We have a pyramid of authority in this country and parliament, not the police, stands at its apex. For as long as I can remember, Labour MPs have expressed scepticism and even outrage at some police actions, going back to the handling of the miners' strike, the use of sus laws, the pursuit of Whitehall moles in the Thatcher years, and scandals such as the Stephen Lawrence and Jean Charles de Menezes cases. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the particular cases, it was clearly the duty of politicians to express themselves forcibly.
You can't separate politics from policing, and you never have been able to: political judgments are so often behind what the police do. In this case, it is simply risible to push off the responsibility for the invasion of Green's home and offices by anti-terrorist officers on to the police and nameless "officials". If the home secretary did not know, she should have done. She knew there was a leak inquiry, that it was becoming a criminal investigation, and that one of her own officials had been arrested. Are we really to believe that she did not know he had been a Tory activist and had not wondered whether Tory MPs might be drawn in? Are we to accept that she looked the other way, and now feels proud of this strange incuriosity?
Her highest title is not, actually, home secretary. She is first a member of parliament. Her first duty is to the parliamentary democracy that sustains us all, and that means protecting the rights of elected members to carry out their democratic job.
Smith should have found out what was being contemplated by the police and then intervened to stop it. Far from being "Stalinist", that would have been the proportionate, liberal and sensible thing. Having failed to do that, she should then have apologised to Green.
Great stuff. The full column can be read HERE.