the Commons home affairs committee, which is investigating the watchdog.

Fal;se claims by Carl Beech prompted the Met to launch Operation Midland, which also investigated Field Marshal Lord Bramall and Edward Heath before closing with no charges brought. Beech was jailed for 18 years perverting the cause of justice and fraud in 2019.

Lady Brittan told the Mail she was made to feel “like a complicit criminal” when detectives raided her two homes.

“It was like I was being burgled in broad daylight, in front of my eyes. I felt metaphorically violated,” she said.

She added: “It just seems to me the Metropolitan Police has preferred its corporate or personal ambitions to a strong moral compass.

“Although apologies have been offered, this is not quite the same as trying to change the corporate culture, of openness and transparency.”

On the insistence of the Commons home affairs committee, Mr Watson eventually sent a 120-word note of apology to Lady Brittan.

“I was grateful for that. But when you have said something of that nature, at that time, about someone you deeply love, it’s very offensive,” she said.

The Met Police and Mr Watson have been invited to respond.