Tom Watson said that he was 'genuinely very sorry' for his role in the fake claims about a VIP paedophile ring saying he felt for “the people that have had injustices done to them”.
The deputy Labour leader was accused of 'portraying himself as the victim' for his role in encouraging police to investigate false claims made by fantasist Carl Beech , then known as Nick, of a Westminster paedophile ring.
In 2014, Watson met Beech and encouraged him to go to detectives about his bogus allegations of murder and child sexual abuse against prominent public figures including former MPs, ministers, and senior military officers before Operation Midland inquiry was launched in November 2014.
Mr Watson took a keen interest in an allegation of rape against Lord Brittan, the former home secretary, which was investigated in a parallel Scotland Yard inquiry called Operation Vincente, which were solely based on Carl Beech’s claims.
Beech was jailed for 18 years in July after he was found to be lying and was convicted for perverting the course of justice and other offences in July.
Victims of Scotland Yard’s botched inquiry have now called on Labour’s deputy leader to resign after a report by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques, published last week, found Mr Watson had pressured detectives to investigate the claims leaving officers in a 'state of panic'.
Sir Richard’s report said “there can be no doubt that Tom Watson believed Nick” and that his interest “created further pressure on Metropolitan Police officers”.
It found that Mr Watson had personally influenced Operation Midland and Operation Vincente, a separate investigation into a rape allegation against Lord Brittan.
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Speaking on Channel 4 News last night, Mr Watson said that he was not a trained investigator.
"I try to remain calm in the face of a sort of media storm right now about it.
“In the early days of these inquiries it was very difficult to deal with the many hundreds of these investigations. I had to put systems in place ... on how you share information with the police,” he said.
“I understood I could not get too close to the people making the allegations, I am not properly trained, I am not an investigator.”
Mr Watson, 52, said that he hates to see people in pain and feels very deeply for the people that have had injustices done to them as a result of the failed police inquiries.
"I understand why they're angry and I understand why some of their anger is targeted at me.'
Mr Watson claimed he did not want anyone to 'feel sorry' for him because of the backlash.
“I did my best, and that's all you can do in life," he said.
“So I'm genuinely very, very sorry and I just say I genuinely was trying to do the right thing.' But last night Mr Watson's apology was rejected by a relative of one of those falsely accused of abuse.
Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, 72, who was falsely accused by Beech of murdering children, condemned Mr Watson’s words as “self-serving publicity”.
“I found it very hurtful and it added insult to injury,” Mr Proctor told the Times.
“It does not strike me as an apology in any way.”
Mr Proctor, 72, was jailed for his false allegations of murder and child sexual abuse against prominent public figures.
Writing in a commentary in the Telegraph, Mr Proctor claimed that, having overseen Surrey Police's 'mishandled inquiry' into Jimmy Savile, the Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse 'sought to use Beech’s claims as a form of redemption by sanctioning a campaign for victims to come forward, promising they would be “believed and supported”.'
'This was at the heart of the decision to describe these absurd allegations as “credible and true”, a phrase which was deeply prejudicial to police enquiries and so damning of alleged abusers such as me,' he wrote.
Daniel Janner QC, son of Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, who was also among those accused of child abuse by Nick, said: 'Tom Watson's synthetic attempt to portray himself as the victim when he trashed good men's reputations for his blatant political advantage will cut no ice. If he had genuine decency he would resign for the suffering he has caused.'
Mr Watson said last week that the Henriques report contained “multiple inaccuracies regarding myself”. He denied that he had had undue influence over police inquiries.