Questions over Watson peerage following abuse report’s dismissal of his claims

Pressure is mounting on the House of Lords Appointments Commission to deny a peerage to Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson after an inquiry dismissed his claims about a Westminster paedophile ring.

Mr Watson has reportedly been nominated for a peerage by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn but the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) led to calls for that to be blocked.

Downing Street said it was an independent process but the commission should consider “the most up to date” information when making its decision.

Operation Midland
Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor said Tom Watson should be denied a peerage (Danny Lawson/PA)

Police Minister Kit Malthouse said people had been “upset and maligned inappropriately” but it was for others to decide “whether there should be any sanction for that”.

The IICSA report found no evidence of a coordinated paedophile ring in Westminster, following claims by fantasist Carl Beech of its existence, which were referenced in the Commons by Mr Watson in 2012.

The launch of the Met’s Operation Midland in 2014 saw dawn raids on the homes of the late Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and former MP Harvey Proctor following a series of allegations by Beech which were later discredited.

Mr Proctor said: “Tom Watson shamefully hoodwinked the country for years to advance his own personal and political position.”

He added: “Mr Watson should not be ennobled.”

A Number 10 spokesman said: “It’s not a matter for us but I’m sure the House of Lords Appointments Commission will be considering all the most up to date and relevant information.”

Mr Malthouse told LBC Radio: “There is a process of the House of Lords now that is independent that will have a look at whether he should or he shouldn’t, as it would with all nominees.

“I don’t really want to interfere with that.

“Obviously this child abuse inquiry has been a real eye opener for the whole society to some of the things that have gone on in the past, and which we have to make sure don’t happen again in the future.

“Some people in that process have obviously been damaged and hurt, and upset and maligned inappropriately, and it’s for others to decide whether there should be any sanction for that.”

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