Friday, November 28, 2008

Damian Green: 15 Questions Which Need to Be Answered

1. As an Opposition Health and Trade & Industry Spokesman, Robin Cook built his parliamentary reputation as the receiver of leaked government documents. Why is Damian Green's behaviour any different to Robin Cook's?

2. Many journalists - David Hencke and Robert Peston being two examples - have built their journalistic reputations on being receivers of Whitehall leaks. Why is Damian Green's behaviour different to theirs to warrant an arrest?

3. Why are Ministers allowed to leak with impugnity? Why aren't they covered under the same law which was used to countenance Damian Green's arrest?

4. What did Jacqui Smith know and when did she know it?

5. Did she instigate the police investigation? If so, was it motivated by a desire to give a warning to future whistleblowers?

6. Why did the Serjeant at Arms lay lown like a puppy and have her tummy tickled by the Met?

7. Did she consult Mr Speaker before giving permission for the Met to search Damian Green's Commons office?

8. Why was Damian Green kept locked up for nine hours and reportedly only questioned after seven? (as was reported last night).

9. If the job of an Opposition spokesman is not to hold the government to account, then what exactly is it?

10. If Damian Green has been arrested, why haven't the journalists to whom he gave the stories been treated in the same manner?

11. What role did the security services play in this. Have they been monitoring Damian Green?

12. Why is the media not trumpeting the virtues of free speech and the rights of whistle blowers?

13. Why aren't Labour bloggers as outraged by Green's arrest as they would have been over Sarah Tisdall or Clive Ponting? (I will be doing a separate post on this later).

14. Why were counter terror police used to search Green's four home and office premises? He was arrested under a so-called Common Law, not an anti terror law, as I understand it.

15. Have the Police impounded Damian Green's various computers? If so, how is his constituency casework corresponded safeguarded? How can any MPs' constituents now believe that their casework is totally confidential?

70 comments:

OscottLocal said...

iain, i am a Labour (ish) blogger and i have made my feelings known on this matter

Weygand said...

This has been a dreadful Labour own goal.

1.They have made a Tory a hero
2.They have brought back to public attention the failures which he exposed
3.They confirmed once again they cannot be trusted with police powers
4.They have shown that their focus is the interest of the Labour Party not the country. Welcome back Mandelson and Campbell
5. Their incredible denials of involvement (it was the Cabinet Office which brought the police in) remind the public of all the lies we know they have told.
6. They push even those who are unconvinced about the Conservatives that the key point is to get rid of the Labour government.

The original spin that Green was in trouble will soon be overtaken by a far greater reaction against Brown and Labour

Praguetory said...

You are on fire, Iain. Great stuff.

Terry said...

I'm not a Tory but feel very strongly that arresting Damian Green was an affront to our democracy. Let's do something about it.

Go here:
https://secure.met.police.uk/complaints/

And make a specific complaint against Sir Paul Stephenson.

Edit what I wrote as you see fit, below for your convenience.

Please explain what happened:

Arrest of Damian Green MP - Shadow Minister for Immigration.

The acting Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, was clearly a party to this action since he telephoned Boris Johnson prior to the arrest. Despite being advised by Boris Johnson in the clearest terms that this course of action was unwarranted and unwise, Sir Paul Stephenson proceeded.

I am not, and never have been, a member of the Conservative Party. I do, however, believe in the right of our elected representatives to carry out their duties on behalf of their constituents, without police interference and pressure. This action, under an archaic and obscure common law, was a clear and gross abuse of his authority and shows a complete lack of judgement regarding the priorities of the Metropolitan Police and its position in the UK's unwritten constitution.

The Metropolitan Police has been brought into serious disrepute.

Time of incident:
All day

Day:
Thursday

Date:
27/11/08

Where did it happen:
Public record. For example:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/nov/28/conservatives1
or here:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1090154/ANALYSIS-A-chilling-warning-Opposition-MP-planning-expose-Governments-misconduct.html

Which other MPS staff were involved:
Sir Paul Stephenson and at least nine other officers

Rest is simple.

David Boothroyd said...

Despite the Tory frothing at the mouth, is there a single atom of evidence that the Government had any involvement at all in this legitimate police investigation? (Answer: No)

labourboy said...

Presuming you're looking at Labour blogs Iain, I think you'll see most Labour bloggers are distinctly uneasy over the possibility not only of the Government having knowledge of this and allowing it to happen, but also the inappropriate use of anti-terrorism laws by the police.

I think most people are just waiting for the facts to emerge rather than posting constantly on it (like me and you!)

norman said...

DB,

There was no evidence that Campbell sexed up the WMD report, there was no evidence Blair and Brown govt was involved directly in the death of Dr Kelly, there was no evidence that treasury leaked anything to Peston the BBC reporter.... If as you say ministers are not involved, it is not cock up but downright imbeciles calling themselves PM and home secretary and who are running the country and immigration.
Time to day bye to Zanu_Labour and Mugabe Brown. By the way Mugabe denied he knew anything about the torture of the opposition party leader who was elected as the president in Zimbabwe.

Willie said...

One point is the politicisation or "modernising" of the post of Serjeant at Arms.Previously an appointment filled by a retired senior officer from the armed forces, it has now been civilianised. Allegedly the Speaker found it difficult to get on with the last military incumbent. QED.

dalesman said...

Labourboy @ 12.49
"I think most people are just waiting for the facts to emerge rather than posting constantly on it (like me and you!)"

If ZanuLab run true to form we will never get to know the facts.

cherami said...

Apart from the fact that the whole story is appalling, how the hell did anyone think they could get away with it?

This time the Tories have got to hunt the hare to the kill - either, it seems, Jackie Smith or the Speaker or both.

Are there no depths to which Labour will sink? It seems the answer is no.

Mark Senior said...

Nearly all very fair questions Iain but how many would you be asking if the PM were Thatcher or Major .

strapworld said...

It would be perfect if someone out there in blogland could find anything in the past, when the labour lovey BOOTHROYD wrote anything supporting Mr Ponting or any leftie who was in a similar position as Damian Green.

Boothroyd and his ilk are no democrats.

Please make this old geezer happy by finding something to finish off the juvenile and despicable Boothroyd.

++++++

But to answer his question, with a question. IF, as accepted, Sir Paul Stevenson, the acting Commissioner, telephoned Boris Johnstone to inform him and David Cameron. Why didn't he inform the Home Secretary, or the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office (who would have told her)?

It does not stand to reason. So grow up little man. Or I'll have you arrested for wasting our time!

Do not forget, Iain, there is another little nugget in all this...Stevenson is after a certain job! He certainly needs the Home Secretaries support but not necessarily Boris's! Would he NOT telephone her?

Also, for the eyes of future Conservative Ministers:-

They could ask for Mandleson's mortgage loan application investigation to be re-opened!!

Cash for honours to be re-investigated!

Plus the Holy Grail. A Royal Commission into the Iraq War!

Hit them back!

not an economist said...

I am surprised that neither Robinson or Peston are commenting on this yet in their BBC website blogs.

But then again maybe they are delving more deeply into more important matters . e.g., Osbornes' holiday with that Russian tycoon.

T England said...

Spyblog has a list of questions as well!

Willy Wombat said...

FWIW having made a complaint to the Met Police about the arrest I have also e-mailed Damien Gree as folows:-

'Dear Mr Green,

I wish to express my outrage at your recent arrest.

I was especially disgusted to see, on the lunchtime news, police officers taking away copious amounts of documents from your constituency office.

I presume that many of these will be from your constituents and will contain confidential information about all sorts of private matters.

The fact that a branch of the 'state' is going through these makes me fear for all of our hard won liberties.'

Old Holborn said...

Two alternatives:

1) Ministers knew - we live in an authoritarian state,

2) Ministers didn't know - we live in a police state.

African Mum said...

On the Jeremy Vine show, many callers with Northern accents asked for Damian Green to be jailed (yes, you read that right). Many saying the arrest was justified. I noted they were Northern as that is one part of the world where Zanu-Labour's peculiar brand of evil is still popular.

I saw this interesting article: http://www.stopcp.com/cppolice.php

You can also read Frederick Forsythe's 'The Biafra Story' where he gives a chronicled account of how a society (Southern Nigeria) that had more Oxbridge graduates per capita in the world in the 1950s gradually decayed and disintegrated into civil war and barbarism, when elected politicians started to use the police to stifle and eliminate political opposition. Of all the bad things Zanu-Labour has done, this is by far the most serious. A written Constitution with input by everyone may help, as the Constitution has always been a sort of gentleman's agreement, but this country has not been governed by gentlemen since 1997.

Doug said...

Mark Senior - There was plenty of dirt on Labour in opposition but Thatcher and Major didn't use the police to arrest opposition members for political purposes. Therefore there would be no questions to answer in the first place

DANGER said...

I can hardly believe that this arrest has happened. I have hardly been able to concentrate on anything else today (and I don't work in politics). It is just incredible. There is no way that the police can have acted in this way without there having been a serious loss of democratic values within the force. The police need purging and the Home Secretary should resign.

Nigel said...

The only possible motivation for the arrest seems to me to be the need to give the police the power to search Damien Green's premises. In other words a fishing expedition.
The CPS guidance on 'misconduct in public office' is clear:
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/misconduct_in_public_office/
"...Like perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office covers a wide range of conduct. It should always be remembered that it is a very serious, indictable only offence carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A charge of misconduct in public office should be reserved for cases of serious misconduct or deliberate failure to perform a duty which is likely to injure the public interest..."

kenny murphy said...

I find it quite amusing how those arrive at the conclusion that Brown was behind this. Without of course a shred of evidence...

Should it prove to be that he was, or indeed evidence is put forward that suggests he was, then i think Brown has made one huge error.

However, without proof or evidence i'll work on the basis that this was a Police decision.

That though doesn't suit others motivations...

John of Enfield said...

Tony Benn, in an interview on World at One this lunchtime, was incandescent. "This is a Contempt of Parliament". The interviewer was unable to grasp the import of this statement.

Man in a Shed said...

Iain - good post. This is the right way forward. Accepting the lawyers words of denial from the govt is just asking to be lead astray. ( Like the not knowing anything about "the arrest", by they could have authorised the scope of the enquiry and the measures that could be taken - they could even have requested *not* to be informed - which would be as damaging. The Mole at the First Post has a good line on this ).

What is a Labour minister made a "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest" type statement ? After all Henry II knew nothing of "the murder" of Thomas Becket, but himself accepted guilt (more honourable times).

Question 8 is good. I assume the answer is to let the police go through his files - but that suggests that this was a fishing expedition by plod, which has even more implications for parliamentary privileged etc )

One Labour supporter who is not taking this lying down is Tony Benn (who appeared on R4 The World at One) and suggested that the police themselves may have committed an offence of "contempt of Parliament".

PS Can someone put in a FIO on how much Labour campaigning cabinet meetings around the country are costing the tax payer ?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Sorry, have I missed something? Shouldn't there have been a major press conference given by the Tory leadership at midday, expressing outrage over the Damien Green arrest?

Where is Cameron? What has he said? Why aren't the Tories going into overdrive about this?

Why aren't the Conservatives mobilising every civil liberties organisation, academics, journalists etc, etc,. Will no one speak out for liberty?

montahuc said...

The arrest of a democratically elected M.P. is yet a further infringement of our rights.
M.P.'s of all parties should be concerned at the actions of the police in this matter, and they should call for an emergency debate in the House.

This week I was notified of a forthcoming convention, at which by coincidence I see that Iain Dale is one of the many speakers.
I was thinking of going to this before the Damien Green episode arose. I am now convinced of the need to attend a convention where there will be a debate by eminent lawyers and others on the erosion of our civil liberties. A concerted campaign across party lines is vital.

This is the site for the convention:-

http://www.modernliberty.net/

trevorsden said...

I think 'nigel' is right. Green was locked up for 7 hours whilst the police raided his computers.

Terrorist officers were used since presumably some of them have the technical knowledge to do just that.

'Stinks the whole thing does'

Np quarter to Labour surely from now on. Only the most deluded will believe them to be honest or competent.

I can only hope and pray the whole thing gives backbone to some in the Home Office and elsewhere rather than cow them. Just how spineless can civil servants be?

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

And here's another question - why was the far more serious and widespread leaking of the PBR, in flat contravention of the OSA and obviously done by a Cabinet level minister, not followed by the immediate arrest of Alistair DArling and Yvette Cooper? Surely they are guilty of precisely the same offence as Green, for precisely the same reason, on a much larger scale?

Sauce for the gander...

no longer anonymous said...

"is there a single atom of evidence that the Government had any involvement at all in this legitimate police investigation?"

The Home Secretary refuses to deny that she knew about this. She denied involvement or authorisation but not that she actually knew. Care to defend this slippery behaviour?

Dominic Allkins said...

