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 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 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.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week