Defence Secretary adds to calls for police apology to Lord Bramall
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has added to calls for Lord Bramall to receive a "proper apology" for his treatment during a Metropolitan Police child sex probe.
He said the former armed forces chief had been subject to "maximum pain" as a result of the mishandling of an investigation into claims he was part of a ring of high-profile child abusers.
The allegations against the 92-year-old were dropped due to a lack of evidence, and critics blame the Met for putting the D-Day veteran through the trauma of a nine-month inquiry.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mr Fallon said: "Somebody, somewhere owes Lord Bramall a proper apology for a case that clearly was badly handed... Clearly he was mistreated extremely badly.
"The case itself it seems to have been handled very clumsily to cause maximum pain to the field marshal, and somebody somewhere owes him an apology."
Last week Scotland Yard refused to apologise to Field Marshal Lord Bramall, days after his son, Nicholas Bramall, called for his father's anonymous accuser to be investigated.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph he said the key witness, known as Nick, had been "peddling unsubstantiated and uncorroborated information" that had left father's distinguished reputation "tainted with the stench of abuse".
Earlier this month David Cameron refused to join the chorus of calls for an apology, saying it would be wrong for a prime minister to seek to put pressure on independent police and prosecutors.
During the course of the investigation by the Operation Midland inquiry team, Lord Bramall's home was raided by up to 20 officers while he had breakfast with his terminally-ill wife and his name was widely reported in the media.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said that while much of the ensuing criticism of the police had been misplaced, Lord Bramall now deserved a proper apology for his treatment.
Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, Mr Johnson said: "It is pretty clear that Field Marshal Lord Bramall is owed a full and heartfelt apology."
Journalist Sir Max Hastings, a close friend of the veteran's, has also said Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has a "clear responsibility" to apologise.
However, while Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan expressed her regret at the distress caused by the probe, she insisted police would be put off investigating claims if they had to apologise when inquiries did not end with a suspect being charged.
Operation Midland, a probe into allegations of historic abuse by senior public figures, was launched after claims were made by a man called known as "Nick" who has been granted anonymity.
However the collapse in the case against Lord Bramall has led to questions over the veracity of his claims.
According to an investigation by The Sunday Times the allegations made by Nick bear striking similarities to an account by a male accuser of Jimmy Savile.
The man, known as Stephen, appeared in a 2014 documentary where he described abuse by the BBC star, but did not mention abuse by the other high profile figures that later sparked Operation Midland.