Fuss time about Grange once again: an opportunity for us to correct something we'd assumed about it. It appears that Grange are telling us the full truth when they state that the McCanns are not suspects in this investigation.
Why is that the case?
It runs like this. First, no minister, prime minister or any other member of the government can order the investigation of anybody, despite the wonderful powers allotted to UK governments by assorted McCann sceptics. That's just the law and it protects us all against the assorted lunatics and bastards - always excepting the wonderful Mr Rees-Mogg - who govern on our behalf.
But, as we all know, it can, via the Home Office, authorise an "investigative review" in certain cases. The McCanns asked for one and the government, after consultation with the Portuguese, granted it. In this case Mr Bennett, to give that awful character his due, is correct although, as always, his reasoning and his inferences are wrong: the remit and therefore the legal status of an "investigative review" matters very much indeed.
There is no provision in such a remit for naming any targets, for "clearing" them or for making them suspects: it is purely what it says, a review of investigations that have already taken place, despite the fact that a second, so-called "investigative" phase of the Grange review was initiated in 2013. There was never any question of the McCanns or other named individuals being targeted for investigation - it would still have been illegal: only when prima facie evidence of an offence is publicly available can an investigation of individuals be ordered via the prosecution service (not the government) and there was no such evidence in 2013.
So, the Yard officers were being perfectly truthful in 2012 in stating that they were not suspects in any way in the review. That remains the case today.
But what about evidence emerging in the course of the "investigative phase" of the review from 2013 onwards? Could that affect the couple? It is not a question that anyone is willing to answer or discuss or even pose publicly; not the police, not the McCanns, not the lawyers. It does not suit any of them to do so. In that sense it is exactly analogous to the hole left in Operation Grange's history by the refusal of the same three parties to discuss the implications of Redwood's new timeline and the apparent identification of the person seen by Jane Tanner: it does not suit any of them to do so.
Given the extremely muddy words of the Yard's description of their 2013 investigative phase - i.e. not giving any defensible legal definition of it - it appears that Grange, in order to proceed with one at all, agreed to exclude the McCanns as suspects from that as well.
No, said the Bureau wearily, that wasn't a cunning plan to protect guilty people, no, equally wearily, the Yard wasn't ordered to. They were obeying the law and putting the review above legal challenge, as somebody should perhaps tell Mr Sutton.
The parents aren't and never have been suspects or "persons of interest" in Grange. They never will be. The PJ, who have their own laws, have, as we know, adopted exactly the same position. After Grange ends such undertakings have no meaning, of course: it does not lie within the powers of any of the above parties to exclude evidence garnered lawfully and within the terms of the remit during Grange from consideration by the Ministry of Justice in Portugal or the CPS over here.
Everything remains on target.