A leading journalist with The Sun says the Metropolitan Police must re-examine the way it handles sex abuse trials to avoid embarrassment in the future, as the fallout from Operation Midland continues.
Andy Silvester spoke to talkRADIO after it emerged that a man named 'Nick', an alleged fantasist whose claims of a Westminster sex abuse ring sparked the Midland investigation, will himself stand trial accused of paedophilia.
Nick went to police in 2014 claiming he'd been raped and tortured by a 'VIP' paedophile ring which included the former Prime Minister Edward Heath, home secretary Lord Brittan, army chief Lord Bramall and Tory MP Harvey Proctor. The allegations triggered an 18-month investigation, and police raided a number of properties including that of Lady Brittan, even though her husband was already dead.
Midland closed in March 2016 without a single arrest, and a report published in September 2016 found that police had been duped by "false allegations." The Met Police has paid compensation to Bramall and Lady Brittan for raiding their properties, while Proctor, who lost his home and job as a result of the allegations, announced last September that he was going to sue the force.
Silvester said the inquiry was conducted in a "febrile atmosphere" in light of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal, and amounted to the "biggest bungled investigation in the Met's history".
In light of these failings, Silvester said, police must look again at how they approache such cases to avoid any repeat.
'Stuck in a fudge'
Silvester also accused Theresa May of allowing herself to be mired in a Brexit "fudge" as the Prime Minister's most senior advisers meet to discuss Brexit policy.
TMay's Brexit 'war cabinet' is due to convene today (Wednesday) to thrash out a solution to the customs union question.
Silvester said that, while May has provided repeated assurances that Britain will be out of the customs union after Brexit, it's time to "finally make that definitive statement and get on with it.
"We need to spell out to Brussels what we want and go from there. Perhaps we're so used to taking orders from Brussels that we no longer know how to ask!"