Arrest of Tory MP: Cameron comment

David Cameron, interviewed by the BBC early this morning, gave a strong statement of concern that a front bench opposition spokesman was arrested yesterday and asked the perfectly reasonable question why it was necessary for nine counter-terrorism police officers to search his house and others to search his office in Parliament.  Cameron said “If they wanted to talk to Damien Green… why didn’t they pick up the telephone.”

The BBC reports: ” Police say Mr Green was held on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office” and “aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office”. He was released on bail until a date in February….. The MP has denied any wrongdoing and said “opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account” and that he would “continue to do so”.

Cameron made the point that government ministers did not know anything bout the arrest – despite the fact that both he and the Speaker had been told shortly before – and that in itself raised further questions and that if they did not know “what do they think about the fact that an opposition politician has been arrested for making public information in the public interest and which may be uncomfortable for the government.”

We hear that leaking has been almost a tradition of government in this country – and, it would appear,  political journos are waiting to see if the famed “Treasury Mole” is soon to be outed – so what was exceptional in this situation..?

The BBC has a Q&A page on this:   One question is particularly interesting…

Has this happened before?

No. It is unprecedented for an MP to be arrested and his office searched by police in connection with a leak inquiry. The law Mr Green is suspected of breaking is an obscure, little-used piece of legislation.

The story unfolds….

***

UPDATE: 13.30 Friday 28th November

1.  Edinburgh advocate Reactionary Snob has a robust view

From the comments section… “But I don’t believe that this was a breach of the official secrets act, or that doesn’t seem to be what the police are saying…….Furthermore, is Jacqui Smith not in operational control of Counter Terrorism?

I am struggling to believe that none of the Attorney General, the Home Secretary or the Justice Secretary knew about this knew about the intention to arrest a senior MP and search his offices (a la King Charles)?….. The speaker and the serjeant at arms knew about it… and are we to believe that Gorbals Mick did not think to ring the PM with the juicy goss?”

See also: Reactionary Snob:

The crunch of jackboots on the autumn leaves

This is a matter for the police…The Prime Minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest of Mr Green and was only informed after the event.

“Hmmm. I don’t believe this, I can’t believe this. The Police are either completely fucking stupid (admittedly not outwith the realms of possibility) but more likely they were either a) instructed to do this (unlikely) or b) made sure that their arses were gold-plated before they arrested an MP (i.e. getting direct authorisation to proceed from within Westminster). Dim as the Met can be there is no way on Earth they would have sent 6 armed anti-terror police into an elected representative’s house (and offices) without covering themselves from the inevitable shitstorm.”

UPDATE: 2.30 pm 28th November


1.  Douglas Carswell MP“Speaker sanctioned Police Raid.”

Carswell writes: ” Guido Fawkes is brilliant today – pointing out that no action was taken when public officials conspired to give the BBC’s Robert Peston sensitive information – allegedly.

2. Guido Fawkes: Arrest Osborne next – he seems to be in receipt of  secret Treasury information?

3.  I am doing a Podcast on this Farago with Carl Gardner, Head of Legal tomorrow morning.

Should be fun.

UPDATE: 6.45 pm 28th November

1.  Joshua Rozenburg in The Telegraph suggests that the arrest of Damien Green MP was not as perplexing as it would seem.  A worthy (and interesting)  article explaining the law – but doesn’t address the real issue of *Why* the PM, Home Secretary, other senior government ministers were not told in advanve whereas The Speaker, David Cameron  and Boris Johnson were told in advance

Rozenburg suggests that Green was arrested after Parliament was prorogued and to make it easier for the Police to search his office when he wasn’t there.  Surely the Police did not withold information about the imminent arrest from the PM, the Home Secretary and other Labour officials in case ‘the information leaked out’?   That would be ridiculous.

2. Bearwatch:  A warning from History

Charles I attempts to arrest five Members of Parliament, 6 January 1642

The story continues…..


16 thoughts on “Arrest of Tory MP: Cameron comment

  1. denied any wrongdoing!?! i think i would have to advise him to plead guilty to being a member of an organisation with links to prostitution, drugs, the russian mafia and boris johnson.
    lucky ian blair didn’t shoot him as a goodbye to the job and his beloved fuhrer.

    right – one is a start, but let’s get going on locking up the rest of the buggers.

  2. try and read the guido fawkes gibberish. seems a plot to end democracy in britain by zanu-labour nazi fascist poopoo browny bum bum must have tory governemnt now or i shall cry a lot.
    i think that was about the level of analysis. it’s good really, the more we hear from these slackjawed limpwits, the more people will be able to make a judgment – curious the decline in cameron’s polls when he actually says anything.

  3. Gotta agree with SW. Down the old bill shop for a right good kicking – preferably with added ‘accident’ on those oh so slippery station steps very character forming for the average Tory MP…

    Alive and apparently well btw – just suffering from a no fixed abode situation with added bust hard drive in lappy problem. Hope normal blogging will resume soon!

