Home Secretary Theresa May faces public inquiry over Lawrence family 'smear' accusations

Former undercover officer Peter Francis says he was told to find 'dirt' that could be used against family

Deputy Political Editor

The Home Secretary faced demands from MPs today to order a public inquiry into accusations that undercover police attempted to smear Stephen Lawrence's family and friends.

Theresa May announced that an examination by the QC Mark Ellison of claims that corruption hindered the original police response to the killing would be widened to cover the fresh allegations.

They would also be scrutinised by an inquiry led by the Derbyshire Chief Constable, Mick Creedon, in conjunction with the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In a Commons statement in which she promised "zero tolerance of police corruption and wrongdoing, Ms May said the rules governing the authorisation of covert operations would be tightened.

But MPs said the number of disclosures meant the time had come to order separate public hearings to establish the truth of the police handling of the murder investigation.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "Would it not be better to set out a clear and focused independent investigation into these allegations, which has a precise remit and also the powers to pursue both criminal and disciplinary proceedings?"

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, said: "I think the time has come to look seriously at a public inquiry into the use of undercover agents."

Clive Efford, the MP for Eltham, where the murder took place, called for a public inquiry into all the claims, including accusations of corruptions and attempts to smear the Lawrence family. He said: "We will only satisfy the public if that is done independently of the police."

Ms May replied that Mr Ellison's inquiry had been set up following consultation with the Lawrences and insisted he was fully independent.

The Home Secretary told the Commons that legislation would be brought in to ensure police received permission from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners for undercover deployments lasting more than a year.

Officers using pseudonyms would also require permission under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

She said: "We are determined to ensure we do constantly look at seeing whether any changes are needed to further enhance the oversight and the procedures under which undercover operations take place."

David Cameron said: "These are absolutely dreadful allegations and we can only think of the Lawrence family, who have suffered so much already from the loss of their son. To hear that, potentially, the police that were meant to be helping them were actually undermining them - that's horrific."

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence