The good news is that Jacqui Smith didn’t issue a warrant. The bad news is that Plod didn’t ask for one. Michael Martin, aka Gorbals Mick, embattled Speaker of the UK House of Commons, admitted today that the Police had no warrant to search the office of Tory MP Damian Green. Jill Pay (the first woman to wear the Sergeant-at-Arms’ skirt, black tights and buckled pumps in Parliament’s long history) neither informed the Speaker of the search nor asked whether the police officers were authorised. The implications are damning either way. Cabinet members are still sticking to their threadbare soundbite that in a democracy, the police should be allowed to go about their business in the way they see fit ‘without fear or favour.’ If this includes sifting through the Opposition Shadow Minister’s constituency files with no warrant, then their definition of ‘democracy’ needs to be explained to the nation.
On the grounds that this story is now big news and in the public domain, and not strictly THUS, I’m moving on, with the observation that I first made. This is bigger than a tribal squabble. We still don’t know what was leaked, apart from the story that 5000 illegal immigrants were given security clearance to guard government people and premises. The degree of obfuscation, filibustering and high-risk deflection tactics on the part of the Home Office suggests that one or more of the remaining 20 papers which fell into the hands of the Tory Front Bench (not a terrorist organisation) was politically sensitive. The police, as represented by acting Met Chief Sir Paul Stephenson, have characteristically exonerated themselves from any operational blame while stating that no consultation took place with Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary. If no warrant was obtained, presumably none was requested. If Mr. Green and the civil servant in question were spied on and bugged without authorisation and the government still insists this is permissable police operational procedure, then we have our answer as to what type of democracy we are building in Britain, if we don’t already know.
PS. This couldn’t have anything to do with NL and Police fixation with ‘Immigration’ could it? The ‘routine enquiries’ of the investigating officers were carried out by members of the anti-terrorist squad.