Operation Midland: Henriques Report

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 13th December 2016.

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Photo of Gerald Howarth Gerald Howarth Conservative, Aldershot 2:30 pm, 13th December 2016

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered Operation Midland and the Henriques report.

I am very grateful to you, Mr Streeter, for chairing this debate today, and to hon. Members from all parties in the House who have come to take part in this important debate.

One of the founding purposes of our Parliament, which was established 751 years ago, was for the redress of grievances. So let me say from the outset that where people—particularly the young and the vulnerable—have been abused by others, however high the alleged perpetrator is, they are not above the law. That was an assertion of the late and great Lord Denning, which is not in dispute. What is in dispute, and the subject of this debate, is the manner in which a number of police forces have chosen to operate and the rules under which they have operated.

Today I make no apologies for seeking to highlight what I and many others consider to be a major miscarriage of justice by the Metropolitan police and indeed by other police forces across the land. I intend to concentrate my remarks on Operation Midland, which involved the pursuit of unfounded claims that sexual offences were committed by the former Home Secretary, the late Lord Brittan; the former Chief of the Defence Staff and distinguished Normandy veteran, Field Marshal The Lord Bramall; and my long-standing friend, Harvey Proctor. Mr Proctor was also accused of murdering three children. I served in this House with both Leon Brittan and Harvey Proctor, and I have met the Field Marshal and his late wife, Lady Bramall, a number of times.

Other well-known people, such as Sir Cliff Richard, Paul Gambaccini and even the late Prime Minister, our former colleague Sir Edward Heath, have also been caught up in this scandal of police failure and mismanagement. However, such is the weight of evidence against—