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Monday 8 February 2016

Leon Brittan - Met Cleared, Press Bust

The case of “Jane”, who alleged that former cabinet minister Leon Brittan had raped her many years ago, generated a significant amount of heat last Autumn, with the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate quite sure who was in the wrong: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe, and Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson. They were responsible for hounding Brittan. And the Police officer who agreed was praised.
That officer was DCI Paul Settle, whose appearance before a Parliamentary select committee chaired by Leicester East MP Keith Vaz was lauded by press and pundits alike. Richard Littlejohn asserted that thereal hero on Wednesday was Detective Chief Inspector Paul Settle, the original investigating officer in the Brittan case … Labour's Deputy Leader must share the blame … for Brittan's treatment … Heads must roll, starting with Hyphen-Howe [sic] himself”. And there was more.

Littlejohn’s paper, the Daily Mail, told readersPressure grows on Hogan-Howe to quit as Scotland Yard chief after admission that rape case against Leon Brittan was reopened because of fear of public backlash”. Hack Guy Adams was on the case. Watson had to apologise, and so did Tory MP Zac Goldsmith.

There was a suitably righteous Daily Mail Comment, commanding Watson to apologise, as instructed by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. Only two days ago, Adams was back on the attack, sneeringly commenting on Hogan-Howe’s new car and floating the false equivalence that rising crime in London was down to Hogan-Howe personally assigning detectives to enquiries of which the Daily Mail disapproved.

Over at the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie has been equally forthright and unwavering: “THE courage of Detective Chief Inspector Paul Settle should not go unremarked or unrewarded … He has sacrificed his own Scotland Yard career, forced the appalling bully Tom Watson to make a grovelling public apology and won for Leon Brittan’s family their first moment of real peace in years … DCI Settle is one of the good guys at the Yard”.

That was last October, but only three days ago Kel was back on the subject: “So desperate is Hogan-Howe to hang on he would apologise to Kenneth Noye if he thought it would allow him to keep the uniform … But if I were his ultimate boss, Home Secretary Theresa May, I would allow him to make the apology … then fire him”. London’s increasingly occasional Mayor Boris Johnson also passed adverse comment on Hogan-Howe.

Then came the allegedly quality papers and their pundits: Nick Cohen in the Observer stated that Watson “sinks lower than the News of the World”, while managing to miss the three convictions, including that of Charles Napier, that followed from the MP’s interventions. Alice Thomson of the Murdoch Times, allegedly a close friend of the Prime Minister, assertedDespicable Tom Watson should stand down”.

And the hapless David Aaronovitch - another who has taken the Murdoch shilling - told readersWhy let the facts spoil a good smear campaign”. Sadly, when he later discussed the case on the BBC’s Daily Politics with my good friend Peter Jukes, his campaign developed not necessarily to his advantage, although I wouldn’t be so unkind as to mention that The Great Man lost his rag big time afterwards.

The result of all these attacks was not unadjacent to zero: as I observed soon afterwards, Tom Watson was vindicated after the Guardian demonstrated that he had not influenced the Met’s enquiries. The select committee hearing which was reported so partially by the right-leaning press was actually told by DPP Alison Saunders that Watson’s letter, made so much of by the pundits, had “absolutely no effect” on her decisions.

It got worse: three days ago, the Independent - note, not one of those papers that had praised him so effusively - had bad news for DCI Paul Settle, as it revealedThe behaviour of a senior police officer who investigated a Westminster sex ring is to be examined by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over  a claim of leaking information to the media … The officer [is] believed to be DCI Paul Settle”.

And now, in a final blow to all those highly selective and variously clueless pundits, has come the news that the review into the Met’s handling of the “Jane” case “has upheld that the investigation was ‘necessary, proportionate and fully justified despite the significant passage of time’”. As David Hencke has noted, “This contradicts the critical findings of MPs who preferred to rely on the evidence given by  Det Supt. Paul Settle  rather than senior Met officers”. It was not, of course, just MPs who expressed that preference.

I will spare Zelo Street readers the full Norwegian football commentator spiel. But Keith Vaz, Richard Littlejohn, Paul Dacre, Kelvin McFilth, Nick Cohen, Guy Adams, Alice Thomson, David Aaronovitch, Boris Johnson, the conclusion is the same: your boys took a hell of a beating.

Not that I’m demanding any of them apologise, of course. Perish the thought!


Paul Ewart said...

The establishment protects its own. What David Aaronovitch id doing getting involved in this, I've no idea. I guess his conversion is complete. Why anyone not directly related to Leon Brittan would want to defend him is beyond me. The stories are legion.

Anonymous said...

So Alison Saunders says Watson's letter didn't influence her decision. Surely the key question is:did she see it? Never mind, the police who carried out the Brittan investigation have been exonerated. By the police. Meanwhile Settle discovers what happens to cops who dare to criticize their colleagues. Come on, try holding power to account. Whoops, wrong blog.

Anonymous said...

Is this Keith Vaz character the same Keith Vaz who fervently defended his "dear friend" Greville Janner claiming Janner was "the victim of a cowardly and wicked attack."

Should we trust anything such a vacuous twat says if he counts Janner as a "dear friend"?

Anonymous said...

Murdoch's and Rothermere's cornered rats may have "cleared" Brittan.

But I haven't.

Nor, apparently, have his relatives who buried him anonymously......why?

Tom Watson took on that House of Scoundrels and got right in their faces, which is why the cornered rats came out spitting poison. He said the House of Scoundrels had a lot to be ashamed of, but he could have included scum like MacKenzie and sell-out Aaronvitch.

They hate Watson of course because he has shown great courage....which only highlights their own cowardice and mob-handed bullying. On this issue one Tom Watson is worth a million of those gutless shills.

Quinn said...

Anon @ 17:20 says

"Come on, try holding power to account. Whoops, wrong blog."

You have got this completely the wrong way around. This has always been an example of power trying to cow the judicial process, while Tim and others have been looking to allow the truth in the matter to emerge, regardless of whether that exonerates or condemns Brittan.

mike said...

'Who Will Speak for England?': Paul Dacre, it seems.

'Who Will Speak for Brittan?': all the other buggers, it seems. (Plus Dacre, making a Jeremy* of himself again).

*Rhyming slang, constantly evolving.

Anonymous said...

Did Tom Watson hound any of the Labour 25, whoever they are?

Jon said...

Some of the comments by this anonymous character seem a bit desperate. Watson only passed on information directly handed to him to the police as he saw fit. Move on

Anonymous said...

Concerns about politicians sound desperate?

Would you advise people stay quiet?

You sound desperate.

Helping the electorate, are you?

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling there's a huge leakage above this comment?