>> Wrinkled Weasel

I'm afraid you're a bit behind the times sir. There was a press conference at 8am this morning, but the Brown Broadcasting Corporation and Rupert's lot over at Sky decided to ignore it.

Hope that answers your question.

Dr Blue said...

I have a feeling that leaks reflect the regard (or lack of it) for ministers that the leakers have. So if the civil servants see this case for what it is the braver ones may as well flood all the dirt on this discredited Zanu-Labour junta into the public domain via journalists, blogs or MPs.

The arrest of Damian Green shows that Labour and its minions care nothing for substance, only that things look OK.

It looks as if embarassing the government is now a terrorist threat to national security.

Unless some serious charge is laid against Green on strong evidence (and no, revealing government incompetence is not a crime)then this case damns Mr Brown and his government.

David Boothroyd said...

Being informed and being consulted are not the same thing at all.

strapworld said...

winkled weasel.

Cameron had a press conference this morning at 8am. It was not covered on the television news.

Cameron did not refer to it directly but in answer to a question.

That, sadly, sums him up. You wrote yesterday that you felt he had no backbone! I told Iain I would give him the benefit of the doubt. This has really made me think again and worry that the Tories have really got the wrong manin charge.

Just look at the way david Davis went on the attack. THAT was a leader at work.

By the way where is Miss Chackrabhati ???? Normally one cannot pull her away from the camera's

strapworld said...

Boothroyd.

being informed and being consulted
are not the same thing!!!

This juvenile gets worse.

It does mean, though, that the individual KNEW

Roger Thornhill said...

People are surprised? I am not. This was going to happen at some stage, it was only a matter of when, not if. Look at our Home Secretary and PM, for crying out loud.

Now do the Tories understand why each MP in the entire house was sent a copy of "1984" by a Libertarian Party campaign less than 4 weeks ago?

The Libertarian Party, AFAICT, got not one peep or acknowledgement from a single Tory MP. Maybe this will make them sit up and listen.

Now do they get it? If an MP is treated this way, just imagine how "little people" have been feeling for ages. We know, yet the Opposition have not really been fighting our corner.

Johnny Norfolk said...

This is why David Davies made his stand. It has gone to far we now have the beginings of a Police State, thanks to Labour. I never thought I would see something like this in Britain.

Why so little in the press and BBC. Have they been warned off ? Are they frightened and intimidated to do anything.

Anoneumouse said...

PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGE AND RELATED MATTERS

Freedom to attend freely

12.06 SO 83 governs this privilege. Traditionally the privilege extends from forty days before until forty days after the session, and it may cover any form of molestation of, or interference with, a member while carrying out parliamentary duties. This privilege covers any form of arrest or detention, except on a criminal charge or for refusing to give security for the peace or for a criminal contempt of court. Notification of any order for the imprisonment or restraint of a member should be given to the House by the court or authority making the order. Such notification is read out in the Chamber.

Rohan said...

There is an obvious explanation for this. The OSA may not apply here. So they need some other offence to pursue the whistleblower. The common law provides the answer- misconduct in a public office. Now from the perspective of the police this is handy because it is an indictable offence (life imprisonment the max sentence). So they can use sections 17/18 PACE to search and seize in association with an arrest. No need to get a search warrant under PACE or the OSA. So they roll up with anti terrorism officers. Why? Simply because these guys are masters at following paper trails etc. and they will root out any evidence. In Green's files no doubt will be evidence of the identity of the mole, the person they are really after. And yes Iain no doubt Green's communications are being intercepted.

It is difficult to see how Green has abused the public trust and is thus guilt of the offence. But there could be evidence for a conspiracy with the mole and that is enough for a reasonable suspicion and thus the arrest. Queue the fishing trip.

This is the law. A law that the Conservatives passed.

And no this is not an affront to democracy. Everyone is under the law in this country. The police should be free to investigate wrong doing, even by MPs. And if the police have overstepped the mark no doubt they will have to answer for it in court. The rule of law applies equally to all.

jane said...

some of us Labour bloggers are indeed outraged and have said so.

norman said...

Rohan:
"...And no this is not an affront to democracy. Everyone is under the law in this country. The police should be free to investigate wrong doing, even by MPs. And if the police have overstepped the mark no doubt they will have to answer for it in court. The rule of law applies equally to all.."

