Operation Midland: Tom Watson refuses to say sorry over abuse claims
Tom Watson says he has no plans to apologise to Harvey Proctor after the former Tory MP accused him of making 'outlandish and false' declarations over the VIP paedophile ring inquiry Operation Midland.
Last month Mr Proctor —who was questioned as part of the investigation —launched a withering attack on Labour's deputy leader, accusing him of making 'self-serving' comments about the Metropolitan Police's probe into claims that several young boys were sexually abused by high-profile Westminster figures.
He demanded Mr Watson, along with fellow Labour MP John Mann and London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, apologise in the Commons.
The West Bromwich East MP told the Commons in October 2012 that he had evidence that there was a 'powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10'.
But he says he 'never once' mentioned Mr Proctor in connection with the investigation.
"When I asked the original question in October 2012 I'd never even heard of Harvey Proctor," Mr Watson told the Express & Star.
"I certainly don't think I owe him an apology. I've not said anything publicly about him. I think he has been factually incorrect.
"I've never named anyone under privilege in my life in the House of Commons. The three objectives I had at the start of the inquiry was for proper investigative journalism, an adequately resourced police inquiry and some kind of public inquiry to look at the allegations.
"He can speak for himself, but I know a lot less than Harvey Proctor about his case."
Mr Proctor, aged 69, was formally cleared after police closed the Operation Midland inquiry last month.
He was one of a number of high profile figures to be drawn into the investigation.
They included Sir Edward Heath, prime minister between 1970 and 1974, former home secretary Lord Brittan, and the then commander in chief of UK land forces, General Lord Bramall. All were cleared.
Meanwhile Mr Watson remains adamant that the Goddard Inquiry - the public inquiry into child sex abuse - will reveal that 'wealthy people were treated differently by institutions of the state'.
"I'm pretty clear they were," he said.
"But we need Goddard to do its work. I'm hoping that will give the public what they want to know what happened in the past.
"I don't know what information the police have or didn't have. I know that I've passed information to the police that's not in the public domain from people who have made allegations. I'd be interested to see what they have done with that.
The ongoing inquiry is examining how public bodies handled their duty of care to protect children from abuse.