If Sir Edward Heath were still alive today, I would be his local MP. His famous former home, Arundells, lies in the very heart of my Salisbury constituency.
So I was as appalled as anyone else at the manner in which the inquiry into sex abuse allegations against him began in 2015.So says John Glen MP.
But over the past year, my anger at that ill-judged approach has given way to greater concerns.Concerns that are greater than the issues of a man's name being traduced after his death?
I have watched with increasing disquiet as the inquiry has been subjected to repeated attacks seemingly designed to discredit it before it even sees the light of day. And the man who took the difficult decision to launch it, Mike Veale, has been pilloried, his competence and professionalism questioned.Well, yes. Are you saying they should be beyond question?
If there are victims of historic child sex abuse in this case, they deserve to be heard and have their allegations properly investigated.Maybe establish if a crime has indeed been committed before starting anything?
Sadly, critics of Operation Conifer have casually conflated it with previous discredited inquiries, as if one set of unfounded allegations automatically disproves others in perpetuity.Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus...?
This inquiry was never going to ‘prove’ Sir Edward’s guilt one way or the other. Only a court of law can do that and obviously the former PM can no longer face trial.Then what's the point? At least medieval witch hunts required a live witch!
But Operation Conifer may at least shed some light on whether he should have done.To what end? That never seems to be answered. Any more than the question of how it can ever be proven, to the required degree, after so long has passed.
NB: Apologies to commenters - this post was published early on Sunday morning in error!