Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Harman Signs The Speaker's Death Warrant

It really does come to a pretty pass when the Leader of the House of Commons is asked to express confidence in the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Serjeant at Arms and three times declines to do so. It hasn't been a good day for Harriet Harman, has it? Skewered by Eddie Mair, and now by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.

If the Leader of the House of Commons doesn't have confidence in The Speaker then how can the rest of us? Harriet Harman tonight signed Michael Martin's death warrant.


Daniel said...

Iain, Harriet has sensed the anger (including from Labour) when the Prime Minister refused to condemn the police search without a warrant.

Trust me. The Leader of the House is about to kill off Brown. Remember, she was the first Minister to express alarm over the search.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It makes sense. She's been positioning herself away from Brown for a while. Mr Harman (Jack Dromey) is also harbouring a grudge over Cash for Honours. Maybe its payback time, and the Tories can just sit and watch the fun. Maybe.

Paul Pinfield said...

Perhaps Mick should ask for her resignation...

Old Holborn said...


Facebook critics of Croatia's Prime Minister arrested

Anonymous said...

Harriet Harman has impressed me the last few days.

She clearly isn't that close to Brown, because he abolished the Deputy Prime Minister post rather than give it to her, she was the first to break ranks over the Damian Green affair, and now she has broken ranks again and openly shown that she, like the majority of MP's, has no confidence in the speaker or his office.

She's a Blairite, and a good servant of New Labour. Long may she continue.

Out of all the parties, Tony Blair and New Labour more closely represented my views than any other. Old Socialist Labour is about as welcome as a fart in a lift, and the Tories are a bit too right of centre still, although getting there.

Good on you Harriet!

Mrs Smallprint said...

I notice Jacqui Smith is being kept quite after her performance on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday.....

Mrs S.

Colin said...

Daniel: Trust me...

brown and martin will be there to the death.

North Norfolk Blogger said...

Hmmm, I still don't have any idea whether the police are using arrest as a standard procedure to get roung the need for a warrant.

As two of the Commons senior officials appear to be on a big hook, how long before they do the decent thing and RESIGN?

Johnny Norfolk said...

I hope so. He is not fit to be Speaker. His whole manner is very poor.

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

He should avoid going for walks in the woods for the foreseeable future. Harman stuffed by Paxo tonight, and you got quoted by Crick. What a day.

jailhouselawyer said...

Speaker Martin is not a very good speaker at all. He read slowly from a prepared script. I would prefer a Speaker who is more fluent and eloquent in his or her delivery.

Having said that, compared to Dominic Grieve, who is more fluent and eloquent, he also has the ability to shoot himself in the foot before firmly putting it into his mouth.

If the arrest of Damian Green is warranted, then the issue of a search warrant is irrelevant. This hounding of the Speaker is unwarranted.

bryboy said...

I reckon that Major General Peterkin is quietly revelling in the incompetence of his successor.
The Speaker never learned that you live and die by the people you appoint. But what can you expect from someone who is overpromoted. He then appoints overpromoted Civil Servants and we all suffer. What an absolute cock up and so so predictable. The Queen knew and acted accordingly!

Ian said...

Not before time either.

You couldn't make it up, could you?

molesworth 1 said...

I'm sorry, I'm lost in BoJo's "After Rome" on BBC2 right now. What price the Licence Fee?

Lady Emma Fitztightly said...

It was great to see Phil the Greek still has a sharp sense of humour!

I'd love to know what Jack Straw was thinking when the Duke of Edinburgh mimed tossing the speech away

Spartan said...

Jailhouselawyer ... 'unwarranted hounding of the speaker'?

Are you for real? Micks the embodiment of the three monkeys 'Hear nothing, See nothing, Say nothing!

Though that may be an insult to the 3 monkeys.

kinglear said...

Iain I just heard that Jackboots PPS knew about the whole thing.
Now, as ever with Liebore, is he just incompetent for not telling her or did he deliberately hide it from her ( deniability)
What a load of manure these people are

Duncan said...

The PACE provision for a search without warrant does not apply. Per R. v. Graham-Campbell; Ex parte Herbert, [1935] 1 K.B. 594 statutes do not apply to the precincts of Parliament unless they are specifically stated so to do. PACE does not appear to make this stipulation and so does not apply. So to search without consent the police would have required a warrant. Mind you what court can issue a warrant to search the highest court in the land? Probably only the court of Parliament itself.

I wonder though under what authority can the SAA issue consent for a search? Is she actually legally capable of doing so? The Speaker perhaps is but he said he didn't authorise it or consent. If not then the search was unlawful. Maybe Damian Green should immediately seek an injunction for a return of his computer equipment and documents and test out the lawfulness of the search. Even if the police thought they had consent if the person granting it didn't have the lawful authority to do so it is still an unlawful search and the retention of the items by the police is also unlawful.

Anonymous said...

'Jailhouselawyer' -

- the arrest of Green is not warranted nor is the police investigation as no crime has been committed.

Leaking a govt cover up is not a crime its a service to the nation and the punishment is subject to employment law not the anti terrorist squad.

Just grow up and Jailhouselawyer, and stop pretending you know you're talking about

Anonymous said...

Paxman really did nail Harman this evening, she looks desperately uncomfortable throughout the entire interview – I'm not surprised she's lost faith in the speaker, judging from her background in the party it's not exactly news that she doesn't hold the serious left to close to her heart, and Broon's lurch to Callaghan style government of late seems to have been the final straw in her ability to convincingly tow any sort of party line.

Here's hoping she is one of the nails in the coffin.

jailhouselawyer said...

trevorsden: The police had reason to believe that the arrest of Damian Green was warranted as part of their legitimate investigation into the unlawful disclosure of government documents.

If the government is up to no good, and certain documents are leaked then there is a legitimate defence using in the public interest. However, in this case it was clearly the Tory party, or at least some members, who it is alleged broke the law in their dealings with Christopher Galley.

I was only speaking with a Employment tribunal judge on this very case the other day. He asked me had I blogged about it. At that time I had not. However, having seen the Tories getting bogged down in their own mire I thought I would help clarify it for them.

I think I stopped growing as a teenager. Sorry, I am unable to oblige with this request. It's not a matter of pretence, I feel I am ably qualified to speak on legal and criminal justice matters.

Head of Legal said...

That Graham-Campbell case is about Parliament's privilege of regulating its own affairs, Duncan, and specifically alcohol licensing. I don't see how it's relevant to the privilege of freedom of arrest (which doesn't apply to criminal offences) or to this situation.

Warrants are applied for under PACE, so it makes no sense to say "PACE doesn't apply, therefore they need a warrant".

Alex said...

Head Of Legal:
Good point, but the issue still remains to who can consent to a search of an MP's office. Surely it is the MP who must consent not the Speaker or the Serjeant At Arms. They may have responsibility for the security of the building and hold a key to the office, but does that amount to the right to prmit a police search?

Adam Penny said...

That interview was Harriet Harman's Michael Howard moment. :-D

Duncan said...

head of legal, Freedom from arrest is not at issue as Green was arrested at his house. As regards the Graham-Campbell case I understood it to be interpreted more widely than that:

According to the Joint Committee Report on Parliamentary Privilege in 1999.

15. Another aspect of Parliament's right to regulate its own internal affairs concerns the application of legislation to activities taking place within the Houses of Parliament. In 1934 the courts decided, in the A P Herbert case[69], that the sale of alcohol in the precincts of the House of Commons without a justices' licence was a matter relating to the internal affairs of the House and that no court had power to interfere. Since then, Acts of Parliament have been taken not to apply within the precincts of either House in the absence of express provision that they should apply. Among the legislation taken not to apply are the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Data Protection Acts 1984 and 1998. In practice Parliament voluntarily abides by some of these statutory provisions[70].

Although it may be that a search without warrant conducted under PACE( I mean a search without warrant under s.18) is not really an internal affair but then again the control and access to the precincts could be said to be exactly that.

There is also the question of whether the SAA could actually give consent to a search.

JuliaM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Harman looked uncomfortable in the House yesterday, when Brown was on his feet.

Speaker Martin was dreadful, and struggled to read his own statement.

Then Harman seemed very uncomfortable again when interviewed by Paxman on Newsnight. She must be dreading whatever is coming next.

Brown did himself no favours by refusing to say if he agreed with the police not having a warrant.

Tory Boy said...

A constitutional outrage certainly, utterly indefensible of Martin. But don't forget - Labour is cleverly ignoring this controversy and setting the news agenda with the mortgage aid package. We must not become pre-occupied with this, critical although it is. If we do become obsessed with this, we will lose the election. Voters sadly and wrongly do not care about this. What matters for them is the old Blair mantra - "schools, jobs, hospitals and homes".

Tiresias said...

Duncan 2.04am

"the A P Herbert case[69], "

Just checking - are you sure this isn't a reference to one of the spoof "Misleading Cases" by A P Herbert, satirist and once MP for Oxford University?

cherami said...

Jailhouselawyer wrote:

"If the arrest of Damian Green is warranted, then the issue of a search warrant is irrelevant. This hounding of the Speaker is unwarranted."

Presumably you believe the victims of Stalin's show trials were guilty otherwise they would not have confessed.

I don't like Harman, but in her coded way it is true - she has been rather impressive.

Now, what will our Poll have to say about it all on Saturday? Harman going; Ashley going; Toynbee gone?

Theo said...

If Martin goes I suppose he will become Lord Mick of the Gorbals.

The Penguin said...

Leading QC Geoffrey Robertson said: 'It was an unlawful search and Mr Green should be able to obtain substantial damages from the Metropolitan Police for this ignorant blunder.'

The Penguin

DespairingLiberal said...

A new message has just arrived from Lord and Lady Straw-Smith, Chief Executives of the House of Controlled Commoners Plc.

To all MPs and other staff also under direct management of the Home Civil Service.

We have recently had good and proper cause, oh yes, (insert the usual fluff about National Security, Threats from Terrorists here) to search the Parliamentary office of a member of the so-called "Loyal" Opposition.

We are horrified to discover that there is now clear evidence that they are not "loyal" at all! Quite the contrary! There are letters for example complaining about this or that wise and just policy of the Supreme Leader and the opposition member in question replied that he agreed!

Now we know that such illegal acts are taking place, we have decided at once to take the firmest possible steps. These will include:

- ensuring that all MPs clock in and out for work, using their new trial ID cards. The said ID card to be withdrawn at once in the event of any disobedience. Such decisions to be taken by the new Serjeant at Arms, PC Snodgrass and the new Chief Whip, Det. Insp. Regan.

- the aforementioned not-so-loyal opposition member, Mr Damien Gruhn, be sacked at once.

- all MP's mortgages to be reviewed by a new Moral Mortgages Commission. Mortgages to be rescinded where these are thought to have been improperly extended. Reposessions to be carried out where appropriate, eg, where the mortgage holder has not donated to the Party of the Supreme Leader. This exciting new Commission to be headed by P Mandlesohn, who has extensive experience of the practical side of mortgage application processes.

- Members of the House will henceforth be known as Servants of the Supreme Leader. They will wear dark uniforms and carry a copy of the Supreme Leader's "Great Leaders" book at all times. Any SS not found with this book will be sent to the new camp we have constructed at Guantanamera where they will be taught to sing properly obedient folk songs in loving support of the Supreme Leader!

That new House of Servants staff list in full.

Supreme Leader .... The Supreme Leader

Deputy Assistant to the Supreme Leader's Merest Wish ... Ms Harperson

Chief Whip ... Damien (Omen Damien, not that Damian)

Mr Speaker ... Sgt Plodds, Special Branch, er, Anti-Terrorism Command

Leader of the Opposition ... D Draper, Special Assistant to Lord Mandypoo

Manager of Complaints ... Thames House

Dennis Skinner ... Dennis Skinner

Night Watchman ... Mr Howard (no calls during the day)

Black Rod ... (that's enough silly new H of C roles - Ed.)

Taxi Arranger ... Michael Martin

Best Boy ... Iain Dale

headless said...

and on Today this morning, Beckett made sure the knife was firmly in between the Speaker's shoulders.

strapworld said...

Daniel 1059. may be on to something. She certainly whispered something to Darling when Brown was doing his Judas act for the third time.

Brown looked absolutely awful yesterday. He is ill, very definately ill.

On the Green affair, let us remember that the complaint to the police came from the head of the civil service. I am of the opinion that Brown is the one directly behind this investigation.

My view is that he went off the handle again and demanded that the police conduct an enquiry into leaks. It was Brown, I suspect, who labelled these leaks against National Security.

He did not reckon on poor policing, inadequate commons officials and the furore the whole thing has caused up and down the country.

Interestingly Charles Kennedy, on Today, in answer to a question said that it was the one thing that people, in his constituency, were talking about!!

I know from the people I speak to here that they are disgusted with the whole thing and they all blame BROWN.

Unsworth said...

All this hoo-hah about Mr Speaker Martin is a useful cover for the underlying matter, which is that the police were apparently called in by Normington who made serious allegations. What about him, and the involvement of any others in that decision? When do we get to see an explanation from Normington as to his actions?

I think it's a safe bet that the underlying machinery and personalities wil remain completely untouched by this row. Business as usual, then.

jailhouselawyer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jailhouselawyer said...

It is all very well removing my response to the unprovoked and off topic attack by JuliaM. Another one of you sock puppets Iain?

Iain Dale said...

I removed it because it was disgusting and used a swear word.

lilith said...

It is a nonsense to suggest (Hazel Blears et al) that voters don't care about this. The majority of people I have met this week (general public) have shown great concern. More talked about than Mumbai bombings or I'm a Celebrity.

Tim said...

Iain, it is at the very least unfair to suggest that JHL's experience in law is restricted to the manslaughter case that saw him jailed in 1979.

Being a "leading political commentator" with a "mind... like a meat-cleaver" you should be well aware that JuliaM's needlessly hostile comment completely (some might think deliberately) discounts JHL's commitment to prisoners' rights, his campaigns for penal reform and all of the polticial and legal knowledge he has gained along the way, and instead introduces a matter that is entirely irrelevant and prejudicial.

It boggles the mind that you would allow this on your site and yet spit feathers over the use of the word 'grooming' in Green's case.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain Dale's rules of engagement:

"If your post is insulting to me or other people posting in the thread I reserve the right not to allow it through".

My comment was in response to another comment. Fair comment. Then JuliaM took part of my comment, and instead of answering the point, used your blog to launch a personal attack upon me without even attempting to further the debate. She desired to stifle debate.

Ian Dale you should be totally ashamed by approving such a comment and encouraging such to occur on your blog.

Iain Dale said...

Tim, JHL can stand up for himself, as he demonstrates.

He never desists from libelling me on his blog. I ignore it.

Anonymous said...

What was most interesting about Brown today was that he barely addressed the speaker throughout his entire routine apart from where it was absolutely necessary, which is outside his usual form where everything is addressed to Mr Speaker rather than the house.

Brown's notes were a mess - they'd clearly been working through lines right up until the very last moment, deep thick black lines over whole areas, highlighted paras and post-it's galore - and even then he didn't seem to be able to use his notes... I agree with Strapworld, he looked moody and ill (even more so than usual). I was amazed he made it through, he didn't look like a dynamic leader, he looked like a cross between a depressed old man and a mardy teenager...

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain Dale: "He never desists from libelling me on his blog. I ignore it".

That's a lie and you know it.

And which libellous matters would they be?

Tim said...

Using that logic, Damian Green can stand up for himself, surely.

Your second sentence appears to suggest that you tolerate dishonest/bullying tactics if they are used against someone you disapprove of (while claiming to 'ignore' them).

Tim said...

I would also argue that JHL will have dificulty standing up for himself here if you keep deleting his responses.

Iain Dale said...

Do you know, I am not going to enter into another blog war about this. I will delete the comment, but JHL can watch his language in future. Or he knows the consequences.

Tim said...

Thank you, but I'd rather you did it because it's the right thing to do.

On that note, perhaps a warning to JuliaM that such attacks won't be tolerated in future is also called for? She did, after all, fire the first shot that prompted whatever language it was JHL used that shocked you so.

Unsworth said...

@ Tim

"JHL's commitment to prisoners' rights, his campaigns for penal reform"

So? WTF has that to do with this topic? Who gives a toss, anyway?

Never mind all this diversionary garbage, get back on topic or piss off.

Tim said...

JuliaM took us off-topic, Unsworth, and I will be making myself scarce soon enough.

Boo said...

Just read Gerald Warners piece in the Telegraph, apparently (Due to the current speaker)the SAA is only responsible for the security of the commons chamber.

1.) Did have the authority to wave them through?
2.) If not, who did?
3.) Will the speaker come to regret that change

JuliaM said...

"...perhaps a warning to JuliaM that such attacks won't be tolerated in future is also called for? She did, after all, fire the first shot that prompted whatever language it was JHL used that shocked you so."

'Attack'..? Is pointing out the unsavoury (and publicly admitted on his own blog) background of that particular commenter to be considered an 'attack' now?

He was indicating that he had some 'special experience and knowledge' to prove him right in respect to the Speaker's legal problem, to quote him, he was: "ably qualified to speak on legal and criminal justice matters..."

I don't see how I can be blamed for an 'attack' for pointing out that his qualifications aren't relevant in this instance....

Not a sheep said...

Why can we not be asked if we have confidence in Harriet Harman?

jailhouselawyer said...

JuliaM: What was not relevant was your unprovoked and personal attack upon me. Iain was wrong to allow it to remain as long as it did. Attack the ball not the player.

Tim said...


JHL did not claim knowledge 'special experience and knowledge' as you suggest, he was responding to a comment suggesting that he was ignorant of the law and pretending otherwise. Your further comment suggested that his knowledge of law was restricted to his being on the wrong side of it 30-odd years ago.

I would regard that to be an attack, as it was a clear attempt to undermine him (see: playing the man), regardless of how one might see the pointless reference to his past.

As for the disgusting swear-word that shocked Iain so much, well, he doesn't appear to be genuinely shocked by it at all, and has allowed it and used it himself hundreds of times on this blog. I can understand if under new rules the word is no longer tolerated, but there's no mileage in pretending to be shocked by it, surely. Especially when that shock is used as justification for silencing someone who we are later assured can stand up for himself.

And with that clarified, I once again leave you to your conversation and consciences.

Cheers all.

JuliaM said...

"Your further comment suggested that his knowledge of law was restricted to his being on the wrong side of it 30-odd years ago.

I would regard that to be an attack, as it was a clear attempt to undermine him..."

You might. But you're not representative of everyone on the internet, are you? Whatever you might think...

jailhouselawyer said...

I would hardly call someone who I had never even heard of until this morning, as being representative of everyone on the internet. Like Iain Dale, JulieM is unable to accept when she is quite obviously in the wrong. For what it is worth the comment did upset me. Feeling better now are we?