Home Secretary Priti Patel has been issued with a fresh deadline to publish the 1,200-page report on the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan.
Crossbench peer Baroness O’Loan, who chairs the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, asked the Home Office to guarantee the report will be published by June 16 to enable Mr Morgan’s family to finally receive answers after 34 years.
Lady O’Loan also said a 10-day security review by five senior members of the Metropolitan Police has taken place after Ms Patel’s ministerial colleagues insisted the Home Secretary has a duty to consider human rights and national security issues before publication.
Ms Patel has insisted it is “right” she reads the report before it is published, although MPs and peers have been told she has yet to receive it.
Mr Morgan, a private investigator, was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10 1987.
Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lady O’Loan said: “The panel has worked very closely with the Home Office, including the permanent secretary, as to arrangements for publication, that until May 10 the panel had understood that it was most likely the panel report would be published either on May 17 or yesterday, and that the Home Secretary would have prior sight of the report, as normal.
“There was no suggestion that the Home Secretary would seek to redact the panel’s independent report.
“Is the minister aware of the process adopted by the panel to ensure compliance with its legal obligations – obligations which derive from its terms of reference, and the requirements when a report is to be published in Parliament, which included getting consent from all document holders for publication of their material, an anonymisation process, sending of fairness letters to all individuals and organisations criticised in the report, a 10-day security review by five senior members of the Metropolitan Police, and a full legal review of the 1,200-page report by the panel’s independent solicitors and Queen’s Counsel to ensure that there are no outstanding concerns?”
Lady O’Loan said the panel “awaits confirmation” from the Home Office about arrangements to ensure the security of the report prior to its publication in Parliament.
She added: “Can the minister give the House an assurance that publication will occur by June 16 to enable the family of Daniel Morgan, who have been waiting 34 years and three months for answers, finally to see this report?”
Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford replied: “We are as keen as she to see that report published in Parliament.
“I want to echo her words about the family who have had to wait 34 years for some of the answers that they seek and that must be an incredibly painful process for them.”
Lady Williams said the Home Secretary “needs to see the report” before it can be published in Parliament, adding: “I completely respect the fact that legal specialists have looked at the report, but the Home Secretary is under an obligation to assure herself of those facts as well before the report is published.”