7 October 2019



Operation Midland Report: Iain Duncan Smith raises concerns about public figures influencing police operations

Speaking in a debate on the Home Office’s response to Sir Richard Henriques’s independent report on the Metropolitan police’s Operation Midland, Iain Duncan Smith raises concerns about public figures influencing police operations.

Mr Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)

I agree completely with my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis): the shining jewel of our criminal justice system is that somebody is innocent until proven guilty. That is their protection against the might of Government and, of course, the might of the media when they reach a speedy judgment. It has always been a concern that the processes we are discussing have casually turned that aside and that, as far as the public have been concerned, people have been guilty until proven innocent. I hope my hon. Friend will address that. Sir Richard makes that very clear.

The other vital point, which no one has raised yet, relates to interventions by public figures trying to get the police to pursue matters further. I refer in this particular case to the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Tom Watson)—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Rosie Winterton)

Order. I presume that the right hon. Gentleman has informed the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Tom Watson) that he intends to raise this matter in the House.

Mr Duncan Smith

I am not making any further reference to him other than that he was raised in the report—

Madam Deputy Speaker

I advise the right hon. Gentleman that it is important that a Member is given notice if they are going to be referred to, so I am sure he will bear that in mind in his closing comments.

Mr Duncan Smith

I will. I was simply referencing Sir Richard’s report. My point is a general one. Will the Minister address the reality of the police finding themselves unnecessarily influenced by public figures as to the direction of their investigations? There needs to be some method by which they can resist that.