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Pressure on Priti Patel to call inquiry after 'botched' probe into 'VIP paedophile ring' claims

Priti Patel is under growing pressure to order an inquiry into the ‘Nick’ scandal after a former home secretary branded a watchdog probe as ‘botched’.

Michael Howard was one of six former home secretaries who yesterday signed a joint letter demanding a fresh investigation into Scotland Yard’s shambolic VIP inquiry and the subsequent probe that cleared five detectives.

In the unprecedented intervention, they said confidence in the police has been seriously damaged by the handling of false claims of an Establishment paedophile ring. 

They urged Home Secretary Miss Patel to establish a new independent probe into Operation Midland.

Priti Patel (pictured) is under growing pressure to order an inquiry into the ‘Nick’ scandal after a former home secretary branded a watchdog probe as ‘botched’

The £2.5million police operation was carried out into allegations made by the serial liar Carl Beech, aka ‘Nick’.

The cross-party group of home secretaries included Labour’s Jack Straw and Lord Blunkett. 

Explaining their letter to The Times, Lord Howard said police had ‘misled’ a court to gain search warrants and that the inquiry into Midland by the Independent Office for Police Conduct was ‘botched’ and ‘inadequate’.

Sir Richard Henriques, the retired High Court judge who wrote a scathing report on Midland which identified 43 major blunders, has said the police searches broke the law.

In an open letter to Miss Patel, printed in the Daily Mail last month, he repeated his grave concerns about the case and asked her to answer a series of key questions about it.

Lord Howard told Nick Ferrari on LBC yesterday: ‘We are supporting a call that was made by Sir Richard Henriques who did an inquiry into the conduct of Operation Midland at the request of the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and the former Chief Magistrate of England and Wales. They both say that confidence in the criminal justice system has been damaged. It’s a very serious matter.

Michael Howard (pictured) was one of six former home secretaries who yesterday signed a joint letter demanding a fresh investigation into Scotland Yard’s shambolic VIP inquiry and the subsequent probe that cleared five detectives

‘When a search warrant is issued and the Chief Magistrate issued a search warrant into the homes of Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and Harvey Proctor, the police have to give evidence on oath in support of such an application.

‘Because obviously a search warrant to go into someone’s home is a very serious matter. It’s now clear that the information that was given on oath in support of that application for the search warrant was false and misleading. And the Chief Magistrate says he was misled.’

Asked what Miss Patel should do, Lord Howard said: ‘She should order a fresh investigation into these matters.

‘Sir Richard Henriques has suggested that she should ask another police force, he suggested the Northumbria Police force, to investigate the way in which the relevant officers of the Metropolitan Police conducted the investigation.’

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