10:30 - 12 April 2008

An MP is calling for an investigation into how police interviews given by the parents of Madeleine McCann were leaked to a journalist.

Stephen Dorrell, MP for Charnwood, which covers the McCanns' home in Rothley, said he wanted the British Government to urge Portuguese counterparts to look into the case.

Details of what Gerry and Kate McCann told detectives investigating the disappearance of their daughter have been extensively published after they were leaked to a Spanish TV journalist, Nacho Abad.
They revealed the three-year-old asked her mother 'Why didn't you come when we were crying last night?' just hours before her abduction.

The McCanns have claimed the interview had been leaked as part of a smear campaign against them.

The Charnwood MP said the matter should be taken up by the British Government.

He said: "I think this is an official investigation of the Portuguese Government and this is a very sensitive case. I think clearly these are official records that have been leaked.

"It's an issue that should be taken up with the Portuguese authorities by the Foreign Office.

"I intend to take it to the Foreign Office myself."

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, yesterday also said the leak should be investigated but not by Portuguese police.

He said: "We decided this had to go above the police for investigation and that's why I called for the justice minister to open an investigation."

The team of Portuguese detectives, who have been in Leicestershire this week, flew home after sitting in on fresh interviews with some of the McCann's friends.

Mr Mitchell said he believed the Portuguese detective leading the case, Paulo Rebelo, had flown back a day earlier than planned.

He said: "You could take the view that because of what has happened overnight, Mr Rebelo has gone back to crack some skulls."

However, his claim was dismissed by a Leicestershire Police spokeswoman, who confirmed detectives had flown back yesterday morning.

She said their flight had been booked before they arrived in the UK on Monday.

The McCann's spokesman said the leaking of Gerry and Kate's interviews had potentially damaged the chances of the couple taking part in a police re-enactment back in Portugal.

He said: "Discussions are still ongoing between Kate and Gerry's lawyers and the police over whether they and their friends will return to Portugal to take part in the re-enactment.

"Suffice to say, the leaking of their witness statements has gone a long way towards affecting Gerry and Kate's attitude."