Who knew? Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and thus one of the Met’s bosses, was informed prior to the event. So was David Cameron. Apparently the Home Secretary, the Police Minister and the rest of the Government were not informed – maybe. In fact, there is a barely-discernible amount of wiggle room being inserted. Phil Woolas on the Today programme this morning said only that, to his knowledge, no Minister had been informed. Jacqui Smith, in her statement, said that the arrest had happened without ministerial involvement or authorisation. There’s a distinction between being informed and being involved – though I doubt whether semantics will help the Government if it turns out that they were informed.
On the basis that the Government weren’t informed, why the hell not? This is pre-eminently a political decision. The “crime” involved here was the leaking of political documents. The man arrested was shadow Home Secretary (incidentally, I wonder how many anti-terrorist officers David Davis would have taken down with him?). This was a political operation. Why the fuck didn’t the police keep the Home Office informed? Rozzers aren’t famous for their willingness to stick their head over the political parapet. Why did they rush over the top on this occasion?
Anti-terrorist police – what the fuck? I mean, what the fucking fuck? On the same day that terrorists cause carnage in Mumbai, with British subjects involved, with security levels presumably pretty high, why the fuck are numerous anti-terrorist police storming the home of a 52 year old MP? Disproportionate much?
Mr Speaker. Why did he give permission for the police to search Damian Green’s office? There’s a lot of civil war references flying around, and what they stand for is the role of Parliament. The Speaker’s job is to represent Parliament; he would have been well within his rights to refuse permission until the matter had been more clearly explained and/or charges had been brought: so what was he playing at?
This has the potential to be a real disaster for the Met Police, and for the Government if more comes out about the details behind this. Hopefully that will prevent future such arrests every time news that embarrasses Gordon Brown leaks out.