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Harvey Proctor accuses Yard of Operation Midland 'PR cover-up'

Published 05/11/2016

Harvey Proctor has described the US election day timing of the publication as 'completely outrageous'.
Harvey Proctor has described the US election day timing of the publication as 'completely outrageous'.

Scotland Yard has been accused of a "PR cover-up" as it plans to publish findings from a report into its doomed historic sex abuse probe on the day of the US election.

Former MP Harvey Proctor, who was investigated as part of Operation Midland and was cleared of being part of a Westminster paedophile ring, described the timing as "completely outrageous".

The former Conservative politician received a letter inviting him to see the material before publication on Tuesday November 8, followed by a meeting with Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

"It was like a diktat. It was like a carpeting by a headmaster to his naughty pupil," Mr Proctor told the Press Association.

He said it was not convenient for him to attend the meeting on Tuesday as he would be doing part-time work and had a medical appointment.

"So I cannot meet Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe without sacrificing some money which I can't do without as a result of what they did. And then Sir Bernard has the temerity to summons me to London to meet him with no alternative dates," he said, adding: "They have chosen this date deliberately as a PR campaign, as part of their PR campaign to cover up the disaster that was Operation Midland."

Operation Midland, Scotland Yard's probe into the claims by the lone complainant known as "Nick", closed in March without a single arrest, but Mr Proctor, former Army chief Lord Bramall and late Tory peer Lord Brittan were publicly named in connection with the investigation.

Detectives also looked at claims that three victims were murdered.

The investigation was abandoned amid widespread criticism and calls for Sir Bernard to resign.

Scotland Yard has apologised to Lord Bramall, whose wife died before his name was cleared, and the widow of Lord Brittan, who died in 2015 not knowing his name had been cleared, for aspects of its handling of the case.

Mr Proctor is calling on Scotland Yard to delay the publication of Sir Richard Henriques's report by one week so that he can meet Sir Bernard on a "mutually agreeable date" between November 9 and November 15.

"I'm telling you when they're proposing to publish it, and I'm appealing through the Press Association to the police to delay the date one week," he said.

Mr Proctor added: "Knowing how disastrous this investigation was, the Metropolitan Police Service have been pursuing a PR campaign to cover up the horrors that was Operation Midland. And it is not surprising that here, almost at the death, with the Henriques report, true to form, they continue their PR cover-up and announce that they're going to bring out their report on obviously a very busy press day. Completely outrageous."

Mr Proctor said the letter he received from Scotland Yard on Friday said: "Our intention is to publish material from the report on Tuesday the 8th of November. We will be publishing the key findings that Sir Richard has made together with his recommendations and material relating to Operation Midland.

"We will also be making a public statement. The Commissioner would welcome the opportunity to discuss the report with you on Tuesday. We have noted your wish to have sight of material from the report in advance of that meeting.

"With this in mind we would like to invite you to attend a central London location to be confirmed at 12.30 for the purpose of reading the material that we will be publishing and our statement before meeting the Commissioner at 1.30 at the same location."

Mr Proctor said Sir Bernard should take responsibility "for this PR disaster which is looming and resign immediately".

Asked if he thinks he will get closure from the findings of the report, he said: "None whatsoever."

Scotland Yard said: "The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) received Sir Richard Henriques' finalised report on the afternoon of Monday, 31 October.

"The MPS made clear when Sir Richard was commissioned to look at the issues that key findings and recommendations from his independent review would be published but that the full review would remain private as it would contain confidential and sensitive information.

"We are giving the report very thorough consideration to ensure that the publication of any material does not compromise any legal process, responsibilities or duties of care to any party.

"It is right that those most directly affected are able to have sight of appropriate parts of the report prior to publication, and courteous to give sufficient notice. The earliest opportunity to publish is Tuesday, 8 November."

Press Association

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