Saturday, January 20, 2007

Police Complain of 'Political Interference' in Honours Inquiry

In contrast to the inappropriate comments by Tessa Jowell and the hysterical rantings of David Blunkett on the police behaviour in the Cash for Peerages inquiry, Ken Livingstone has been uncharacteristically statesmanlike. He has said that however uncomfortable it may be for the Labour Party, the Police have to do what is best to maximise the evidence. He said he had absolutely no intention of intervening to tell the Police how to do their job.

Meanwhile, senior officers in the inquiry have said that political interference in their work is putting their officers under undue pressure.

Strong stuff indeed. I wish I was doing the paper review tonight!

UPDATE: The following is a personal statement from Len Duvall, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority regarding comments made in connection with the cash for honours inquiry:

'Throughout this investigation the police have, quite properly,
refused to comment except to confirm that, as in any other criminal inquiry,
they are following where the evidence leads. It seems to me that it is
inadvisable for others to comment, openly or behind the scenes, on the merits of
individual lines of inquiry until such time as the full picture can be revealed.
Those who have spoken out over the past 24 hours about the way in which police
are conducting this inquiry may well wish to reflect on what they have said.
'What is clear is that allegations of perverting the course of justice raise
very serious concerns. It is also clear that no one in this country is above the
law. 'As chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority I must be seen never to seek
to manipulate or pressurise senior officers in the Met on any operational
inquiry. Others would do well to follow my example.'

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

The MPs and government spokespeople criticizing the arrest are quite literally placing this country on the road to dictatorship. They are entirely ignorant of the separation of powers and quite unfit to hold high office. They clearly think that (and David Blunkett confirmed this on Radio 4 this morning) MPs are in charge of the police and can direct them. The only remaining act is for Blair to sack the Commissioner and order the arrest of all opposition politicians. Don't be surprised if this happens. We are in the middle of a crisis.

Anonymous said...

Experience tells us that Teflon Tone can get out of anything. But this is looking pretty brutal. The Putnam manoeuvre was a catastrophe - never mind the arrest, it's the way the police did it. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

I expect most Labour members outside the current inner circle will be as disgusted by the corruption of the present regime as us right wingers are.

My local MP is certainly looking forward to a new leader...

Anonymous said...

If David Blunkett behaves like this in public when he is (one trusts forever) "far" removed from power one can just imagine how he attempted to interfere when he was in office.

Little wonder then that Ian Blair thought it prudent to tape calls and have someone else present at meetings with DB.

AJC

IanP said...

If the police EVER want to be seen as public servants again, and restore public faith in their abilities to apply the law fairly, Sir Ian Blair, the ACPO and all the Police forces MUST be seen not to bow to any political pressure, give unequivocal support to AC Yates, and to complete this investigation and bring the perps to book, WHOEVER they are.
Blair's new Laws are not just for the 'peasants' in NuLabs new world order, but need to be applied to all.

ash said...

Can you please put the old Doughty St. website back??? I much preferred it. The new one is really basic and all the blogs - centreright.com etc. are separate from the site so it is difficult to keep track of.

Please do something, the new site is terrible!!!!

verity said...

Someone apparently familiar with the working of the police, over on Guido's, said the unexpected early a.m. arrest was not just so she didn't get a chance to destroy any evidence, but it is a destabilising manoeuvre. Excellent!

Anonymous 3:13 - I have felt that placing the country on the road to dictatorship has been on Blair's agenda all along. If he had dared, he would have abolished elections by now.

Marquee Mark said...

senior officers in the inquiry have said that political interference in their work is putting their officers under undue pressure

Not surprising - with Blunkett getting in on the act, they are probably afraid of being machine-gunned...

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I think it was Commissioner Stevens, not Commissioner Blair, who refused to meet David Blunkett unless a third person was present. In his autobiography Stevens gave full particulars of Blunkett's bullying and dishonesty. No writ followed.

Anonymous said...

I nearly fell out of my pit on hearing Livingstone this morning. He's clearly on something. Love the way he takes credit by getting foreign investment into London. The proper Lord Mayor of London has been doing that for decades.

jafo said...

Agree with all the above. However, might have been nice (and indeed good journalism) had the BBC person asked David Puttnam if he expected the Police to arrest people by appointment when it was convenient!

Did Lord Puttnam, perhaps, expect this new etiquette to be extended to drug dealers in unsalubrious parts of London? Or is it just for Labour insiders.....

mark williams said...

Political interference in arrests is par for the course with Tessa Jowell. See what Italian prosecutors found when they tried to arrest her estramged husband last year:

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,,1720470,00.html

Anonymous said...

Don't get carried away. This is an elected dicatorship remember.Yates and co will either be stitched up or bought off.

If Bliar ever appears in court over this business I'll eat my hat.

bt said...

"...is putting their officers under pressure."
Good oh.
There's nothing like a pissed-off copper challenged with "Don't you know who I am?" for getting to the bottom of things. Tends to bring out the bloody-mindedness in 'em.