Are you illiterate or educated in a Labour borough sink school?
A posse of anti-terrorist enforcers were used. Not the friendly bobby in Ashford who politely asked Mr Green to come to station for an interview. Mr Geen's treatment reminds Mrs Gandhi's regime in India and Mugabe Regime in Zimbabwe. It is not acceptable here. As Iain said Brown and Cook built their career on leaks. Brown let Peston of BBC get the leaks from the Treasury which resulted in a huge run on bank shaes and thousands may have lost their jobs.Peston the son of a Labour peer was not touched by the police.

Finally,
One word as response to your comment:
CRAP

Nigel said...

David Boothroyd, apparently you are a government lickspittle.

I'm not sure which is more concerning: that the Home Secretary instructed this arrest, or that the police are now so conditioned that they need no instruction to breach Parliamentary privilege in so egregious a manner.

David Boothroyd said...

Nigel, why don't you check the facts before you comment? Try reading this statement by the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office for a start.

Ministers were not involved in the decision to seek police assistance, or in the subsequent investigation, and were only told of the arrest after it had occurred.

Savonarola said...

Stand back for a moment. Look back over the last decade.
1 Do MPs actually play a role in formlating policy and representing constituents?
2 Is the House of Commons the venue for policy announcements of great import?
3 Does PMQ's add to our knowledge or understanding of current topics?
4 Why has 'spin' got out of control?
5 Is Cabinet relevant?
6 Are civil servants becoming politicised?
7 Is The Speaker competent and impartial?
8 What influence do unelected advisers have on the formation of policy and execution thereof?

And so on.

Our body politic is corrupted in every aspect. The Green affair is just another outward sign of inner malaise. This toxic waste was introduced by Blair-Brown and driven by the evil and psychopathetc Campbell aided and abetted by the mendacious cunning of the corrupt Mandelson.

Forget the economy , Iraq war and wretched NHS etc. It is the corruption of our political system that is the great evil inflicted on this nation by NuLab.

norman said...

DB says that he cannot believe Gordo is involved until he is shown evidence of Gordo signing an order to deploy 6 battlefield tanks, a squadron of tornadoes and a dozen marines armed to the teeth, all homing in on Damien's house to pick him up. Even then he needs the documents in triplicate!

An Indian friend of mine who narrated how Mrs Gandhi used her power to muzzle the opposition in India in 1970s branding all of them 'terrorists out to destroy democracy' says that her party members and MPs who were parliamentarians of repute simply turned their heads away when all this was taking place, and when asked to support her they gratefully crawled on the floor!

This govt is a disgrace.

Stephen Rouse said...

I hope your promised piece on Ponting and Tisdall will answer the logical converse of question 13, namely

16. Why is Green now defended by a party which was so keen to prosecute Ponting, relying on a judge's interpretation that "the public interest is whatver the Government of the day says it is?"

Hypocrisy on both sides, it seems to me. I'm reminded of Jim Hacker, once in office, having to bury the petition on open government that he started in opposition

The Wilted Rose said...

This again vindicates David Davis's stance to force a by-election over Labour's assault on civil liberties. Jacqui Smith should resign over this despicable attack upon the freedom of our MPs, and upon our democracy.

Nigel said...

David Boothroyd,
did you not read the second part of my post ?

"...or that the police are now so conditioned that they need no instruction to breach Parliamentary privilege in so egregious a manner."

And if you place any confidence in Home Office statements on this matter, you are indeed a lickspittle.

Stan said...

"The rule of law applies equally to all."

Wrong! The rule of law ASSERTS that the law applies equally to all INCLUDING the state. However - who makes the law?

Whoever makes the law is no longer subject to the law - the law is subject to them.

This was always a problem with parliamentary sovereignty which is why we have Magna Carta, the 1689 Bill of Rights and the British constitution - but this government rides roughshod over the constitution as has all administrations since 1972. I'll let you work out what happened in 1972 to change all that.

Nigel said...

Rohan,
The police relied on a common law offense so ill defined that its replacement was recommended over a decade ago by the Nolan commission, and about whose use the CPS advises extreme caution.
Moreover, it has never before been used against an MP.
Do you really have no problem with that ?

Maverick Muezzin said...

While the whole thing stinks, another question that needs asking is..

Why was he ARRESTED in this manner? (Rather than say just interviewed. And when Parliament wasn't sitting. And using counter-terrorism police.)

It seems so that police would have an excuse to search his office and sieze his computer.

If so this is even more despicable and clearly a political act.

