Lord Brittan would have had no case to answer under Scotland Yard’s collapsed investigation into VIP paedophile allegations, his widow has been told by police.
The late former home secretary had been named in connection with the hugely controversial Operation Midland, which was closed by the Metropolitan Police earlier this week.
On Wednesday Lady Brittan said the force still had “many outstanding questions to answer” over the investigation, which saw high profile raids on the homes of a number of public figures but not one arrest.
Scotland Yard has defended the probe, with Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse insisting the £1.8million, 16-month inquiry was “handled well”.
In a statement, Lady Brittan said: “On 21st March I received a letter from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) confirming that my late husband and companion of 35 years – LeonBrittan – would have had no case to answer with regard to allegations made against him and subsequently investigated by Operation Midland.
“This comes after the failure by the MPS to inform my late husband that he had no case to answer with regard to an earlier allegation, even though the MPS had already established this before Leon died.”
Earlier this year, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe apologised to Lady Brittanin person for not informing her earlier that her husband would not have faced prosecution over a separate allegation that he raped a 19-year-old woman in 1967.
In the statement, Lady Brittan spoke of her sadness that the former politician died in January last year with the allegations hanging over him.
“We are pleased that the rest of the world now knows for sure what I, my family and Leon’s friends have always known – that he was a dedicated public servant, a devoted family man – and innocent,” she said.
“We would like to thank the many hundreds of his friends and colleagues who have supported us during this most difficult two years. It is just sad for us that he is not alive to see his good name restored and that he died with these allegations hanging over him.”
She said she understood that the force “had a duty to investigate these allegations”, but added: “I believe that the MPS and its leadership have many outstanding questions to answer with regard to the conduct and strategic direction of Midland and indeed the earlier investigation.”
Lady Brittan said she hoped the independent, judge-led inquiry launched by Scotland Yard into its handling of sexual allegations against public figures “will be full, frank and open to the public”.
The family want answers over how names of the figures under investigation became public, why facts that were “easy to establish” were not dealt with quickly and why the inquiries took so long.
The homes of Lord Brittan, D-Day veteran Lord Bramall and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor were all raided under Operation Midland, and late former Prime Minister Edward Heath was also named in connection with the probe.
Lady Brittan urged the House of Commons to consider examining the use of parliamentary privilege in such cases.
Her husband was named in Parliament by Labour MP Jim Hood in connection with abuse claims, while fellow politician Simon Danczuk told a select committee that Lord Brittanwas handed a dossier on a Westminster paedophile ring. Parliamentary privilege protected both men from being sued.
Lady Brittan said: “It was extremely painful for me and my family to witness Leon’s good name dragged into the public domain and I feel that using parliamentary privilege to publicise opinions that are not based on fact is a serious abuse of public office.”
Brittan, who died in 2015 after a long battle with cancer, was linked to allegations of paedophilia and an establishment cover-up. The Jewish politician was a key figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government before becoming a European Commissioner.