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So who had ‘prior knowledge’?

November 28th, 2008

Who knew Damien Green was about to be arrested?

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON, KNEW
“The Mayor of London has expressed grave concern over the arrest of Conservative frontbencher, Damian Green. Boris johnson, who chairs the Metropolitan Police Authority expressed his concerns – in trenchant terms – ahead of his arrest. A spokesman said the Mayor finds it hard to believe that on the day when terrorist have gone on the rampage in India that anti terror police in Britain have apparently targeted an elected representative of Parliament for no greater crime than allegedly receiving leaked documents. The Mayor told the new acting commissioner of the Met that he would need to see convincing evidence that this action was necessary and proportionate. He suggested that this is not the common sense policing that people want when London faces a real potential terror threat and serious knife crime problem on the streets.”

DAVID CAMERON, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, KNEW
“”It has come to an extraordinary pass when opposition politicians, questioning the government, calling it to account, making information available in the public interest, are being arrested … If this had happened in the 1930s Winston Churchill would have been arrested … If we routinely arrest politician who have made public information that they’d been passed, Gordon Brown would have spent quite a lot of time at the police station.”

MICHAEL MARTIN, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, SURELY KNEW
Only the Serjeant-at-Arms, who reports to the Speaker, could authorise the search of Green’s Parliamentary Office, and would have consulted the Speaker before allowing such an extraordinary event.

JACQUI SMITH, HOME SECRETARY, DIDN’T KNOW

GORDON BROWN, PRIME MINISTER, DIDN’T KNOW

What is interesting about this case is that in absence of any facts about the case, it has become a process story about who knew what, and when they knew it. The Government seem quite keen to impress upon us that no minister knew in advance that Damien Green was to be questioned by police.

This seems remarkable. I don’t know the last time that a member of the Opposition front bench was arrested and his offices searched, but for the Metropolitan Police to act without consulting the Home Secretary will invite very many questions about their decision-making processes. Of course, one man who would surely have made that call would be Sir Ian Blair, whose last day as the UK’s most senior police officer came yesterday, having been abandoned to the wolves by the Home Secretary when the new Mayor expressed that he should no longer continue in post.

Curioser and curioser.

Morus






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