The Government has again played fast and loose with our security - and this time it's John Reid who's to blame. I'm not saying that he was responsible for the escape of the two terror suspects who are sibject to control orders, but he has been at the very least economical with the truth. David Davis has raised the subject as a Point of Order in the Commons this afternoon.
"You will have read in the newspapers that two terrorist suspects restrained under Control Orders have absconded, one some months ago. You will remember, Mr Speaker, that the Control Order legislation was only passed, after the longest ever sitting of the House of Lords, when the Home Secretary gave an undertaking to report back on the operation and effectiveness of the legislation. Accordingly statements are made to the House on a quarterly basis. When an Act of Parliament is passed on the basis of such undertakings, and when it effects matters as important as the liberty and safety of our citizens, it is incumbent on the government to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. On September 11th, the statement from the Minister for Security said, "There are fifteen control orders currently in force, six of which are in respect of British nationals." It then outlined details of applications to modify those orders. No mention of a breach of the orders. No mention of an escapee. No mention of the risk to the public. This statement may be true, Mr Speaker, but it is not the whole truth. I am sure that the Home Secretary would not wish it to be thought that he had in any way misled the House, and would seek to correct any misunderstanding immediately. Has he indicated to you, Mr Speaker that he intends to come to the House to correct this statement, and explain why this information was withheld? If not, what can you do, both as guardian of the public record and protector of the rights of this House, to put this right; to allow us, the Members of this House, to protect both the liberty and safety of our citizens?"
What an appalling state of affairs. John Reid makes great play of talking tough and helping people feel secure. This has blown that strategy to pieces.