Met’s ‘Operation Fairbank’ makes arrest after Exaro disproves claim of indecent assault
By Mark Conrad | 17 October 2013
A 38-year-old man of Uxbridge in west London, was arrested by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
The arrest came after the detectives spent some weeks investigating his allegation against the minister without portfolio under ‘Operation Fairbank’, which is “scoping” a wide variety of claims against several senior political figures of sexual abuse against children.
The allegation was that, while the man was acting as a 15-year-old boy for a television expose, Clarke was secretly filmed indecently assaulting him. Clarke was accused of touching up the “boy”.
A former senior Conservative figure suggested to Exaro that it may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Exaro has established that, two months after that report, police arrested Clarke’s accuser at Charing Cross police station in central London. The man went to the station, expecting to provide a witness statement about an unrelated issue.
He was met by a detective chief inspector, and promptly arrested. He was taken to Belgravia police station in west London for questioning. He has not been charged.
The Met said in a statement: “We can confirm that a 38-year-old man was arrested at a central London police station on Thursday, August 8 on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. He has been bailed until a date in November.”
Detectives also carried out a raid on his home in Uxbridge, and are understood to have taken away computer equipment.
The false accusation against Clarke follows the case of mistaken identity that led Lord McAlpine, former Conservative treasurer, to be wrongly accused of sexually abusing a child in care at Bryn Estyn, a children’s home in Wales.
The accusation against Clarke stemmed from 1994, when ITV’s The Cook Report carried out undercover filming as part of an investigation into Ian Greer Associates, the defunct lobbying company.
Clarke was chancellor in John Major’s government at the time of the alleged incident. He was justice secretary in the coalition government until September last year, since when he has been a minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office.
Exaro revealed last week that the same police unit has opened two new lines of enquiry in their investigation of a separate, former Conservative cabinet minister over historical allegations of child sex abuse.
Last month, Exaro exposed a series of documents that revealed a shocking catalogue of child abuse over many years at a special school where Sir Cyril Smith, the late former Liberal MP, was a governor.