Met Commissioner job is now mixed up in Tory arrest constitutional row

Adds Dec 1 Acting Met chief could step aside in Damian Green leak row.
I often relish the moment when someone stands out against the crowd, even in a cause I don’t agree with. Thus in the amazing case of the arrest of Tory home affairs spokesman Damian Green, the great constitutional authority Vernon Bogdanor whom I know and greatly respect and who was once David Cameron’s tutor has pointed out that parliamentary privilege applies only to MPs’ speeches in Parliament and not to their offices and homes. That’s not to say that Green’s arrest was either wise or right. Some see the decision to arrest Green as Ian Blair’s Revenge against the Tories, while the appointment of Blair’s successor has become embroiled in the escalating row.

(Acting Met Commissioner Sir Paul) Stephenson should have told Sir David Normington, the Home Office permanent secretary who called in police, that leaks of nonclassified information were not a matter for a police inquiry.Normington will chair the panel that will interview and vet applicants for the job of Met commissioner. The deadline for applications is tomorrow.

This may shift the odds away from Stephenson succeeding Blair as Met Commissioner and towards Sir Hugh Orde. I would have discounted Orde’s chances partly on grounds of age ( at 50, he could have another crack at it) and because of his long time affair, a subject that will have rocketed into prominence whatever the difference in scale, since the suspected suicide of Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Mike Todd.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Brian, the next time you feel the urge to tell us you ‘know’ someone, stop, think, and don’t. You room-emptying, name-dropping sententious bore.

  • Rory

    Well at least he won’t ever make the mistake of claiming to know the last poster who hides behind a really silly pseudonym.

  • I take offence at Brian dragging poor Mike Todd into this mess – linking the dreadful story from the Daily Mail about his alleged adulterous activities interferring with his peformance as GMP Chief Constable.

    The Daily Mail, relying on the crap that Sir Paul Scott-Lee has provided, claims that Todd has 38 liaisons with women who are essentially unnamed.

    Since the word liaison has many different meanings – e. g., people working toghether – only one of which is adulterous affairs, Sir Paul has grossly libelled the apparently murdered man by taking advantage of all the other meanings of the word without mentioning them.

    This is disgusting!

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, Trowbridge. It stretches the limits of the imagination to think that he could have had 38 affairs in 6 years; one every two months.
    But we do know that the Daily Mail is an utter rag.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    I have personal experience of this. I probably put up with more grief of that kind than all the Sinn Fein members in NI combined.

    The convention is that one doesn’t, and that’s the norm throughout the world,

    especially when one has a govt not so distantly linked to selling seats in the second chamber.

    Bogdanor is being quite silly.

    “that Green may have been arrested because he had ‘unwittingly’ disclosed sensitive security information.”

    Which is any info connecting the labor govt. to incompetence or criminality.

    I’ve had hotels raided by police looking for DfES leaked material, during which they confiscated documents relating to PQs, and a script for future broadcast.

    Britain is a STASI state, and yes I did live in east Berlin, and so I know what it looks like.

    It is the same type of deal, the police are often used to harass people looking into immigration, corruption, incompetence, whistle-blowing, the police are often used.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    What is great about this, apart from the unjustifaiable pleasure of seeing a Tory being arrested, is listening to the Tories as the self-proclaimed party of Law and Order speaking out against the police.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    There is that ‘how do you think I flapping felt’ aspect to it.

    It is up to them to take revenge, a ruthless revenge, I’d go for a royal warrant to do Jacqui Smith’s constituency, I’d abolish it, replace with a royal commissioner, one of the lords, or even a recently paroled felon.

    Wasn’t she a schoolteacher? Make that a royal warrant of treason, for violence against HMtQ, and Arson in royal dockyards. & derogation of Criminal Damage Act 1971, & being caught with chalk in a school, is that enough for the rope?

