Tom Watson: Deputy Labour Leader did not persuade police to interview Lord Brittan over rape claim, says CPS

The Met only received Mr Watson's letter after they had interviewed the former Conservative Home Secretary

Previously it was thought Mr Watson may have crossed a line in terms of political interference
Previously it was thought Mr Watson may have crossed a line in terms of political interference

A letter by deputy Labour leader Tom Watson to the UK’s top prosecutor did not prompt police to interview Leon Brittan over a historic allegation of rape, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

The letter, in which Mr Watson passed on the alleged victim’s complaint that Lord Brittan had not been spoken to by officers, was only received by the Metropolitan Police after they had interviewed the former Conservative Home Secretary, The Guardian reported.

Lord Brittan died in January unaware that police had decided to drop the case against him and that he had effectively been cleared.

In a statement, the CPS said: “The CPS at no point made any request to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) that they reopen their investigation into Lord Brittan in relation to complaints highlighted by Tom Watson MP.

“Lord Brittan was interviewed by the MPS before the CPS had forwarded the correspondence from Mr Watson.

“As is normal when we receive correspondence relating to operational police matters, the letter from Mr Watson was forwarded by CPS London staff to the relevant officer for their information.

“It is for the police to decide whether or not, or how, they will investigate an allegation that is referred to them. The CPS has no power to direct them and did not seek to do so.”

Mr Watson’s letter was received by the CPS in April last year, but was not forwarded to the police until June, after officers had interviewed Lord Brittan about claims he raped a student in 1967 on 30 May.

Previously it was thought the Labour MP may have crossed a line in terms of political interference with the police by acting on behalf of someone who was not his constituent.

Mr Watson has been called to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee about his role in the affair.

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