FORMER Tory MP Harvey Proctor has branded the police watchdog’s probe into five officers involved in the disastrous investigation into false claims of a VIP Westminster paedophile ring “a whitewash”.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) identified “shortcomings and organisational failings” but found no evidence of misconduct.

A damning review of Operation Midland conducted by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques identified 43 police failings when he was called in after the 16-month probe into the false claims made by fantasist Carl Beech, then known as “Nick”, ended in 2016 without a single arrest.

Beech is serving an 18-year jail term for fabricating a series of claims of rape, torture and murder by innocent, well-known names from the military, security services and politics.

Mr Proctor, who represented Basildon from 1979 to 1983 and Billericay from 1983 to 1987, had his home searched in March 2015 as part of the discredited investigation.

Sir Richard found the warrants to raid his home and others were “obtained unlawfully” and that the district judge who granted them was “misled”.

But the IOPC found no evidence the five officers investigated had deliberately misled the judge.

Mr Proctor said in a statement: “The so-called investigation is simply a whitewash.”

He said the report was a “pathetic attempt to excuse the police for their mistakes, incompetence and negligence by saying they acted in good faith” to maintain public confidence in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

“This report shows the IOPC is worse than useless. It actually defends the police against the authoritative findings of Henriques because they wanted to boost public confidence in themselves,” he said.

“The Home Secretary should remove the IOPC director general and the IOPC must be abolished and replaced by experts who are genuinely qualified to assess and to criticise police failings. We now know the police watchdog is blind,” he added.

His lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson QC, said: “It is a fundamental mistake for the IOPC to think that police are justified in abusing their powers in order to maintain public confidence in themselves.”