You'd think that NuLab could have come up with better rent-a-gobs than Tessa "Mortgage? What mortgage?" Jowell and David "Machine-gun the prisoners!" Blunkett. As for David 'Anglia TV shares' Putnam, the less said the better. Interesting (and probably significant) that no-one of any credibility was willing to open their mouths, just them and Tone.

Great too, that the police aren't leaking like a sieve, it adds to the fun and anticipation.

Frankly, I haven't had as much fun while fully dressed for years.

Anonymous said...

No Iain and thrice again I say no. Ken (never earnt a ) Livingstone gets no credit . For King Ken , a state`sman is a sort of feudal position which he has happily occupied since his five minutes of vaguely gainful employment. He hates the Labour Party and especially the parliamentary party. He could not function in it and is , like most London activitsts , Old labour .

Are you aware of the bitterness between these groups . You should see the press locally here .No he is as usual paying of malicious old style grudge and sprinkling alittle sanctimony on the unwholesome schauedenfreude.

I `m suprised you are taken in

Kronos said...

Err what's that Livingston says... something vaguely sensible.... I need new glasses

Graeme Archer said...

It's worth adding to the chorus: David Blunkett was almost literally unbelievable on Today this morning. It was an astonishing public performance from a man at the heart of New Labour and who was Home Secretary. As anonymous/AJC said, your mind boggles at the thought of what he was doing when he WAS Home Secretary. He told us in black and white that Labour party officials - and presumably a fortiori ministers - should be treated differently and with greater circumspection by the police! I'd never have thought to see this day.

Iain Dale said...

Ash, re 18 DS website. This is only temporary. The new site should be launched on Monday. It is a week late because the website builders let us down badly.

nadders said...

Interesting headlines are now appearing on news sites around the world, based upon a google news review.

The vast majority are associating Blair with fraud or graft. This will be a real worry for him in relation to his future career as unlike Kate Moss or Jade, damaged reputations stay damaged.

Here's a good thought though - Family Blair in the next CBB replacing Jade's mob - that would be interesting

realist said...

Blair and his cronies, are finally coming to realise, that, after spending their whole lives with their snouts in the trough, the time is rapidly approaching for them to be turned into bacon.

Sabretache said...

In October last year, when Maurice Scott, 64 year old Master of the Devon & Somerset Stag Hounds and pillar of the Exmoor farming community was held in police cells for 2.5 hours prior to being charged under the Hunting Act for an offence, allegedly committed 6 months earlier and for which the police had previously declined to prosecute, these same NuLab politicians were very quick to defend the police actions.

How different when when they themselves are - much more justifiably - on the receiving end of the excercise of police powers. Oh poetic justice! - it goes some way to restoring my faith in them (the police that is - NuLab are TOTALLY beyond the pale)

Laurence Boyce said...

All the same, there does seem to be something a touch pedestrian about the manner in which the Police are going about the investigation. It's like they're determined to play it by the book.

Arresting people at dawn is frankly unnecessary. Clearly nobody is going to do a runner, or refuse to cooperate with the Police. For that in itself would make for an even greater scandal.

Anonymous said...

Interesting headlines are now appearing on news sites around the world, based upon a google news review.

Google is still showing an interesting #1 link for the word "liar" :-)

Anonymous said...

Newmania said...
No Iain and thrice again I say no. Ken (never earnt a ) Livingstone gets no credit...I `m suprised you are taken in (newmania


I would think Iain's no more taken in by Livingstone than he is by you, newmania. How's your Quixotic bid for London Mayor going these days? Perhaps Livingstone's not the only one holding a 'malicious old style grudge and sprinkling a little sanctimony on the unwholesome schauedenfreude'?

Anonymous said...

Turner was arrested early am for the usual reasons. I'm quite sure detectives had studied her movements and that she is an "early commuter" who routinely "works very late" - so as the man from the Police Federation pointed out, it would have been either at her place at 6.30 in the morning or at Downing Street. Personally my preference would have been for the latter, but as usual the police showed both intelligence and discretion. One feels sorry for the poor bloody police troops having to deal with this load of loud-mouthed shysters and bent little crooks. Probably they would find a load of knocked-off gear round at Numbers 10 and 11 if they do get round to raiding them.

bt said...

"It is also clear that no one in this country is above the law."

Do you think that's a thinly veiled message to one person in particular?

Yes! Yes! Go for it, lads!
Nail the little creep and we'll see you're all right in the next pay review - plus free beer for life.

Anonymous said...

Makes a change from Police trying to negotiate with govt in the newspapers and getting highly political when it suits them I suppose ...

Ken was statesmanlike. He said he should keep schtum. On which point what was it The Standard were trying to keep quiet on that tape from Ken's failed nemesis and now Standard OB?

(There was a gap on the tape, which wasn't noticed much if at all by anyone - apart from Ken and the Judge)

Anonymous said...

Realist : Snouts in Trough remedy is here. Give them a roasting! Though that post was about more cash for MPs in general and Lib Dem liggers ...

Anonymous said...

Tessa Jowell should perhaps consider being more careful in her public pronouncements on policing matters, given that it seems a near-certainty she will one day be seeing officers of the law re: her incredibly corrupt decisions on casinos, TV licenses, hubbie's bank accounts, etc, etc. Can we propose Iain that when your lot get in they ensure the DPP considers Ms Jowell with some considerable energy and takes a good, long hard look at her? Thanks.

