On Friday the fantasist Carl Beech was sentenced to 18 years in prison for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice, one of fraud, and for several child sexual offences. Mr Justice Goss said Beech “repeatedly and maliciously told lies to the police” and showed “no remorse”.
The Metropolitan Police spent £2m looking into Beech’s allegations in an operation known as Midland. People falsely accused by Beech, and relatives of some of those who have died since the VIP child abuse investigation began, said they were the victims of “a totally unjustified witch hunt”.
Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, accused by Beech of being involved in murdering two boys, broke down in court at times as he read a victim impact statement. He said Beech’s “false and malicious lies” had caused “ordinary people to revile and despise” him and accused police of “misconduct” over their handling of the investigation.
Lady Brittan said the impact of the allegations against her late husband, former home secretary Lord (Leon) Brittan, was “indescribable, incalculable and unending” and resulted in her having to arrange security at his funeral. “My husband’s name has now been cleared, but he will never know this,” she said.
When Lord Brittan died in January 2015, the Labour MP Tom Watson wrote an article in the Sunday People newspaper to accompany its revelation that the peer was under investigation by Operation Midland. Watson wrote: “It is not for me to judge whether the claims made against Brittan are true.” But, the following month, he tweeted: “I think I have made my position on Leon Brittan perfectly clear. I believe the people who say he raped them”. He later told a Commons select committee “I do regret using that emotive language, I shouldn’t have done and I’m sincerely sorry for repeating it, it was unnecessary”.
Meanwhile the son of the late Labour peer Lord Janner has called on Tom Watson to step down as deputy leader of the Labour party, accusing him of “whipping up a moral panic” over the false allegations of sexual abuse made against his father. Daniel Janner QC claimed Labour’s deputy leader was “primarily responsible” for creating a furore around the “extremely hurtful” accusations. “Tom Watson is primarily responsible for whipping up a moral panic,” said Mr Janner. “So he should hang his head in shame, and he should resign. For him to take the moral high ground in the Labour Party against antisemitism is completely hypocritical.”
Tom Watson has been around long enough for us to know what kind of creature he is. Like taxi drivers in Mumbai he is not someone who makes use of rear view mirrors. Watson mounts a bandwagon, takes it over, sees a gap and exploits that gap all he can. If that means press coverage then great. If there are innocent victims along the way, so be it – Watson will drive as fast away from the scene of the accident and obfuscate the carnage by focusing on other bandwagons, using his Twitter feed to cover up his wrongdoing by posting distracting stories. Watson has done the same recently regarding questions over his dodgy local councillor John Edwards amid serious antisemitism allegations. Watson’s Twitter feed in the last fortnight avoids any mention of Beech or Operation Midland – he has been tweeting about anything else.
How do the Met police feel taking it in the neck for Watson’s errors while he slips away? Are the Corbynites so useless they cannot see the opportunity to be rid of this man who has caused Jeremy Corbyn so much angst?
The backlash against Watson is fast building – especially amongst his growing list of victims and deep in the heart of the national press, who Watson has been dumb enough to annoy over the years by his association with Max Mosley and his demands for the restoration of Leveson 2.
George Galloway and Harvey Proctor announced individually this month that they planned to stand against Watson at the next general election, Galloway as a pro-Brexit pro-Corbyn independent, and Proctor in protest at Watson’s role in the false paedophilia allegations of Operation Midland. This may draw some more scrutiny on Watson’s history of hit and runs but surely a deep-dive inquiry into the Beech scandal needs to happen so the public can see for themselves to what degree Watson was pressuring the police and if Watson abused his position as an MP at any time.
The Corbynites hate him. Sensible Tories detest the man. Watson has burnt too many bridges and has hit a ceiling in British politics that he should never have got anywhere near in the first place.
A prediction from the Squires? He’ll go down with Sandwell.
Sooner the better.