Tory frontbencher Damian Green arrested


by Leon
27th November, 2008 at 9:36 pm    

The BBC reports:

Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green, was arrested earlier and had his home and Commons office searched by police.

He was held on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office,” the Metropolitan Police said. He has not been charged but is being questioned by police. The Conservatives say he denies any wrongdoing.

It is understood to be connected to alleged leaks of information from the Home Office.

Interesting news, I wonder how many leakers must be a little more nervous than usual tonight?

Update: An excellent piece over at Liberal Conspiracy by Unity about this case.

Update 2: There’s been a fair amount of bloggers getting riled up about this, I’m not going to link to them all but suffice to say Iain Dale’s leading the charge, albeit slightly verging on self parody in my opinion, with this ditty . Along with Unity above Hopi Sen has some sensible things to say including this:

When Lord Levy, Ruth Turner and John McTernan were arrested by the Metropolitan police, It was Labour people who were outraged by police tactics, and right wing blogs who were cheering on the arresting officers and calling for the Prime Minister to be arrested. I don’t remember too many comments about the politicisation of the police or how similar it was to the age of Stalin.


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  1. douglas clark — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:08 pm  

    Leon,

    The mind boggles:

    “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office,”

    I seem to remember, a long time ago when Post Office Regulations were quite strict on that sort of thing.

    I thought John Major and Edwina Currie had moved us, well them anyway, away from that sort of innuendo.

    What has he done?

  2. Leon — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:23 pm  

    Looks like the Tories are going on the attack on this, George Osbourne is on Question Time tonight and goes on about it. Iain Dale is putting forward the ‘another step towards totalitarian state’ line which will no doubt stir up the Conservative Libertarian brigade.

    It is interesting the timing of this though. This week it’s begun to look like the Tories were getting their act together regarding attacking the government and this will derail that. Ever since Peter Mandleson has returned they’ve not been having the best time have they…?

  3. douglas clark — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:36 pm  

    Leon,

    But there must be a huge number of people that haven’t a fucking clue what “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office,” actually means. And it looks to me that no statement is about to be forthcoming.

  4. Leon — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:39 pm  

    Well the police think they have a working definition!

  5. douglas clark — on 27th November, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

    Well, let us hope it is forthcoming! You have no idea how much I like Vicars’ screwing prostitutes, and such like. They are hypocrites, are they not? I actually get pleasure out of the complete utter fuck up what thay claim to be.

    Sad, I know.

  6. Kulvinder — on 28th November, 2008 at 1:27 am  

    I’m curious how the authoritarian wing of the tory party will respond to this; after all they seem incapable of fathoming the concept of a dictatorial police force.

    I’m also very puzzled how the government can claim that Brown didn’t know, either the met is totally ignoring the home secretary, the home secretary is ignoring the prime minister or the government is lying; either way something doesn’t add up. If Boris Johnson was informed as apparently was David Cameron, why not Jacqui Smith?

  7. marvin — on 28th November, 2008 at 2:03 am  

    I’m curious how the authoritarian wing of the tory party will respond to this; after all they seem incapable of fathoming the concept of a dictatorial police force.

    I believe there are just as many, authoritarians in the current day Labour party than current day Tory party, especially if policy announcements are anything to go by.

    I applaud the so far principled comments here, not sniping partisanship that’s all too often par for the course on politco blogs.

  8. Kulvinder — on 28th November, 2008 at 2:45 am  

    Yeah but i plan on voting them out :)

  9. Steve55 — on 28th November, 2008 at 9:54 am  

    Nothing to do with hanky pany – this is one of the offences created by the anti-terrorism laws. It’s being used to get at Green because he’s received leaked documents.

  10. Rumbold — on 28th November, 2008 at 9:58 am  

    It is always difficult to comment on stories when there is so little information available, but it is interesting how the reaction from the Conservatives seems to be “how dare you arrest him- he is an MP. Aren’t they supposed to be above the law? He’s one of us.”

  11. Steve55 — on 28th November, 2008 at 10:00 am  

    Actually there’s a sense in which that is true – that’s the whole notion of ‘parliamentary privilege’. Also a lot of the laws passed by Parliament specifically exclude Parliament itself from their operation.

  12. Rumbold — on 28th November, 2008 at 10:02 am  

    Steve55:

    Well, if he turns out to have been arrested for merely passing on suppressed information, that is bad. But I will wait and see.

  13. Leon — on 28th November, 2008 at 10:11 am  

    It is always difficult to comment on stories when there is so little information available, but it is interesting how the reaction from the Conservatives seems to be “how dare you arrest him- he is an MP. Aren’t they supposed to be above the law? He’s one of us.”

    Yep, agree on both counts. There seems to be a little bit of a phycological impact with this.

  14. Simon Marshland — on 28th November, 2008 at 10:59 am  

    If the police informed Cameron, Johnson and the Speaker of the Commons of the forthcoming arrest, the claim the Home Secretary wasn’t informed is ridiculous. After all it was the Home Office that started the inquiry in the first place. Jaqui Smith owes us an explanation if Stasi type terror police are to be given a free reign to arrest and search the homes of innocent people.

  15. Steve55 — on 28th November, 2008 at 12:16 pm  

    It seems this is all about the leaking of home office documents concerning immigration and other matters to Green and the police arrested him and searched his office at the Palace of Westminster as part of this. This raises all sorts of questions such as why go after the recipient of the leaked papers when he’s using them to pursue his role as an opposition spokesman – I should think the public interest defence is very strong – secondly why were anti-terrorist squad officers involved and why was it neccessary for nine of them to arrest him, why did the Speaker allow an MP’s office to be searched in this way for what we are led to believe was a relatively trivial matter, and given that Boris Johnson and David Cameron were both informed in advance how come the Home Secretary was not informed? I don’t know which is worse actually – that she knew about this and allowed it to go ahead or that the police went ahead and did this while telling the opposition but not her.

  16. C Chandra — on 28th November, 2008 at 8:20 pm  

    Everyone, Right or Left, should be shocked and worried by this heavy-handed action by police shock-troops. This country is turning authoritarian and it seems to me that readers of this blog should be asking themselves if gloating because this has happened to a Tory politician is a sensible reaction. What will you say when the Tories are back in power and it is Labour mp’s being arrested?

  17. Shamit — on 28th November, 2008 at 9:54 pm  

    Leon you really thought the Unity piece was excellent.

    It was reeking of partisan positioning — everything Tory is wrong — and trying to defend a heavy handedness and confusing “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office” with Official Secrets Act.

    And why is it not in the public interest to know the Home Secretary’s Opinion (who is ultimately responsible for law and order in the UK) on crime?

    And police going in and searching an MP’s office in the houses of Parliament is not good for our democracy. Our whole system of democracy is based on the premise that Parliament is supreme.

    And I also find it bizzare like many others here that the Government is claiming no knowledge prior to the fact. But in their defence I don’t think the Labour Ministers are that stupid to sanction this.

    May be it was Ian Blair fiasco in his last day as Commissioner..”yeah I got a MP’s office searched by anti-terror officers in my last day who is Tory front bench” . You can put nothing past Sir Ian.

    You also have to wonder about the Speaker’s backbone…

    Good points C Chandra@16

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