Signed. The people of Britain.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Update: Some of those who have spoken "may wish to reflect on what they have said." What a splendid, magisterial put down for people like Blunkett and Puttnam, whom Bertie Wooster would have described as "bogus oiks".

I do so agree with bt [5.57] This is the most fun you can have with your boots on.

Paul said...

Worth pointing out that, should the proverbial hit the fan and ko both Blair and Brown, Livingstone, who as Mayor of the Capital has what is the "traditional" pre prime minister or president post in many European countries, is utterly untainted by "new" Labour and would therefore be very well equipped to emerge as a dark horse leadership candidate in a leadership election in a shellshocked party...could we see 1981 all over again...

verity said...

Laurence Boyce says, rather grandly: "Arresting people at dawn is frankly unnecessary."

You're wrong, frankly.

It is a police technique to destabilise the suspect and make him feel weak and vulnerable. The phrase is "exploiting the shock of capture", as was explained over on Croydonian. The police use this technique intentionally and decided to employ it in this case.

Anonymous said...

chris p - I do hope you aren't suggesting that we EAT our New Labour politicians, are you ?

They're tough, have no muscle and are thoroughly unpalatable...

De Elite Crew said...

De men in de huge pointy hats are ploddin their way to a result!

Just imagine the paranoia in de Powell household for de next few weeks each time de milkman opens de gate!

These top Blair people can no longer talk to each other or to Blair on this matter cos they don't know what's been said or might be said to Mr Plod by their colleagues. A bit of early mornin angst is a good way of shakin out de truth.

As for de venerable Blunkett - I's don't seem to remember dat he complained when de police raided a house in de mornin, shot one of the occupants and den found diddly squat. But it's a good sign dat he's got indignant cos it shows dat de NuLab lot don't like it up dem! They's really worried man.

Anonymous said...

Will "Political Interference" come within the crimes that the Government want to be dealt with by way being issued with a £60 pound ticket and no criminal record !
Thus saving both the Court's and Police time on this matter !

Anonymous said...

Mr Appleyard - being TV-free can you enlighten me on 'Puttnam manoeuvre a catastrophe'.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Duvall is a *Labour* London Assembly

Anonymous said...

Verity - the UK a democracy? Sorry I must have blinked!! Excuse my cynicism but half of Parliament is composed of retired old farts, people who have done "honourable" service to one party or another but not the country, people the Blairs have holidayed with, or people Tone used to flat shared with. There are some good life peers usually on the cross-benches but they're not elected either. Where's the elected upper chamber Jack Straw? Being jerry-built by secret committee that's where.

And then there is the House of Commons. Last time I voted my ballot paper was endorsed in accordance with the law thereby removing any secrecy. This very practice was declared unconstitutional by the Irish Supreme Court. The Commons itself isn't representative. And so on.

Beyond this, there is the gerrymandering of the electoral system (eg lists for the European elections which give the party HQs all the power, and keep out dangerous thinkers), and the general levels of sleaze which our "pretty straight sort of guy" Tone "pledged" to clean up. So really I think we don't live in a democracy, more a crumbling banana republic with a leader who has bent or broken any rule that stood in his path and he has even tried to up stage the Queen by pretending to be president.

The sooner the paddy wagon calls for him the better. But I can't see it happening sadly. And no doubt after he's gone the constitutional rot will continue.

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance of putting Puttnam's email address on this site and others so we can tell him what we think of his attempted gerrymandering of due process by bullying the police.

Anonymous said...

puttnamd@parliament.uk

Anonymous said...

Anon 7.14-Quixotic ? What can you mean ?



"In short, our "newmania" became so caught up in reading that he spent his nights reading from dusk till dawn, and his days reading from sunrise to sunset; and so with too little sleep and too much reading his brains dried up, causing him to lose his mind. His fantasy filled with everything he had read in his books, …….impossible foolishness, and he became so convinced in his imagination of the truth of all the countless grandiloquent and false inventions he read, that for him no history in the world was truer. ……..The truth is that when his mind was completely gone, he had the strangest thought any lunatic in the world ever had, which was that it seemed reasonable and necessary to him, both for the sake of his honor and as a service to the nation, to become a "Mayor" and travel the world with his armor and horse to seek adventures and engage in everything he had read that “mayors” engaged in, righting all manner of wrongs."

Anyway I can`t chat I`ve got reading to do.....

No 10 'scheming' said...

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,1995327,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=11
Police go to war over No 10 honours arrest

"Sir Chris Fox, the former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers who remains close to Scotland Yard, accused political critics of 'scheming to discredit a very important inquiry'. "

Anonymous said...

sabretache 6.39
That was a salutary reminder - many thanks.

laurence boyce 7pm
"Arresting people at dawn is frankly unnecessary"

But the police had to be sure that their suspect would
a) be arrestable - she travels early to work
b) not be in a position to destroy further evidence or hide herself behind a barrage of No.10 Spads.

Her feelings in the matter are irrelevant. She is a prime suspect.