  • josephine

    to sammy mcnally: yes, you’re so right sammy, just like listening to sinn fein talk about human rights or political principle, or gerry adams apologising for disappearing people!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Josey,

    or the DUP talking about Trimble selling out the Unionist people for doing a deal with SF – after they did a deal with SF.

  • The boy Gids had a good line in the debate on the Pre-Budget Report, something about:

    the time-old truth that in the end all Labour chancellors run out of money and all Labour governments bring this country to the verge of bankruptcy.

    It might be as valid that there is:

    the time-old truth that in the end all Labour governments are destabilised by an unholy coalition of the Daily Mail and the securocrats.

    Witness the Zinoviev Letter; the BOSS and MI5 against Wilson, Hain, and others; General Walker (commander NATO, Northern Europe) and Colonel David Sterling (begetter of the SAS) plotting a military coup; Ted Short’s infamous Swiss bank account (still unexplained); Spycatcher‘s campaign of “bugging and burgling across London”. One might throw in the odd bit of business coming via Colin Wallace and the Thiepval Barracks boys.

    So, why do I feel distinctly suspicious of a raid on a Tory MP, the very day the outgoing Head of Scotland Yard has been defenestrated by Blasted Boris (who, as far as I know, is the only politico to claim prior knowledge of the MP’s intent)? I have a distinct touch of the Trowbridge H. Fords coming on (no direspect intended).

  • In previous post, read “prior knowledge of the M[et] P[olice]’s intent”.

    Sorry for the shorthand which went awry.

  • Llamedos

    I must say that all these top policemen seem to be involved in the most complex private lives ;which appear to conflict and prejudice their ability to carry out their duties. If they had been properly positively vetted by the security services;these appalling lapses of judgement would have been flagged up and they would not have been appointed in the first place. Their own personal integrity could well be compromised but look at the appalling case of Dr Kelly and see who has ridden to the top of the midden Sir John Scarlett. It is time the Augean Stables were cleansed. As we now have the most inept government since cabinet government started. It is dire and Gordon Brown is the biggest hypocrite I have so far come across in recent political life followed by his lickspittle mate Gorbals’ Mick who has made a mockery of the Speaker’s job.

  • Pigeont Toes

    I wonder if that same law applies here?

    Because if it does I am sure that there may well be a few civil servants with “stomach” trouble over the next few days.

    Would ye believe that some of them have erm passed confidential correspondence to third parties?

  • Harry Flashman

    What is most depressing about all this (apart from the woeful ignorance of history and constitutional democracy displayed here and elsewhere by journalists and pundits who seem to believe that as long as it’s a Tory on the receiving end it’s all ok) is the overriding sense of uselessness of so many senior public figures today, they are all lightweights who seem to be incapable of understanding major issues.

    Look at the Home Secretary, the Home Secretary for Chrissakes, she’s utterly out of her depth, she hasn’t a clue, a former school teacher who can barely string a coherent sentence together and who shouldn’t be in charge of anything more important than the annual prize giving ceremony at the local primary school now occupies one of the loftiest positions in the land.

    Michael Martin, the Speaker, inarticulate, vain, idle, a partisan hack, is the man given the vital position of defending the sovereignty of Parliament, a body for which he probably has all the respect that is usually accorded such institutions by products of the Glasgow Labour party machine. The Labour Party of Clement Atlee, Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot, Tony Benn and others should be hanging their heads in shame at what has become of their once mighty movement.

    These New Labourites seem never to have matured beyond their Student Union politics of which they were so fond, where great issues of state are irrelevant so long as you’re sticking one over on Tory Boy. It wouldn’t be so bad but they have now infected the entire body politic, senior civil servants, top policemen, Parliamentary office holders all believe that their jobs depend on doing what their political bosses want rather than what is right.

    The senior echelons of the Metropolitan Police seem to believe they are the private militia of New Labour, the outgoing Chief Constable using his last day in office to get a knock at the Tories who sacked him, the arrest operation being carried out by two contenders for the top job at the behest of the woman who will ultimately decide who gets that job. In the old days the Met would have told the Home Office that such leak enquiries were a routine matter of internal departmental discipline and no business of Scotland Yard.

    The Sejeant at Arms’ job used to be to defend the security of Parliament and MP’s, the contender for the job was a man by the name of Major General Peter Grant Peterkin, ex-Army, he’d have told the constables wishing to turn over the MP’s office to come back with a proper signed search warrant signed by a judge and written authority from the Home Secretary or they could just go boil their heads. Of course such a man was no doubt seen by Speaker Martin as a “fuckin’ Tory” so he was dumped to be replaced by another silly woman, Jill Pay, whose main claim to the job was that she once worked in advertising!

    For all of you who see no problem with this state of affairs well, then presumably you will have no problem with it continuing when the Tories get back into power.

    And what about if the BNP start getting elected, will you all be so sanguine then about the politicisation of the police and civil service then?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Harry,

    If running a tory party hack as a spy in the Home Secretary’s private office isn’t “politicisation of the police and civil service” then I don’t know what is. I think your personal smears against the Home Secretary (and apparently the teaching profession) are unwarranted. She has handled herself in the face of vile abuse and hysterical shroud waving with commendable restraint.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Running a Tory party hack”, is that what you call it now? And what did you call it when the Labour Party was doing precisely the same thing in the 1980’s and 1990’s?

    Have a look at this short clip from 1985;

    Gordon Brown admits to being a criminal

    Publicising information which is in the legitimate public interest but which the government finds embarrassing happens to be the job of the Opposition, that’s what they earn their money for, arresting MP’s and raiding their offices on evidence trawling expeditions (if there was any actual evidence of wrongdoing on Green’s part the police would have been able to produce a search warrant) is most specifically [b]not[/b] the job of Scotland Yard.

    As to your touching faith in Jacqui Smith’s much vaunted capabilities have a read of the transcript of her interview yesterday I will post it immediately below this post.

  • Harry Flashman

    Marr: Damian Green, an honourable opposition politician, doing his job, holding your government to account finds nine anti-terrorist officers inside his house, ransacking every aspect of his private life there, letters between his wife and himself. His daughter comes home in floods of tears to see this going on. Do you think, before we start on any of the details, that you owe Mr Green an apology?

    Smith: Well, let me be clear. Any police investigation that involves an investigation of a senior political figure, or an elected representative – as, incidentally we’ve seen in other, er, investigations in recent years – is highly sensitive and decisions need to be taken very carefully about it. But let’s just, I think also, take a step back and remind ourselves where this investigation started. It is not an investigation into whether or not opposition politicians used information they receive to embarrass or hold to account the government. That is a completely legitimate activity. It has gone on, it should go on, it will go on. This is an investigation, this started as an investigation, of a systematic series of leaks from a department that deals with some of the most sensitive and confidential information in government. A systematic series of breaches of security, effectively, and the idea that my permanent secretary, or the cabinet secretary, er, would not have been concerned about this I think is, frankly, unbelievable.

    Marr: And yet, given what happened to Mr Green – I come back to it – and given what happened to his family, do you not think you owe him an apology?

    Smith: No, well, no, what we appear to be being…

    Marr: The Answer seems to be ‘No’…

    Smith: Well what we appear to be being asked to do – by former Home Secretaries, by the, er, leader of the opposition, is to intervene in a specific investigation being carried out by the police who, you know actually…

    Marr: So this kind of stuff’s all right?

    Smith: No, no, wait a minute, who I do believe, when they start an investigation, should, as they have said they need to, follow the evidence where it takes them. Now I started, Andrew, by saying that I think when it’s an investigation that involves senior politicians and elected representatives, as others have, er that, er, it’s extremely sensitive and decisions need to be taken very carefully, but….

  • Harry Flashman

    Marr: So …

    Smith: But frankly

    Marr: Four leaks, which were being discussed. Which one of those involves national security?
    Smith: Wait a minute, Andrew, there are four leaks that, er, are in the the public arena, but the point is that this started as an investigation into a systematic series of leaks, about which, of course, it wasn’t clear, of course, about what had been leaked and what may not have been leaked, so the fact that something is in the public domain doesn’t mean that those are the only leaks that have gone off…

    Marr: Well, a leak tends to be … that’s the definition of a leak, I would have thought, that it’s in the public domain..

    Smith: Well actually…

    Marr: But moving on from that, when did you … Let’s start right at the beginning. Who initiated the original leak enquiry?

    Smith: Well, that was initiated by the cabinet office, er, alongside my Permanent Secretary, because, as I say, you know, actually breaches of security from a department that deals with some of the most confidential and sensitive information in government…

    Marr: And you knew right from the beginning…

    Smith: … are important.

    Marr: You knew right from the beginning…

    Smith: I knew that there was a leak enquiry

    Marr: And did you, yourself, ask for a leak enquiry?

    Smith: I did not ask for it myself.

    Marr: And did any other minister ask for it?

    Smith: No.

  • Harry Flashman

    Marr: Right, um, when your um, er, civil servant was arrested, um, on the eleventh, you presumably knew about that?

    Smith: Yes.

    Marr: Did you know about that in advance?

    Smith: I knew that there was an investigation going on in advance and I knew there was likely to be action taken against one of our officials in advance.

    Marr: Right, that was on the eleventh of November. When did you, when were you told that, er, Damian Green, or indeed a Conservative frontbencher, was the subject of a police investigation?

    Smith: I was told about the search and about the arrest after it had happened.

    Marr: Er, what about, um, my original question – which was: when did you know that he was the subject of the investigation?

    Smith: Well I didn’t know specifically who was the subject of the investigation, and incidentally

    Marr: Did you know that a Conservative MP was being investigated before the arrest of Damian Green?

    Smith: No, because, what I think is important here, is that actually the police are able to use their professional judgement to pursue an investigation, and frankly, er, you know, there have been a lot of charges thrown around here, the idea that this is, er, Stalinism, this is a police state. In my book, Stalinism and a police state happens when ministers direct and interfere with specific investigations that the police are carrying out, and I have been very clear that in my view that the police should have operational independence, they should be able to pursue investigations in the way that their professional judgement suggests. I don’t know what evidence they are looking at. Incidentally, neither do any of the other people that are commenting. I do think it is important that, that if you believe in the principle of operational independence for policing, you believe in that even when they are difficult and sensitive investigations.

    Marr: So you knew nothing about an opposition frontbencher, um, going to be arrested by counter-terrorism police and it’s right that, as Home Secretary, you knew nothing?

    Smith: No. I think it is right that I knew that there was an investigation going on. I did not know, er, before the arrest, that that particular frontbench spokesman, or any frontbench spokesman, was about to be searched and arrested, er, but, I actually what I think is right is that the, once the investigation is underway and the police are pursuing and gathering detailed evidence and, er, using their professional judgement as to where that goes, that politicians shouldn’t interfere in that detailed operation. That’s the view that I take.

    Marr: Damian Green clearly believes that he was was bugged, that his Blackberry was bugged, his phone was bugged. Now if that was the case you would have to have approved that, wouldn’t you?

    Smith: Er, if that were the case I would have signed a warrant

    Marr: Did you sign any such warrant?
    Smith: Andrew, no, Andrew…

    Marr: These are quite important questions.

    Smith: I’m sorry, Andrew, Home Secretaries don’t confirm or deny which warrants they have or have not signed. But frankly, let me be clear about this, we are getting’ TOTALLY into conspiracy theory territory, here. TOTALLY into conspiracy theory territory.

    Marr: So you never signed such a warrant.

  • Harry Flashman

    The woman isn’t capable of running a whelk stall.

  • I would have thought that Brian Walker and posters would have gotten the history straight about parliamentary privilege before diving into the current controversy.

    Bogdanor is technically incorrect when he says that what MPs say in the Commons is privileged. Actually, it is everything that the Commons, and the Lords too, orders printed.

    This was worked out during the late 1830s when Joseph Stockdale was disputing Henry Holt’s printing of a Prison Commission Report which claimed, as far as I can recall, that Joseph Stockdale’s The Memoirs of Hariette Wilson was an obscene work. Obviously, prisoners were reading it for kicks when female companionship was apparently unavailable.

    It had been published in the hopes of blackmailing several of Britain’s political leaders, especially Lord Chancellor Henry Brougham, and when he refused to be blackmailed by Stockdale, the Whig-led Commons ordered it printed in the hopes of at least embarrassing the now ex-Chancellor.

    Brougham, though, loved a fight, and came to the aid of his former publisher, when he took Hansard to court, claiming that he had defamed him by order of the House of Commons. It responded by arresting the Sheriff of Middlesex, who was doing the footwork in the legal process, at its pleasure for defying its orders.

    Brougham made sure that the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Denham who was hearing the cases, found for Stockdale, obliging Parliament to pass the Parliamentary Papers Act. It established that anything ordered printed by either House was privileged.

    I found have thought in this case that the Tories would have made a big enough stink about the Mets’ treatment of Damian Green that the Commons would have been recalled, the Speaker and Members would have heard his complaints, and then at least ordered that the leaked material be printed – making it privileged, and ending any kind of criminal action against the Shadow Cabinet’s Immmigration Minister.

  • Please excuse my early morning mistakes in the previous post.

    The Commons’ printer is Hansard, not Henry Holt.

    And the last paragraph should have started thus:
    “I would have thought…”

  • Brian Walker

    Trowbridge, I’m sure Bogdanor is aware of the Hansard cases which established freedom to publish with privilege, eg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockdale_v._Hansard

    I’m no expert, this was something I studied 40 years ago but surely Bogdanor was simply explaining that parliamentary privilege doesn’t extend to MPs’ offices (although other forms of privilege might) or shield them from criminal allegations.

  • I’m sure that Bogdanor is aware of the Hansard cases too, but my point is that, thanks to the Parliamentary Papers Act, the Commons can provide privilege for anything it orders printed, whether it be a Prison report or leaks that Damian Green wants the public to know.

    All that needs to be done is for the Speaker to summon the Commons, and have it debate and hopefully resolve the matter by printing the leaks in question.

    Instead it is now sounding like a parody of the Mike Todd affair where national security is allegedly threatened by a rabid leaker rather a rabid fornicator.

    The Tories should table a no-confidence vote in Speaker Martin, and Commons should show him the door since he is more interested in helping the runaway Met police rather than protect the House.

    And, would you believe it, I even got the LCJ’s name wrong in my first post. It was Lord Denman.

    Interesting how when one gets old, what one thinks does not appear in type.

  • Harry Flashman

    In fairness to Bogdanor that Guardian article merely has three brief sentences from him which could not under any circumstances be all that he knows about the extremely complex issue of the rights of Parliament. Not one single person anywhere has for one second suggested that MP’s should not be subject to the criminal law, those who try to deflect the argument by suggesting such are creating straw men.

    There is more to this matter than simple privilege as I am sure Bogdanor would agree if the Labour Party’s house newspaper had chosen to question him further, issues surrounding the rights of Parliament which are governed by centuries old customs and conventions. Rights which the Labour government and their toadies in the Met seem to have thought they could ride roughshod over. Despite the BBC’s attempt at a news blackout on this story the fact is that in the coming days many people in the government, civil service and Metropolitan police are going to deeply regret ever getting involved in this business.

    There will be resignations, careers are going to come to an abrupt end and a lot of people who thought they’d have a bit of fun nicking a Tory MP are going to end up looking very stupid indeed.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Harry,

    Brown admits nothing of the sort. I am aware that the tory bloggers from whom you got that piece claim otherwise but if you actually listen to it you will see that they are, as they usually are wrong. If you have evidence that Brown ever suborned a public official in the manner alleged against Green then by all means inform the authorities. In any event I think you have anough experience of this sight to know how impressed people are by whataboutery as a substitute for arguemnt.

    I saw the interview. I thought the Home Secretary’s answers were pretty much spot on. Marr’s “apology” question was silly enough the first time. Presumably we got it three times because he hadn’t prepared properly.

  • Harry Flashman

    Sorry Jimmy, help me out here, did the police ever investigate whether Brown “suborned” a public official? The man publicly announced on national TV that a member of the civil service was feeding him privileged information, was that acceptable?

    The police did not arrest Gordon Brown because if any Tory minister had suggested they do so the police would have told them to catch themselves on. Investigating leaks of a non-sensitive matter are not the concern of the police, it is a matter for internal departmental management not the Anti-Terrorist squad and well you know it.

    If it was OK for Brown to receive leaks (and in my opinion it was perfectly acceptable for him to do so, that was his job) then it was OK for Damien Green, if it’s not OK for Green then Brown should now offer his resignation and present himself for questioning to his nearest police station for immediate interrogation.

    This is not “whataboutery” (Jimmy it is now an accepted truism on SO’T if you have to resort to that term then you’re losing the argument, badly), either it was acceptable for a Labour Opposition to use leaks to discredit the Tory government or it was not, if it was not then Gordon Brown should now be in jail.

    Simple really, I’m surprised you can’t work out such obvious logic.

  • Baz is a Bubble

    “I’m no expert, this was something I studied 40 years ago but surely Bogdanor was simply explaining that parliamentary privilege doesn’t extend to MPs’ offices (although other forms of privilege might) or shield them from criminal allegations.”

    One can’t have the police traipsing around Westminster, not since Charles I,

    cabinet is a sub-division of the Privy Council, the latter, are in charge of beheadings, and whippings, in the palace.

    Is that not so? The Speaker is supposed to tell swordsmen, to run him through, he is not supposed to rattle keys.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Harry,

    So many false premises in your post it’s hard to know where to begin:

    1. I’ve no idea whether police investigation Brown for suborning. I’m not aware he was ever accused of so doing. Are you suggesting he did?

    2. It is not the place of any Minister, of either party, to tell police officers who to arrest. If you are suggesting that this is what occurred here, you are going to have to come up with something more substantial than Guido Fawkes.

    3. What is alleged is a criminal act. If MPs believe it should not be then the remedy is in their hands. Unless and until this behaviour is legalized then it is the duty of the police to enforce the law.

    4. It is not an offence to receive leaked information. The fact that the tories wish to pretend that this is the offence for which Mr. Green was arrested does not make it true.

    5. Likewise the use of leaked information is not an offence. No-one is suggesting otherwise.

    I’m afraid what you are pleased to call your logic may not be as obvious as you believe.

  • Can anyone speak to whether the same methodology of search and arrest as happened in Green’s case could have happened to a journalist? One would think that similar protection of sources, if not superior, should be available to MPs as journalists and if it is not this should be urgently remedied.

  • @Harry Flashman –

    General Grant-Peterkin was not “a contender”, he was the previous incumbent and his contract was not renewed (i.e. he was sacked). Your post gives the impression the General and Assistant Serjeant-at-arms Pay were competing for the position from non-incumbency.

    As for Mrs Pay, her official bio says nothing about advertising, but does mention 14 years employment in the House and 4 as Assistant Serjeant-at-arms – the latter being rather pertinent I would think.

