Friday, 28 November 2008

The arrest of Damian Green

I have found this a genuinely shocking story. It appears that the Speaker sanctioned the raiding of Mr Green's Commons offices by counter-terrorist police officers. Why did he do so? On whose authority was he acting? Did he even have the power to do so? Cramner reminds of the words of Speaker Lenthall in resisting when Charles I entered the House to search for five members accused of high treason:

"May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here."

Speaker Martin was a disaster even before this. He must go now.

And why counter-terrorist officers? There has been no suggestion that Green was involved in the leaking of any material relating to defence, national security or intelligence matters.

But, most importantly, why was he arrested at all? We are told it was in connection with an alleged offence of aiding, abetting, procuring or commissioning an act amounting to misconduct in public office. In other words, a civil servant leaked something to him. Whether that could ever amount to misconduct in public office where the vital interests of the state are not involved is a moot point. But was is not is that it could never be in the public interest to even consider prosecuting an opposition spokesman to whom such a leaking was made.

Was this Ian Blair having one last swipe at the Tories after being sacked by Boris? In which case, he is an even bigger fool than I thought he was. Or was it HMG trying to intimidate the person or persons who have been leaking at the Treasury? In which case it is an obscene abuse of power.

We are told that the Prime Minister was not informed that the arrest was planned; and Phil Woolas said on the radio this morning that 'so far as he was aware', no Ministers had prior knowledge. What a crock of shit. If Home Office Ministers, and I should imagine, the Home Secretary, were not informed in advance of such a rare and controversial step, then the Met is completely out of control. If Brown was not officially 'informed', that's because he didn't want to be.

Blair once called New Labour 'the political wing of the British people'. Today it appears that the Met is the political wing of New Labour. Never has that standby epithet of right wing bloggers, ZanuLabour, seemed more appropriate.

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