A criminal case against Lord Carey would be an attack on us all, conservative Church of England figures have said. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 10 signatories including the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, suggested that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was being targeted for his involvement in the Bishop Peter Ball case because of “what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity”. The letter, also signed by Simon Rufus Isaacs, Marquess of Reading, who is a friend of Prince Charles, former bishop of Woolwich Colin Buchanan, and campaigner Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, says that similar high-profile cases have not resulted in prosecutions for misconduct in public office.On Monday this newspaper reported that police and prosecutors were considering a criminal investigation following the publication of the Gibb report last year, which found that Lord Carey, 82, was among senior figures who had “colluded” with convicted sex offender Ball. The letter says that investigations into child sexual abuse “have investigated hundreds of cases of suspected misconduct in public office and have yet to bring a case to trial.”It adds: “No one has been charged with any offence in relation to the misdemeanours of Jimmy Savile. “The cases against Lord Bramall, Leon Brittan, Edward Heath and Cliff Richard were all dropped. “Why is Lord Carey being targeted at this time? Certain public leaders appear to be being attacked by insinuation without due process.”The notion that a criminal case could be brought against Lord Carey is so bizarre that we can only surmise that the object of the persistent pressure that brings these public attacks is not only Lord Carey but what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity. “An attack on him is an attack on us all.” The religious figures highlighted the case of Jimmy Savile, pointing out that no one has been charged with an offence in relation to his misdemeanours The Gibb report, published last June, found that Lord Carey did not pass on six letters alleging abuse by Ball to police and failed to add his name to a list of clergy who were considered unsuitable to exercise ministry. In a letter to Ball’s brother Bishop Michael Ball following Peter Ball’s police caution for for gross indecency, Carey said he believed Ball was “basically innocent”, the report added. Following the Gibb report Lord Carey apologised to Ball’s victims and said he “believed Peter Ball’s protestations and gave too little credence to the vulnerable young men and boys behind these allegations”. He later resigned his role as an honorary assistant bishop in Oxford following intervention from current Archbishop Justin Welby. In a Christmas letter to friends he said the Archbishop had insisted that he stand down and that his decision was “unjust and eventually will be judged as such.”A spokesman for the Archbishop responded that the “independent inquiry into Peter Ball’s case was quite strong in its recommendations.”Officers working on the potential investigation into Lord Carey are co-ordinated by Operation Hydrant. On Monday a Hydrant spokeswoman said: “The matters under consideration are complex, and advice is currently being sought from CPS to understand whether anything contained within the Report suggests criminal offences have been committed. “This does not equate to a criminal investigation being underway.”CLARIFICATION: This article originally referred to Metropolitan Police officers being attached to Operation Hydrant. Operation Hydrant is in fact a national policing Operation providing operational co-ordination in matters of non-recent child sexual abuse and has no investigative function. It is separate and distinct from the Metropolitan Police and other UK territorial police forces.