Please can someone provide a realistic alternative explanation because it's not a pleasant thought.

DC said...

Purely with respect to Q14 I don't think too much should be made of the Counter Terror piece. The responsibility for investigating leaks of this sort used to rest with Met Special Branch and prior to the amalgamation would have been reported as such. From the Met website:

"On 2nd October 2006 Special Branch (SO12) and Anti-Terrorist Branch (SO13) were restructured to form the new Counter Terrorism Command (SO15)."

That said the whole thing is totally unjustified and the legislation could presumably be applied to virtually every Government Minister who has leaked something.

Rohan said...

Nigel - Agreed. Its one for Parliament to remove. Or for challenge under Article 7 ECHR. But its good law until then.

Norman - Illiterate? Clearly not. And no I wasn't educated in a sink school, whatever that is. Your points are fallacious. You on the other hand have missed the point of what I was saying, namely this is how the law operates for ordinary people. It seems that for some draconian powers are only ever a problem when they are used on 'people like us'. But if Parliament puts in place sweeping police powers without adequate safeguards then these episodes will inevitably occur. In those circumstances why should politicians have some sort of benefit of clergy? I made the same point to my labour supporting friends during the cash for honours investigation. Frankly I cannot imagine that the next Conservative admin is going to repeal all these laws. It will carry on in the same vein as Labour.

With respect to the anti-terrorist police being used. As I said they are following an information trail and these people have experience in dealing with those sorts of investigation. The bobby on the beat doesn't.

norman said...

There is confusion about who complained and who knew in WhiteHall. Gordo and Smith say they did not know and the Home Office Permanent Secretary who has index-linked gold-plated assured pension (Cameron should look into this pension thing of these paper pushers)says he was merely informed, but assures that ministers did not know. He assumes all of us have only one brain cell each!

So the permanent scretary says " In the name of our supreme leader who will rule us as Old Labour for thousand years, I declare that neither he or the Field Marshalls Jodl Mandelson and Keitel Smith did not know about the arrest of the traitor who was trying to unseat our supreme leader by smearing our propsperous regime with half-truths. We simply allowed a bunch of infidels in to our prosperous country to serve us. What crime was that? We will with determination crush this rebellion with all the means at hand.
Long live our supreme leader. Heil Brown!"

norman said...

Rohan

Yet again your argument is spurious as it compares this incident the cash for honours. That was investigating corruption.

I do not think you grasped what most of us are saying. If Damien is wanted for questioning he could have been telephoned to come to an interview at the Special Branch premises wherever it is. This did not happen. Instead of asking me to read what you said which was not much (hence my observation of sink schools), try to undertsand what we are all trying to say. If you cannot, that is your problem which needs attention.

Chris Paul said...

1. As an Opposition Health and Trade & Industry Spokesman, Robin Cook built his parliamentary reputation as the receiver of leaked government documents. Why is Damian Green's behaviour any different to Robin Cook's?

Have no idea. Do you?

2. Many journalists - David Hencke and Robert Peston being two examples - have built their journalistic reputations on being receivers of Whitehall leaks. Why is Damian Green's behaviour different to theirs to warrant an arrest?

Indeed. But have no idea. What has he actually done Iain?

3. Why are Ministers allowed to leak with impugnity? Why aren't they covered under the same law which was used to countenance Damian Green's arrest?

Minister's leaking is briefing. To an extent the govt of the day decides what should be in the PD and what should not. FOI requests can cause further into to be produced. But IMO the leaking of blue skies stuff and out of context ideas being part of an option appraisal etc is not great for govt whoever is in power. It discourages innovative thinking of which 95% may be rubbish and rejected, or at very least discourages it being written down, corridor meetings replace minuted meetings etc etc

4. What did Jacqui Smith know and when did she know it?

Indeed. At all sorts of levels. Was she aware in advance as Cam and Boz were allegedly? And if so of what exactly. What is DG supposed to have done (a) the public explanation which may be a stalking horse and (b) really.

5. Did she instigate the police investigation? If so, was it motivated by a desire to give a warning to future whistleblowers?

Don't suppose plod did it themselves UNLESS their investigation into CS leaker(s) led them to do so ...

6. Why did the Serjeant at Arms lay lown like a puppy and have her tummy tickled by the Met?

Really? But yes, why was that?

7. Did she consult Mr Speaker before giving permission for the Met to search Damian Green's Commons office?

Would that be (i) required in nay sense, by tradition or law; or (ii) sensible?

