Home secretary Priti Patel will not address parliament over a landmark report her department commissioned into police corruption and a notorious unsolved axe murder, The Upsetter can reveal.
The Daniel Morgan Inquiry Panel is ready to report after an eight year probe, which will be highly critical of those running the Metropolitan police since the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987.
Last week the panel informed the Morgan family that Patel would not be making a personal statement to the Commons on its findings.
It is understood the home secretary is only willing to put out a written statement and will therefore avoid any questioning by opposition leaders and MPs.
The panel was ordered in 2013 by Theresa May who as home secretary promised to put the Morgan family at the “centre of the process.”
The report has cost at least £15m to produce and was delayed because of obstruction by the Met in providing sensitive documents.
Patel, however, has no connection to a case which is mired in corruption, incompetence and cover-up by the police and its supposed watchdogs.
Her muted response is seen as a snub to the victim’s family, who were swatted away in their 34-year quest for justice.
The Met only very belatedly accepted that corruption was a “debilitating factor” in the first of five failed murder investigations, the last of which collapsed in 2011 because of corrupt acts by the lead detective and a failure to disclose sensitive police files to the defence.
It is understood Patel will receive the report early this coming week, possibly tomorrow, to prepare a written response for formal publication in parliament on 24 May.
No Likelihood of Justice
The Panel’s report will criticise the five police investigations, which have cost the taxpayer somewhere north of £30m.
When launching the inquiry, Theresa May said in a statement to parliament on 10 May 2013:
“Daniel Morgan, a private investigator, was found murdered in a pub car park in south east London on 10 March 1987. It is one of the country’s most notorious unsolved murder cases. After numerous separate police investigations into the case between 1987 and 2002, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the final attempted prosecution against five suspects in 2011.
The Metropolitan Police (MPS) have indicated that there is no likelihood of any successful prosecutions being brought in the foreseeable future. They have also admitted that police corruption was a ‘debilitating factor’ in the original investigation.
This has led to calls for an inquiry from Mr Morgan’s family, who have waged a long campaign for those responsible for his murder to be brought to justice. I have met with the family and, after further serious consideration with them and their representatives, I am today announcing the creation of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel.
Importantly, the Panel’s work will put Mr Morgan’s family at the centre of the process.”
The panel’s findings are understood to be critical of past Met commissioners, two of whom - John Stevens and Ian Blair - are in the Lords.
Stevens was deputy commissioner and commissioner from 1998 to 2005, during the third and fourth murder inquiries. The 78-year-old is chairman, director and shareholder in several security and forensic companies. Quest and Axion provide “integrity” services and AFA Midco Limited does police training. Stevens is also involved in ensuring integrity in sports.
Blair was deputy to Stevens and commissioner from 2005 to 2008, when he lost the confidence of London mayor Boris Johnson. Considered more cerebral than Stevens, Blair however lacked the respect of many detectives.
He oversaw the third, fourth and part of the fifth murder investigations. On leaving the Met, Blair has taken few paid gigs except occasional training for the Indian police.
Other stars of the Met who could or should face criticism include John Grieve, Roy Clark, David Wood, Chris Jarratt, Andy Hayman, Bob Quick, Shaun Sawyer, John Yates and David Cook, the detective chief superintendent in charge of the botched last investigation.
Many were awarded the Queens Police Medal and have, through private sector roles or directly, a continued association with the Home Office, policing and the intelligence services.
Some are even emissaries of ethical policing taught to foreign police services with questionable human rights records.
The Morgan family has approached Theresa May to spark a Commons debate on police corruption and regulatory failure that Patel, an atavistic law and order home secretary, seems not to want to go anywhere near.
As home secretary from 2010 to 2016, as well as creating a ‘hostile environment’ for immigrants, May tried to reform the police and launched a separate inquiry into corruption concerns that dogged another unsolved southeast London murder - that of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
Following an expose by The Upsetter in March 2012, three months later May launched a barrister-led probe of the Met - an explicit criticism of the watchdog and its earlier attempt to undermine a police whistleblower’s claims of corruption during the original murder inquiry that he said the Met had covered up.
Many of the same senior police figures involved in the Lawrence scandal are also involved in the Morgan case.
When Mark Ellison QC presented to May his report in March 2014, she appeared before parliament to set out its key findings, which were “deeply troubling” and “profoundly shocking”, MPs were told.
May’s long speech was uncomfortable listening for then commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and the powerful Police Federation that represents rank and file officers.
May pledged “a new code of policing ethics”, protection for whistleblowers and a revamping of the discredited police watchdog plus a new offence of police corruption.
“There needs to be a change in culture … In policing, as in other areas, the problems of the past have a danger of infecting the present and can lay traps for the future. Policing stands damaged today. Trust and confidence in the Metropolitan police and in policing more generally are vital and the work I have set out are part of the process of repairing the damage,” she told the House.
May also used her speech to launch a public inquiry into the scandal of undercover police officers who had deceived women into having relationships as a cover for spying on largely left wing protest groups, including family campaigns to expose police abuses and corruption.
The Morgan family hope Theresa May will fill the space Priti Patel intends to vacate in the Commons and speak up from the backbench.
Time will tell.