  4. Ms R – It is bizarre. I’m doing a podcast on this with Carl Gardner tomorrow morning. It is extraordinary that Cameron and The Speaker knew – but not one senior member of the government (PM / Home Sec et al) knew in advance. Beggars belief that Met would go into Parliament with counter-terrorism officers (Or old Special Branch as it used to be called, apparently) and search without getting clearance from government.

    As Reactionary Snob has observed. Met would have cleared it to cover their backs when the “Shit storm” breaks – Surely?

    http://reactionarysnob.blogspot.com/2008/11/green-around-gills.html

  5. SW / White Rabbit

    Excellent nonsense….. Mind you… the rabid horde on Guido’s comment system are really going for it.

    Extraordinary story – I am baffled as to how not even the Home Secretary did not know. I am sure the Met don’t apprise her of every operation of a serious nature they are mounting – but one would have thought that they may have taken the view that The Home Sec – after all, responsible for Police – should be informed when they decide to storm into an MPs office in Parliament?

    Why did they decide to tell Cameron? Easy enough to work out – one of his MPs – but the Speaker?

    White Rabbit – excellent to hear from you – good to know that you will soon be returning to blogging – always welcome as a ‘guest blogger’ on here… pro tem… until you get your laptop sorted if you have a mind to write!

  6. if the the speaker was told it could be because all mps are potentially ‘his mps’.

    at least the guido mob are distracted momentarily in their single-handed search for keyboard-gumming internet porn.

    some tory mp (douglas carswell whoever he is – looks quite a keyboard-gummer himself from the picture he is rash enough to have put on his blog) has been calling for the speaker’s balls. it’s quite delightful that those who would froth most voluminously at the mouth when presented with a contravention of the innocent until proven guilty principle will apply it (rather like human rights) only to those with whom they personally agree. how dare the police arrest this chap who has clearly done nothing wrong. quick! arrest the speaker cos he must have done something or other wrong just we don’t know about it sort of thing… and these people feel entitled to comment on the legal system? my son has more idea of natural justice.

    somebody pop out for a bit more twisted logic, please, we’ve used up our big box already!

  7. i read from the marxist bbc (sic…yawn) that:
    ‘Former minister Denis MacShane said that the Speaker should make clear that MPs were entitled to hold sensitive material in the same way as lawyers and doctors.’

    is there some new version of legal professional privilege that covers mps’ documents???

    if it emerges that the govt had nothing to do with it, might it not rather push the notion that the police are actually not politicised? however stupid you credit the govt with being (and it’s about the only credit they have left) they would know this is a bad idea politically.
    i bet we wouldn’t have heard a peep from the tories about a police state if they had done the same to a muslim labour mp.
    of course that’s only logical as those brown johnnies are up to their necks in terrorism.

    i think like any politicians they are simply determined to make the maximum party-political mileage out of it and are not too worried about any facts that may get in the way of some cheap point-scoring. maybe gordon will get some ideas from it himself!

  8. Pingback: Senior Tory, Damien Green MP, angered by his arrest « Insitelaw magazine

  9. A most effective way of plugging a leak is to use the communist insurgent tactic of executing one villager to teach obedence to the rest!

    The powers used by the Police are those which were given to them by the very same MPs that are now ‘bleating’ about ‘Jackboots’ in a ‘Police State’.!

    Well, the Police State under which the rest of us live has now intruded upon the sanctity of Parliament and MPs do not like the the world they create intruding upon their lives and affecting them personally do they?!!

    Oh how I laughed!

  10. Considering Joshua Rozenburg’s note (linked in the main body of your blog, above): isn’t this an abuse of process?

    Green has been arrested so that his premises / offices can be “legally” searched with a view to finding evidence to convict another. My question would be … is the search reallylegal? Yes, they are using statutory powers given in PACE 1984 but the police knew that they would never prosecute Green. His prosecution would veryt probably fail both the public interest test and the ‘chance of success’ test. Doesn’t this negate the legality of the search?

    Can anyone satisfy the curiousity of someone with the analytical powers of a mere CPE holder?

  11. Pingback: Podcast 80: With Carl Gardner on The arrest of Damien Green MP « Charon QC…the blawg

  12. Pingback: 30th November: Postcard from The Boat « Charon QC…the blawg

  13. ‘His prosecution would veryt probably fail both the public interest test and the ‘chance of success’ test. Doesn’t this negate the legality of the search?’

    who knows? but if it did, it wouldn’t make anything they got inadmissible as courts are determined not to let the wholesale flouting of pace get in the way of a good trial. [of course, if the didn't have a case anyway, it wouldn't help...]

    round of applause here for james introducing mp’s to real life.

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