8. Why was Damian Green kept locked up for nine hours and reportedly only questioned after seven? (as was reported last night).

Perhaps he was pissed. One way or another. Perhaps both?

9. If the job of an Opposition spokesman is not to hold the government to account, then what exactly is it?

There is a tradition of also having some policies to proffer to the public. But Nu Tories are like LDs in that regard. Just whiners.

10. If Damian Green has been arrested, why haven't the journalists to whom he gave the stories been treated in the same manner?

Journalists are tough nuts to crack in every which way. They also have different role and responsibilities to either CSs or MPs.

11. What role did the security services play in this. Have they been monitoring Damian Green?

I'm sure they'll be telling us, not. Hilarious if SB or MI6 have started keeping tabs on mainstream Tories instead of commies anbd fascists. they did mainstream Labour for a while. Dominic does wear pinko ties sometimes.

12. Why is the media not trumpeting the virtues of free speech and the rights of whistle blowers?

Perhaps they're waiting to get some facts. Makes a change for some of them naturally. But many of them are actually against govt leaks ... unless they are to themselves.

13. Why aren't Labour bloggers as outraged by Green's arrest as they would have been over Sarah Tisdall or Clive Ponting? (I will be doing a separate post on this later).

Perhaps some of us will be once the facts are out and about? We'll see. Didn't have a blog during either case, but further back I was helping run an inky in the 80s and we had some fun and games protecting sources. Particularly police sources as it goes.

14. Why were counter terror police used to search Green's four home and office premises? He was arrested under a so-called Common Law, not an anti terror law, as I understand it.

Define "counter terror police"? Do you mean police with CT activity within their portfolio of tasks? At at least one of GMP's nicks we have a load of CT police. But they do other stuff when there is no terror to be stymied. Which is as it should be. Surely?

15. Have the Police impounded Damian Green's various computers? If so, how is his constituency casework corresponded safeguarded? How can any MPs' constituents now believe that their casework is totally confidential?

There is no such thing as totally confidential now is there? But using CT police - if that is indeed the case - might in part be done to give more confidence about confidentiality than bog standard plods might.

This is a very curious situation. But as Mark Twain said, about science:

The wonderful thing ... is the large return of conjecture for a small investment of fact.

norman said...

Chris Paul

Anoher apologist for Brown. Your piece is verbose and tribal.

Rohan said...

Norman this comment beggars belief:

"If Damien is wanted for questioning he could have been telephoned to come to an interview at the Special Branch premises wherever it is."

Yes and no doubt he would have started to get rid of any evidence that might incriminate him or Mr X before he popped around for tea and a chat.

Mr X was arrested ten days ago. No doubt the police have been through his files. And no doubt something has turned up. Presumably one of the conditions of bail is that he does not resume contact with anyone he has allegedly leaked to.

The danger here is this. Green may have been in regular communication with Mr X probably electronically. So there may evidence of a conspiracy, which funnily enough is what Green was arrested for. The Ponting et al leaks were pre internet and were sent anonymously in paper. There was no communication back and forth.

Counter terrorism officers will be able to trawl through the PC hard drives etc looking for evidence even if people think they have deleted it. So we will see in due course won't we?

I don't believe that ministers knew. They know that the boot may well be on the other foot some day soon.

And post "cash for honours" I think the police would have realised fully that they needed to proceed with caution and by the book.

In these situations I apply Occam's razor. But of course others will see wild conspiracies.....

norman said...

Rohan,

You are another apologist for Stalin Brown like Chris Paul and DB. Brown treats every one who opposes his policy as traitors. Not surprised why Damian was treated like that. Bown in his days thrived on leaks. Pity that Tory govt did not drag him to
Met's office.

The high-handed action of the anti-terrorist police was to scare Damian. Brown is scared of his pathetic record on immigration known to the public.

E-mail messages and computer-based information can be hacked. people rarely use computers to pass messages or receive confidential messages without giving themselves away, unless one is a professional hacker and uses sophisticated cryptography., which I doubt here. The IP addresses of the mole's computer and that of Damian computer would have been the weakest links. The action by the police was hence to intimidate Damian. Brown wants to keep his pathetic immigration record under wraps.

My guess is the leaks to Damian would have arrived by old fashioned way in envelopes.

It is best for you to simply declare yourself as Gordo's admirer and leave it at that.

richard said...

