BY JAMIE FOSTER
Tom Watson will face calls to step down as Labour Deputy Leader following the publication of a new report into the activities of fantasist Carl Beech. Beech made claims about a VIP paedophile gang linked to high profile politicians including Lord Brittan, Sir Edward Heath, Lord Bramwell and the heads of MI5 and MI6. His claims led to a wasted £2.5M police investigation.
The report concludes that police felt pressurised by Tom Watson who wrote to them in support of Beech’s allegations. Beech claimed to police that Watson was part of a small group that supported him and helped to get his allegations out there.Watson has tried to play down his contact with Beech, claiming in a statement that he only met Beech once and encouraged him to make his claim to the Metropolitan Police. His statement failed to mention that he kept in email contact with Beech.
The new report, written by Sir Richard Henriques, will state that police felt under pressure due to Mr Watson’s connection to Beech. It is understood that the report will suggest that Mr Watson’s involvement led police to take Beech’s claims seriously.
A second report written by Sir Richard will deal with a separate historic abuse claim made by a woman called Jane. Jane claimed Lord Brittan raped her in the 1960s. Police found inconsistencies in her account and dropped the case. Tom Watson wrote to them complaining that the case had been dropped and they reopened the case. Lord Brittan was interviewed under caution and was not told before he died that he was not going to be charged with any offence.
Victims of Beech’s lies, including former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, are expected to call for Tom Watson to step down as Labour Deputy leader when the Henriques report is published. It is not clear whether a second report into the claims made by ‘Jane’ will also be published but there is an outcry for that to be published too. When the two reports are pieced together it is very damaging for Tom Watson as it reflects badly on his judgment.
Watson has denied that he was part of a support group for Beech and that he made no judgement on whether he believed his claims but he wrote in a tabloid newspaper that Beech, who he described as a ‘survivor’ described Lord Brittan as ‘close to evil as any human being can get.’
Lady Brittan has expressed her disgust at Tom Watson’s attempts to distance himself from Beech.
It remains to be seen whether this is a storm that Tom Watson can ride out. He set himself up as a self-styled champion of victims of historic sex abuse but appears to have had little judgment about which victims to champion. He used his public office to bring pressure to bear on the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions in support of a serial liar and fantasist. Having entered the fray it seems fair enough that he should be held accountable for his actions.
It goes without saying that lying about historic sex abuse undermines the position of real survivors. The problem is that the lies are taken seriously and men’s reputations are destroyed in the wake of such lies and fantasy. Harvey Proctor lost his home and employment in the wake of the allegations. Lord Brittan was treated like a criminal at the end of his life. There is no question but that historic sexual abuse must be investigated but Tom Watson’s interference in the investigation didn’t help justice to be served.
It will be interesting to see if Tom Watson manages to shake off all responsibility in this case or whether he will have to pay for his part in this grubby affair. It is fascinating to see the extent to which the Labour Party allows itself to keep its high profile members in their jobs despite what they have done.
Of course, should another scandal hit Watson at the same time – perhaps coming from his enemies in Sandwell – Watson will have to pack his bags and hope LBC continue with his off-peak DJ spot.