Leon Brittan is quizzed over teen rape claim: Ex-Home Secretary accused of attacking student in his flat
- Former Home Secretary questioned by police over claims he raped student
- Assault alleged to have taken place at Brittan’s central London flat in 1967
- Brittan – who would have been in his late 20s – said to strongly deny claim
- Scotland Yard confirmed man in his 70s was ‘interviewed under caution’
- It comes as a Labour peer is investigated over ‘sex attacks on children’
Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan has been questioned by police over claims he raped a 19-year-old student.
The assault, which he is said to strongly deny, is alleged to have taken place at his Central London flat in 1967 following a blind date.
Brittan was in his late 20s at the time of the alleged incident.
Police said last night that the woman originally made a complaint in late 2012.
It is being investigated by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.
Scotland Yard confirmed that a man in his 70s was ‘interviewed under caution by appointment at a Central London location in connection with the allegation. He was not arrested. Inquiries continue.’
It is understood Lord Brittan, now 74, was questioned last month at the offices of his lawyers, Mishcon de Reya.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that the woman initially contacted high-profile Labour MP Tom Watson, who has made allegations of widespread child abuse in Parliament.
It is believed the detectives who questioned the veteran Conservative politician – he was made a life peer in 2000 – are part of Scotland Yard’s Operation Fairbank inquiry team which was launched after Mr Watson’s claims.
Apparently believing the investigation was not moving quickly enough, the alleged victim, now aged 66, contacted Mr Watson a second time – and it was soon afterwards that Lord Brittan was formally interviewed.
Mishcon de Reya did not respond to requests to comment last night. Lord Brittan was also unavailable for comment.
However, a prominent Westminster journalist has revealed that the peer insisted as long ago as the 1980s when he was Home Secretary that allegations against him of sexual misconduct were untrue.
Chris Moncrieff, former political editor of the Press Association, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I was at a drinks reception attended by Leon Brittan at the height of frenzied rumours about him when one of his officials called me to one side.
‘The official said, “The Home Secretary wishes to speak to you in private.”
‘I was led into a side room where Leon Brittan said to me, “You do know all these stories about me are totally untrue, don’t you?”
‘He didn’t discuss any details but he said he was certain he would be vindicated.’ Lord Brittan’s rise to power was impressive.
The former barrister contested the constituency of North Kensington twice before becoming an MP in 1974 for Cleveland and Whitby, and then switched his constituency to Richmond in Yorkshire in 1983.
When he was promoted to become Treasury Chief Secretary, he was the youngest member of the Cabinet.
Later, as Home Secretary, he was the youngest in that job since Sir Winston Churchill. He quit the Cabinet in 1986 over the Westland helicopter affair.
Four years ago, he was appointed trade adviser to the Government after David Cameron said he had ‘unrivalled experience’.
Labour peer accused of 12 attacks on boys
A Labour peer is being investigated by police after 12 men made allegations of historical child abuse against him, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Sources close to the investigation last night said that the ‘horrific’ allegations include rape and serious sexual assault.
It is understood the alleged abuse took place over several decades. The Mail on Sunday has chosen not to name the peer being investigated.
A police spokesman said last night: ‘A number of individuals have come forward and made complaints to the investigation.
‘We are thoroughly investigating their allegations and providing them with professional support.’
It is understood that a file containing the accusations has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. Police also last night confirmed the peer has not been arrested or questioned about the allegations. They refused to comment on the age of the victims when the abuse took place.
A source close to the investigation said: ‘These are some of the most horrific child abuse allegations you can imagine.’
Another source said: ‘The sexual abuse that the peer has been accused of is extremely worrying.
The allegations are harrowing and must have affected the vulnerable boys significantly in later life.
‘It is becoming clear there is a problem with historic sex abuse in Parliament and the police have to be allowed access to all the information needed to investigate these allegations. It is beginning to look like Westminster is above the law. It is important that these allegations are investigated thoroughly.’
The investigation into the peer comes in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and shocking revelations concerning Cyril Smith, the disgraced Liberal Democrat MP, and Labour links to the Paedophile Information Exchange group, which wanted to legalise sex with children.
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