Leon Brittan Exclusive: Tory peer questioned by police over rape allegation
Former home secretary accused of raping 19-year-old student in 1967
The former cabinet minister Leon Brittan has been questioned by police under caution in connection with an alleged rape, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
It is understood that the former Conservative home secretary has been accused of raping a 19-year-old student at his London flat in 1967 before he became an MP.
The alleged female victim is believed to have claimed that Lord Brittan, who went on to serve as home secretary from 1983 to 1985, raped her in his central London flat after a blind date.
It is understood that Lord Brittan strongly denied the allegation. The veteran Conservative figure, who was made a life peer in 2000, is understood to have been questioned by police at the central London offices of his lawyers Mishcon De Reya last month.
Last night a Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed an allegation of rape had been made against a man in his seventies over an incident in 1967. The spokesman said: "The woman was over the age of 18 at the time of the incident. The allegation is being investigated by officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command. In June 2014, a man aged in his seventies was interviewed under caution by appointment at a central London location in connection with the allegation. He was not arrested. Enquiries continue."
MP Tom Watson Last night, Lord Brittan declined to discuss the allegation, saying: "I'm sorry, I'm not going to talk about anything like that." Mishcon De Reya did not respond to requests for comment.
The detectives who questioned the veteran Conservative politician are understood to be part of Scotland Yard's Operation Fairbank inquiry team which was launched after Tom Watson MP made allegations of widespread child abuse in Parliament. The specific rape allegations against Lord Brittan are understood to have nothing to do with the Met's Operation Fernbridge investigations into child abuse.
The Home Office announced last night that it will re-examine a 2013 review into Mr Watson's allegations. The original review found that the department passed all relevant information concerning historical child abuse claims to police.
Mark Sedwill, Home Office Permanent Secretary, wrote to the Prime Minister confirming he would "engage a senior independent legal figure to assess" the outcome of the 2013 investigation. The review found that the Home Office had acted appropriately in relation to historical complaints of child abuse.
MP Keith Vaz However, in a separate letter yesterday to Keith Vaz MP, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Sedwill detailed how this review had established that 114 "potentially relevant files" had either been lost or destroyed.
He also added that it had not found a "single dossier" from late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, which was handed to Lord Brittan when he was home secretary in the 1980s. Rather, the 2013 report found records showing several "sets of correspondence".
The so-called "Dickens dossier", which was reported to contain allegations of a predatory paedophile network operating in Westminster during the 1980s, was at the centre of controversy last week when Lord Brittan confirmed he was handed the dossier. He said he had asked his officials to "look carefully" at the material.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Scottish independence referendum results: David Cameron pledges plans for 'English votes for English laws' by January
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins