Watson apology to Lady Brittan

Tom Watson apologises for repeating allegation that Lord Brittan was as 'close to evil as any human being could get'

But Lord Brittan's brother dismissed it as 'a half way apology' 

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Wednesday 21 October 2015 17:20

Tom Watson has delivered an unreserved apology for repeating an allegation that the former Home Secretary Lord Brittan was "as close to evil as any human being could get".

The deputy Labour leader has come under increasing pressure to say apologise after a Scotland Yard officer wrote to Lord Brittan's widow earlier this month apologising for failing to tell the family before his death in January that he had been cleared of allegations that he raped a 19-year-old woman in 1967.

Mr Watson told Lord Brittan's family that he was "very sorry for the distress caused" and said he was aware that they were "very angry" at his decision to repeat the claims, which were made to him by an alleged victim of child abuse.

However Lord Brittan's brother Sir Samuel Brittan dismissed Mr Watson's words as "a half way apology".

Explaining his decision to say the strongly emotive words, Mr Watson said he wanted to make sure the voices of alleged victims voice were "amplified in the system."

Appearing before the Home Affairs Committee, he said: "I do regret using that phrase. That was not a phrase that I used it was an alleged victim that used that phrase...but I do regret using that emotive language, I shouldn't have done and I'm sincerely sorry for repeating it, it was unnecessary."

He also apologised to Lady Brittan, telling the committee: "I'm very sorry for the distress caused. I'm very sorry for the whole wider family. I know they are very angry and they clearly loved Leon Brittan very much. They are angry on behalf of their family member and I am sorry.

"I felt that peoples' voices were not being heard and I felt responsibility for them."

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