Home Secretary Priti Patel attends Christchurch Summit

Daniel Morgan’s murder: Priti Patel must not block family’s search for answers

Or #JusticeforDaniel

In a different time this week’s Fiskal Policy may have been about the UK’s score at Eurovision or how streaming issues meant the world was given a free link to the virtual Glastonbury.

But this isn’t a different time. This is a time when the family of murdered private detective Daniel Morgan was supposed to have finally been able to read the report by an independent panel, which was set up in 2013 to look into their loved one’s death.

Daniel Morgan News Shopper screenshot
Back in 2013 I reported on the news that the then Home Secretary Theresa May had announced an independent review into Daniel Morgan’s murder (Image is a screenshot from the News Shopper website)
Alastair Morgan and his partner Kirsteen Knight talk to Hardeep Matharu and Peter Jukes at Byline Times about Home Secretary Priti Patel’s intervention in the publication of an independent report into the death of Daniel Morgan

As those of you who read Fiskal Policy episode six will know Daniel’s brother Alastair has almost given up on seeing justice in the case.

But with the independent panel’s report he is at least hoping for some answers:

Answers about the circumstances of Daniel Morgan’s murder, its background and the handling of the case since 1987.

Answers about what Daniel Morgan knew about alleged corruption within the Met Police and if that was the reason why he was killed.

The independent panel was set up by the then Home Secretary Theresa May in May 2013.

Last year’s Murder in the Car Park docu-drama tells the story of Daniel Morgan’s murder through interviews with key people and dramatic reconstruction. Picture courtesy of Channel 4
Alastair Morgan talks to James O’Brien on LBC radio as publication of a report into his brother Daniel’s murder is delayed by the Home Office

But in May 2021 the now Home Secretary Priti Patel seems to be doing her darndest to stop the truth from coming out.

She says it is standard practice for the Home Secretary to receive reports of this nature and read them before laying them in Parliament.

This may well be the case but it is what Priti Patel seems to want to do before the report is published that is so worrying and so sinister.

The BBC reports the Government has now said no publication date will be agreed until Home Office lawyers have decided whether to redact parts of the document “for national security and duties under the Human Rights Act”.

This is despite the fact that the panel has fully complied with all aspects of these during their eight years of gathering evidence – as the panel explained in a statement last Tuesday (May 18).

Home Secretary Priti Patel attends Christchurch Summit
Home Secretary Priti Patel claims she does not want to edit the report by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (“Home Secretary Priti Patel attends Christchurch Summit”  by Simon Dawson/ No 10 Downing Street is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
This is how Channel 4 News covered the news that the publication of the report is being delayed by the Home Secretary

In response a Home Office spokesperson said: “Under the terms it was commissioned in 2013, it is for the Home Secretary to publish the report which she hopes to do as soon as possible.

“The Home Secretary also has an obligation to make sure the report complies with human rights and national security considerations.

“This has nothing to do with the independence of the report and the Home Office is not seeking to make edits to it.

“As soon as we receive the report, we can begin those checks and agree a publication date. The Home Secretary fully supports the family first approach and is hoping to meet them to discuss the report and its findings in person.”

But questions are being asked as to what reasons could Priti Patel have for wanting to suppress this report.

Daniel Morgan was believed to have had information about corruption in the Metropolitan Police. (Picture from last year’s docu-drama Murder in the Car Park courtesy of Channel 4)
Police investigations have failed to convict anyone for Daniel Morgan’s murder (Picture from last year’s docu-drama Murder in the Car Park courtesy of Channel 4)

I would have asked Alastair Morgan for his thoughts on these questions but I decided not to speak to him directly.

This isn’t because I didn’t want to (and in all my years of reporting on this issue it is the first time I haven’t spoken to him about a development in the case) but because at times like this the priority has to be for Alastair to speak to media where his voice can be heard loud and clear – not just by readers but also by decision makers in the Home Office.

And, although as I said last week I’m extremely grateful to every one of you for reading Fiskal Policy, I doubt anyone responsible for making decisions at the Home Office is an avid reader.

In a statement Daniel Morgan’s family said: “This unwarranted and very belated interference by the Home Secretary amounts to a kick in the teeth for us.

“We have been living through the torture of waiting to see the Panel’s report over the last several years, months, and weeks.”

They go on to say that the Home Secretary’s actions ‘serve only to betray and undermine the very purpose of the Panel’ and display a ‘disturbing disregard for the public interest’.

Golden Lion Sydenham by Kake - taken in 2016
Daniel Morgan was left with an axe embedded in his skull in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham in March 1987 (This picture was taken in 2016 – “Golden Lion, Sydenham, London SE26” by Kake. is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Theresa May
Establishing an independent panel to look into Daniel Morgan’s death is arguably the best thing Theresa May did while she was Home Secretary (“Theresa May” by EU2017EE is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

And showing just how furious the Morgan family is at the actions of the Home Secretary, the murdered private detective’s son has broken his public silence of over three decades to write a piece for The Guardian.

In the piece the man, who is also called Daniel, writes:

“We still have unanswered questions, we still have unspent grief, 34 years after the murder of my father, Daniel Morgan. And anger. At this moment in time it’s a living nightmare.

“. . . And now, at the very last moment, when we thought we might see the end of the road at last, we find that the home secretary has chosen to stand in our way. What are we supposed to make of this?

” . . . My family have endured enough words, suffering, waiting and pain: the only currency left with any value to us is action that brings our torture to an end.”

As I wrote on June 21 last year, Daniel Morgan’s family may never get justice but they at least deserve to get answers.

Stay safe for another week!