    In any case, Simon Hughes pointed out during a motion in the House in respect of General Grant-Peterkin’s “retirement” that due to changes in the office of the Serjeant Mrs Pay presides over one tenth of the personnel her predecessor did.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry,

    The Labour Party of Clement Atlee, Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot, Tony Benn and others should be hanging their heads in shame at what has become of their once mighty movement.

    I find it really bizarre that you’re taking this point of view. The Labour Party has always been full of insane people who see no problem with squashing civil liberties in order to secure threats to the state, and that includes several in that list. These are the crazy lunatics who, when in government, gave information about British missile and aircraft technology to Stalin, believing that he was a brother-in-arms. They refused to end rationing because they believed that the mythical socialist state would rise out of the end of market economics.

    Tony Benn, when he was energy secretary, proposed creating an unaccountable quasi-paramilitary police force to look after dangerous nuclear fuel and waste, and he forced through decisions on building new nuclear power stations overriding what were then serious concerns about their cost. He now claims that he was mislead, and that nuclear power stations are all about making weapons, but that’s clearly nonsense since as a cabinet minister he would have had access to all the information about the costs of nuclear energy and the early power stations which were designed to allow plutonium for weapons to be extracted.

    Sammy Morse pointed out to me the Ali G interview to me a while ago where they managed to wind up and insult Benn’s beliefs so much that he eventually exploded and said “I’m here to talk about the perfect society .. and if there ever is that perfect society, you better watch yourself because someone is going to shoot you in the back”. Tony Benn is great and speechmaking and great at criticizing the weaknesses in capitalism and government, but him and those like him must be kept well the fuck away from the levers of power at all costs, or you’ll end up halfway to a British Soviet Union.

    These Labour Party veterans are not and never were about preserving liberty or the British constitution. They’re about creating an authoritarian state. They believe in the sanctity of parliament, but they don’t believe in any restrictions on the powers of parliament. They don’t deserve to be anywhere near a discussion about liberty and rights.

  • Brian Walker

    Mark Dowling puts a good question: “Can anyone speak to whether the same methodology of search and arrest as happened in Green’s case could have happened to a journalist? One would think that similar protection of sources, if not superior, should be available to MPs as journalists and if it is not this should be urgently remedied.”
    Note the Murrer case which has been discussed alongside Damian Green’s, http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/nov/28/pressandpublishing-medialaw
    Journalists’ protection, traditionally customary and therefore subject to a judge’s ruling case by case has been stiffened a little by case law based on article 10 of ECHR by judicial review or directly through the HRA. This the latest case brought under the Terrorism Act. http://www.out-law.com/page-9195, One could argue that journalists enjoy better protection than MPs at the moment but all could change tomorrow – you never know.

  • As this link shows, the Speaker is nothing more than a partisan hack, and should be sacked:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/dec/02/damian-green-michael-martin

    And with Stephenson and Quick now hoping to become the Mets’ Chief Commissioner, thanks to their dirty work against Green, Orde would have made a big mistake not to apply too, given Boris Johnson’s role in the process, and position on Green’s arrest, etc.

  • Harry Flashman

    Once again Jimmy you spectacularly miss the point, the reason we don’t know whether Brown suborned an official is because there was never any investigation to find out whether he did, unlike in Green’s case where a couple of coppers in line for a big job which is in the gift of the Home Secretary helpfully arrest a man who was embarrassing the Home Secretary by investigating minor leaks in the Home Secretary’s department.

    Stinks Jimmy boy, stinks to high heaven.

    What are the odds do you think that the official who gave Brown all those leaks back then is now a senior official in the current civil service? Pretty huge I’d say, wouldn’t you? Can you say “suborning”?

    Just for the record we know for a fact that there wasn’t a shred of evidence that Green did suborn the civil servant. How do we know this? Simple, if there had been evidence the cops could have gone to a judge with it and applied for a search warrant. The fact that they didn’t (even after questioning the civil servant for eight days and monitoring his calls) and instead went with an archaic old law that no one knows much about in order to trawl through Green’s home and office looking for evidence tells you all you need to know about this case and the evidence, or in actual fact total lack of evidence, they had against Green.

