A TORY peer has called for the chief constable of Wiltshire Police to stand down following the “scandalous” and “wasteful” investigation into Edward Heath.

Daniel Finkelstein, writing in The Times earlier this week, poured scorn on Operation Conifer, which commenced in August 2015, and the way in which chief constable Mike Veale has conducted the enquiries into the alleged crimes of former prime minister Ted Heath, who lived in Salisbury.

Lord Finkelstein said: “In the past week, I believe that Wiltshire Police has engaged in a scandalous misuse of its power and authority.”

He added: “The investigation of Heath was naïve and disproportionate. But we all make mistakes. The attempt to win a public relations battle using the moral authority of the police, on the other hand, is a very grave scandal. And for that, Mike Veale should go.”

Lord Finkelstein criticised chief constable Veale for an interview he gave to the Mail on Sunday last weekend in which he complained of a “sinister” and “relentless campaign” “by the establishment” against him.

Lord Finkelstein wrote: “He is a chief constable, for goodness sake. Where does he get off suggesting that he is the victim of the power of others?”

Earlier this year, Mike Veale wrote an open letter to the public to "set the record straight" about the investigation.

"When I took on this investigation I knew it would attract intense scrutiny. I also recognised it could potentially damage confidence in Wiltshire Police," he said.

But, he stressed: "I will not be buckling under pressure to not investigate or to conclude the investigation prematurely."

Mr Veale has also received support from police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson, who called demands that his chief constable be sacked “fundamentally misguided”.

He said: “Mike Veale is an experienced chief constable, leading a force that has been independently assessed as one of the most effective and efficient in the country.”