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Tom Watson ‘must hang head in shame’ for whipping up panic over fake Westminster VIP paedophile ring, says Janner

Wrongly accused Tory MP joins calls for scrutiny: ‘It’s time for the torchlight to take a closer look at Mr Watson’

Adam Forrest
Friday 26 July 2019 19:48 BST
Carl Beech fed police extraordinary tale of VIP paedophile ring

The son of the late Labour peer Lord Janner has called on Tom Watson to step down as deputy leader of the party, accusing him of “whipping up a moral panic” over the false allegations of sexual abuse made against his father.

Daniel Janner QC claimed Labour’s deputy leader was “primarily responsible” for creating a furore around the “extremely hurtful” accusations.

He was speaking outside Newcastle Crown Court ahead of the sentencing of Carl Beech, who falsely accused a string of high-profile figures – including Greville Janner – of being part of a Westminster paedophile ring.

“Tom Watson is primarily responsible for whipping up a moral panic,” said Mr Janner. “So he should hang his head in shame, and he should resign.

“For him to take the moral high ground in the Labour Party against antisemitism is completely hypocritical.”

Mr Watson has been criticised for meeting in 2014 with Beech, known at that time as “Nick”, to discuss the false allegations, two years after speaking out in parliament about the potential existence of a high-profile paedophile ring.

The former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, another to be named by Beech in his made-up stories, said that Mr Watson “gave oxygen” to the fantasist’s claims, saying: “The Metropolitan Police were lapdogs to Mr Watson’s crude dog whistle.

“It’s time for the torchlight to take a closer look at Mr Watson.”

Carl Beech is interviewed by police (PA)

In a statement issued after Beech was convicted of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud, Mr Watson said: “I met the man I knew as ‘Nick’ once, on 8 July 2014, two years after I had raised my question in parliament.

“During that meeting, Nick said very little and did not name any of his alleged abusers.

“I reassured Nick that the police had made clear that all allegations of historic sex abuse would be taken seriously and treated sensitively.

“That is what the police had asked me to do, and it was the process I followed with all those who claimed to be survivors of historic child sex abuse.”

Lord Janner served as a Labour MP in Leicester between 1970 and 1997. He died in December 2015 after a period of suffering from dementia, at a time when Beech’s allegations were still under investigation.

Tom Watson claimed he met Beech to offer him reassurance on behalf of the police (Getty)

His family has always maintained his innocence, with Mr Janner saying on Friday: “We were looking after a man who had dementia and was weeks from death when these allegations came out.

“It was an extremely hurtful and very sad period in our lives, but we’re moving on.”

He also criticised the Metropolitan Police, who investigated Beech’s claims, after a senior detective at one stage described them as “credible and true”.

Additional reporting by PA

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