Ellison Review — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 6th March 2014.

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Photo of Lord Reid of Cardowan Lord Reid of Cardowan Labour 5:30 pm, 6th March 2014

My Lords, I think that anyone who speaks today following the Statement repeated by the Minister will do so with a great sense of humility. It takes nothing away from the laudable actions of the Home Secretary or Mark Ellison to say that this would not have been achieved without the courage and endurance of my noble friend Lady Lawrence and her family over a period of 21 years. It is difficult to imagine the frustration that she must have felt during that period, knowing that she was right and finding it so difficult to tackle the bureaucracies, and indeed the criminal justice system, over that period.

The Deputy Commissioner of the Met has just said that he was shocked, saddened and troubled by the conclusions that were put out today. So he should be. That description applies to everyone in this country who wants to see a police force that is trusted and who recognises that the vast majority of the people in the police force are committed, with integrity, to defending the people of this country. He is right to be shocked, saddened and troubled because this inquiry asked three important sets of questions: about individual corruption in the initial investigation, about the withholding of relevant material and evidence from the Macpherson inquiry, and then wider questions related to that. Those questions were troubling and the answers are even more so. I suspect, even from my brief scanning of the report, that this is not the end but only the beginning of a process of a review, a public inquiry, criminal investigations and then wider aspects. It may well be that with her persistence and endurance, my noble friend has achieved something today not only for her own family but for this country as a whole.

It is natural that most of the report will relate centrally to the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence, but there are two paragraphs that cast the issue a little wider. Perhaps I will ask a question about the case of Daniel Morgan as well. There is another family seeking the truth—in their case regarding a man who was axed through the head in a pub car park in London. There has apparently been continual obfuscation in that case as well.

It has been suggested that the allegedly corrupt policeman in the case of the initial Lawrence inquiry is in some way connected to the Daniel Morgan murder, and it is hoped that the panel looking at that will note this. Will the Minister go a little further and assure us that any information concerning the allegedly corrupt detective which has been discovered during this inquiry will fully and proactively be made available to those investigating the case of Daniel Morgan? We do not want to see another 20 years pass before another apparent miscarriage of justice is remedied.