To point 13, there is one honorable exception. Harry's place has made a brief comment saying that this is wrong. Harry's place is often an honorable exception among the Labour commentariat.

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/11/28/am-i-missing-something-here/

Kenny Murphy

There is strong evidence that Brown is behind this, and he provided it himself in denying he knew beforehand.

Why would he lie so outrageously and obviously if he had no hand in the arrest?

richard said...

Rohan

You destroy your own case.

"...no doubt he would have started to get rid of any evidence that might incriminate him or Mr X before he popped around for tea and a chat.

...

Counter terrorism officers will be able to trawl through the PC hard drives etc looking for evidence even if people think they have deleted it."

Deleted information, unless deleted with specialist software, can easily be recovered.

I cannot believe anyone can be so naive as to not see anything wrong on the police actions. Searching through potentially confidential files, arresting an elected MP, searching his office, preventing him from effectively representing his constituents. All would be justified, if he had done anything that had impplications further than embarrassing the government. Since that is the extent of his "crime", there can be no doubt at all of a political motive in this.

As Iain has said, either that political motive comes from Brown (see my post above), or it is within the police. Either of these is absolutely shocking, disgraceful and cannot be accepted.

Jimmy said...

So Green's confidential files are sacrosanct then?

Or perhaps PC plod should have just badgered one of his staff to hand them over?

richard said...

Chris Paul

Again you manage to hit the bottom and carry on digging. Again partisan interests of Labour trump anything, excuse any disgrace in your eyes. There are enough facts out there to mean we should all be demanding answers.

All you need to know is that these arrests are political. That cannot be disputed. The only harm done by the leaks was to the interests of the Labour Party when its dishonesty about its incompetence was exposed.

Political arrests are outrageous, cannot be accepted in modern Britain. Whether the Labour government uses the police for party-political ends or the police interfere in party politics the we should all protest. Part of that protest should be a demand for an investigation as to where the order originated, but it does not stop you condemning the action now.

richard said...

Jimmy

If you had gone to yor MP for help, maybe with a cpmplaint of police harrassment as a possible example, or a problem with a Labour politician, would you want your correspondance to remain confidential? Do you think that an MP embarrassing Labour is enough cause for you to lose that confidence?

richard said...

P.S. Jimmy If you actually read my post you would have seen that I said exactly the opposite of what you infered. I said that they were not sacrosanct.

"Searching through potentially confidential files, arresting an elected MP, searching his office, preventing him from effectively representing his constituents. All would be justified, if he had done anything that had implications further than embarrassing the government"

Jimmy said...

Richard,

I would certainly like to be able to rely on my confidentiality being respected, as we all would no doubt. To breach that confidence to my mind requires some compelling and overriding reason. I think a criminal investigation provides a better example of such a reason than a desire to score a cheap shot debating point. I certainly don't see that Damian Green is in any position to give lectures on respecting confidentiality.

richard said...

Jimmy

Where was anyone suggesting that confidential information should be used for cheap debating points? That's something Labour has done more than once* I grant you, but not relevant here.

The information Damian green leaked was not confidential. It was just embarrassing to the government. It was also in the public interest that the information be known, and that the government's dishonesty in hiding it be known, not a cheap debating point.

So it was not confidential and not used for a cheap debating point. Since it has been pointed out that the criminal investigation is politically motivated, and you have not attempted to deny this, your whole comment falls apart!

* As has the Democrat Party out of interest. Suggests that socialists feel that is appropriate.

girlie_boi said...

MP's should quite frankly boycott the Queen's Speech Debate! A clear message needs to be sent to the Executive that Parliament will not tolerate such blatant abuse of executive power. Also, this really should now be the end for Michael Martin!

norman said...

Excellent articles by Mathew Parris, in The Times and Richard LittleJohn
in Daily Mail.

Muheed Jeeran said...

I think these questions are not answerable under this government. Bear in mind, we are living under police state.

Paul said...

Whacky-Jacqui Smith on Andrew Marr:

'There are other leaks which are not in the public domain.'

- err, so that's not quite a leak then is it, dear?

She seems to be advocating a Police Service which is accountable to no one. It can just use it's 'judgement' and when that judgement is flawed, when that judgement impinges on our Parliamentary democracy then we and, what is more, she as Home Secretary should just live with it.

Jacqui Smith: Not fit for purpose.

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