Tom Watson
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has been asked to appear before the Home Affairs Committee Reuters

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and the Metropolitan Police have been asked to give evidence before the influential Home Affairs Committee after the force dropped a sexual case against the late Leon Brittan. The group of MPs, led by Labour's Keith Vaz, revealed it will hold a session on 21 October.

"The committee firmly believes that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which the home secretary has established under the chairmanship of Judge Lowell Goddard, is the most appropriate channel for these very important matters to be examined," Vaz said.

"Our evidence session is therefore intended as a continuation of the regular series of very helpful regular updates which the committee received from the Metropolitan Police in the last Parliament and to hear evidence on a particular case.

"The committee fully appreciates that ongoing operational activities are a matter for the police and these areas will not be discussed during the session."

The organisation explained that a representative from the Met will give an update "currently in the public domain" concerning Brittan and said it wanted to quiz Watson "to clarify a number of points concerning his involvement in these matters".

Apology refusal

The development comes after Watson refused to apologise for raising rape allegations in a letter to the director of public prosecutions. Police then questioned Brittan, who served under Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher in numerous ministerial roles, but decided not to charge the 75-year-old.

David Cameron even intervened on 12 October and urged Watson to apologise over his involvement. "He has got a lot of questions to answer and the House of Commons select committees are quite rightly going to ask him some questions," the prime minister told Heart Radio.

But Watson, who was elected Labour's deputy leader on 12 September, refused to apologise. "When anyone is accused of multiple sexual crimes – by numerous, completely unrelated sources – the police have a duty to investigate no matter who it is," the West Bromwich East MP said.

"My letter was prompted by Jane's concern that procedures weren't followed – it's not for me to judge the validity of these claims, but I believe I was right to demand that guidelines were adhered to. I also believe that very many victims in this country have been too terrified to speak out for too long." However, in another instance, the top Labour politician did admit he was wrong to described Brittan as "close to evil".

Watson and the Met had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.