1. ITV Report

Priti Patel ‘to ask for probe of Met Police’ over VIP paedophile claims case

Carl Beech lied about the existence of a murderous VIP paedophile ring. Credit: PA

A police watchdog could be called in to investigate Scotland Yard’s disastrous investigation into fabricated claims of a VIP paedophile ring in Westminster.

The Home Secretary will ask the Chief Inspector of Constabulary to review the actions of the Metropolitan Police over Operation Midland, it is reported.

Priti Patel is expected to write to Tom Winsor on Friday, asking Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to examine the bungled probe on the same day the force publishes more of an already heavily critical report into the same investigation, according to the Daily Mail.

Carl Beech was jailed for 18 years. Credit: PA

The force is to release further sections of a review by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques, who was called in after the 16-month operation ended in 2016 without a single arrest.

It saw the homes of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall; Lady Diana Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan; and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor raided on the basis of false claims made by fantasist Carl Beech.

Beech is serving an 18-year jail term for fabricating a series of claims of rape, torture and murder by innocent, well-known names from the military, security services and politics.

Some details of Sir Richard’s report were released by the force three years ago, in which he criticised the Met for believing Beech for too long; one officer announcing publicly that his claims were “credible and true”; applying for search warrants with flawed information and failing to close the investigation sooner.

Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Then-force chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe made a series of extraordinary apologies over the disastrous investigation, which has to date cost the force around £4.5 million.

Five officers were referred to the police watchdog, then known as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), but the body found no evidence of wrongdoing or criminality.

On Friday, the force will also publish details of Sir Richard’s review of an investigation of a separate rape claim against late former home secretary Lord Brittan.

Operation Vincente looked at an allegation that the politician had raped a 19-year-old woman in 1967.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse was referred to the police watchdog over the inquiry but the body did not take it on as an investigation.

The Met has declined to publish other parts of the report because they do not relate to anyone like Beech who has been proved in court to be a liar.

The chapters that will remain secret relate to Operation Bixley – part of a larger investigation named Operation Fairbank into historical allegations of sexual abuse by politicians; four sections about Operation Yewtree into allegations of historical abuse by celebrities; and a further, separate inquiry into an allegation of abuse by a celebrity.