UK behind police inquiry on McCanns
A BRITISH policing agency advised Portuguese detectives to consider the possibility that Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance.
But last night the agency claimed that such a briefing was "common practice".
The comments came after it emerged in a Lisbon court that the British National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) recommended police investigate the parents.
The surprising revelation was made by lawyers for former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral, who is fighting to overturn a ban on his book about the case.
Last night an NPIA spokesman said: "In disappearance cases it is common for the NPIA to advise investigating officers to consider the possibility of the involvement of family and close friends.
"This is good practice for investigating such cases.''
Mr McCann has issued a fresh appeal to the Portuguese public for information about Madeleine's disappearance, a spokeswoman for the McCanns said.
Madeleine's parents will have to wait until next week to find out if Mr Amaral has succeeded in overturning the book ban after the court hearing ended without a decision on Wednesday.
The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, were in Lisbon to continue their battle to stop the former senior detective repeating claims that Madeleine is dead.
Mr Amaral was the first head of the police investigation into the girl's disappearance from Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.
In July 2008 he published a book, 'Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie', which alleges that Madeleine actually died in her family's holiday flat and that her parents faked her abduction.
The McCanns say their main motive for challenging the former policeman is the fear that people will stop looking for Madeleine if they think she is dead.
The McCanns are also seeking €1.2m in compensation for defamation in separate civil proceedings against Mr Amaral.