    Here’s a bet; this case will be dropped like a hot potato before the week is out, the Met themselves know the damage they have done to themselves over this, they know the Labour Party will not be in power forever and the two idiot cops who thought they could become Chief Constable will be teaching traffic safety in Watford.

  • Dave

    When they get over the squabbling, will they ever codify the privileged offered to members of parliament so that everybody knows that they are and that the relevant authorities won’t have to consult with history professors in case they breech conventions from 1642? If the rules were codified, would Damian Green have been allowed to plant a mole in a government department? I think not. That is very close to spying (and open to such abuse by foreign agencies controlling MPs), and no MP should be allowed that ‘privilege’ in the interests of national security. On the other hand, they should be not be subjected to prosecuting if leaked documents are sent to them by so-called whistleblowers.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Of course you can say that in the absence of an investigation we cannot be certain the Brown did not commit a criminal offence. One could say the same about you. It’s not quite the brilliant argument you seem to think it is. The premise of your entire argument is that the police have no evidence. The irony of making this assertion without evidence is lost on you it would seem. You may of course be right that police end up dropping this for fear of reprisals after a change of government. I find it quite bizarre that you seem to think this would be a good thing.

  • Dave

    Harry, there is an article in The Times by a former Chief Constable which unwittingly reveal the contempt in which he holds democratic accountability (thanks to the quangoisation of the UK under the left). They have delegated too much power to committees, and those committees resent having to account to others for how they use it. Instead of allowing them to squeal about “political interference” and ‘due procedure’ as if accountability was wrong, the government needs to ‘interfere’ more and make these bodies fully responsive and compliant with the will of parliment:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5270167.ece

  • Posters should also know that Andy Hayman resigned from the Met under a cloud of complaints about his behavior.

    He was sanctioned by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, thanks to input by Johnson’s MPA, for breaking the rules when his squad murdered poor Jean Charles de Menezes, and was directed to change his conduct in future – what led to his immediate resignation.

    At the time, he was being investigated for expense claims and taking trips abroad with a woman police sergeant.

    Hayman was also one of the Untouchables who has kept the lid on the murder of South London private detective Daniel Morgan over 20 years ago. Morgan was killed with help from the police to help keep the lid, it seems, on who killed Olof Palme, and then Captin Bob Maxwell.

    Any respectable police service can certainly do without the likes of Hayman.

  • Harry Flashman

    Speaker Martin has now publicly admitted that the lack of a warrant was the key issue in this whole fiasco as I pointed out. Remember you heard it from your uncle Harry first.

  • Harry Flashman

    “You may of course be right that police end up dropping this for fear of reprisals after a change of government. I find it quite bizarre that you seem to think this would be a good thing.”

    No, Jimmy once again (yawn) you miss the point, it was I who asked earlier whether those who were happy with what happened to Green would be happy with the Tories doing the same thing, well let me put on record now I would be very unhappy indeed if the Tories in government pulled this sort of stunt, I don’t like political policing, you Jimmy on the other hand don’t seem to mind so long as it’s a Tory getting done over.

    That’s the difference between you and me, I’m unhappy with party political policing of any stripe, you don’t seem to mind so much as long as Labour are in power.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Harry,

    Again your point is based on an invented premise, that somehow Green was arrested at the behest of the Labour Party. It is an hysterical assumption widely repeated by the more swivel-eyed right wing bloggers but remains unsubstantiated and inherently implausible. I don’t believe Green had the right to spy on his opponents any more than Richard Nixon did. If he believes that the privacy of an MPs private office should be respected, then sending a party hack to rummage around in a fellow MPs files is hardly the way to demonstrate that belief. Whether his alleged conduct was illegal is a matter for the courts. If true it was certainly sneaky, dishonourable and reprehensible, and contrary to your assertion, I would not defend it were the boot on the other foot.