The son of the late Labour peer Lord Janner has said Tom Watson should “hang his head in shame” for “whipping up a moral panic” around the false allegations a Westminster paedophile accuser made against his father.
Daniel Janner QC said that the Labour deputy leader was “primarily responsible” for creating a furore around the “extremely hurtful” claims.
He was speaking outside Newcastle Crown Court ahead of today’s sentencing of Carl Beech, who wrongly accused a string of high-profile figures – including Janner’s father the late Labour MP Greville Janner – of being part of a paedophile ring comprised of high-profile figures.
Watson has been criticised for meeting in 2014 with Beech, known publicly at that time as “Nick”, to discuss the false allegations, two years after speaking out in Parliament about the potential existence of a high-profile paedophile ring.
The former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, another to be named by Beech in his made-up stories, said Watson “gave oxygen” to the fantasist’s claims, saying: “The Metropolitan Police were lapdogs to Mr Watson’s crude dog whistle. It’s time for the torchlight to take a closer look at Mr Watson.”
Janner said: “Tom Watson is primarily responsible for whipping up a moral panic. So he should hang his head in shame, and he should resign. For him to take the moral high ground in the Labour Party against anti-Semitism is completely hypocritical.”
In a statement issued after Beech was convicted of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud on Monday, Watson said: “I met the man I knew as ‘Nick’ once, on 8 July 2014, two years after I had raised my question in Parliament.
“During that meeting Nick said very little and did not name any of his alleged abusers.
“I reassured Nick that the police had made clear that all allegations of historic sex abuse would be taken seriously and treated sensitively.
“That is what the police had asked me to do, and it was the process I followed with all those who claimed to be survivors of historic child sex abuse.”
Lord Janner served as a Labour MP in Leicester between 1970 and 1997, and chaired the Select Committee on Employment at one stage.
He died in December 2015 after a period of suffering from dementia, at a time whenBeech‘s allegations were still under investigation.
His family has always maintained his innocence. His son said: “We were looking after a man who had dementia and was weeks from death when these allegations came out.
“It was an extremely hurtful and very sad period in our lives, but we’re moving on.”
Janner also criticised the Met, who investigated Beech‘s claims, after a senior detective at one stage described them as “credible and true”.
“Highly damaging, highly hurtful, but Tom Watson should go,” Janner said.
Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire