Thursday, 27 November 2008

Senior Tory arrested

. Damien Green, the Conservative immigration spokesman, has been arrested and questioned over a series of leaks from the Home Office. Green, who denies any wrongdoing, was questioned on suspicion of "conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office," the Metropolitan Police said.

The BBC reports that the leaks included;

  • The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.

  • The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.
  • A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.
  • A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

The Conservative Party is describing the arrest as "Stalinesqe" and sticking by Mr Green. Two things; yes the arrest was wrong however, the claim by Cameron that all this information was in the 'public interest' is slightly tenuous to my mind. Frankly, the employment arrangements of a single House of Commons cleaner seem completely irrelevant to the public interest to my mind; they do however, seem to have certain party political value. I am just surprised it wasn't Labour's Phil Woolas who spotted that one.

UPDATE: While defending Green's civil liberties I think Conservative Home perfectly illustrates here why it is right to be careful of the 'public interest' defence...


Lee Griffin said...

Public interest or not, if the information isn't classified or/and potentially a threat to security then it's up to him what he does with the information.

The fact that the police, and thus by extension the government who would have to press for such things, want to have a stranglehold on this information and how it is served to us is extremely worrying.

Darrell G said...


I completly accept that point; frankly, it's just the sheer self-importance of Cameron that rubs me up the wrong way as i've just made clear on Iain Dales blog.

Don't get me wrong - i'm on Green's side in that sense but I just wish Cameron could find something to say that like I say I dont find so self-important...