Saturday, November 04, 2017

Good Liberals were up in arms when the police raided Damian Green's Commons office in 2008

It seems tomorrow's Sunday Times is reporting that police found "extreme pornography" on Damian Green's computer when they raided his Commons office and impounded it in 2008.

When we have finished giggling, it might be a good idea to recall that at the time all good Liberals were up in arms over that raid.

Here is the House Points column I wrote for Liberal Democrat News that week...

MPs Collared

Michael Jabez Foster said just one constituent had raised the search of Damian Green’s office with him. It was "self-indulgence", he argued, for MPs to debate it.

But the people of Hastings and Rye should be more concerned with the health of parliamentary democracy. So this column is devoted to some of Monday’s more enlightened contributions.

Theresa May: "Constituents do not give information to their Member of Parliament on the basis that one day it might be pored over by police officers. Parliamentary privilege is not our privilege; it is the people’s privilege."

Elfyn Llwyd: "It seems rather strange that we should be discussing the whole idea of prejudicing the inquiry, given that the Government tried to force through the 42-day measure on the premise that we were all going to discuss issues to do with individuals."

Simon Hughes: "If the police knocked on the door of one of my constituents in Southwark or Bermondsey, everybody inside would know … they do not have to let the police in unless they have a warrant."

Dominic Grieve: "Since the passage of the Official Secrets Act 1989, the leaking of material not concerning national security has ceased to be a criminal offence. On what basis, therefore, is a civil servant arrested for that, and on what conceivable basis is my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford [Damian Green] arrested?"

Menzies Campbell: "Our responsibilities involve both the scrutiny of Government and the redress of grievance. If we cannot be confident that our communications with our constituents are confidential, there is necessarily an inhibition in our ability to fulfil those responsibilities."

Andrew Mackinlay: "Leaks are food and drink to me as a backbench Member of Parliament, and I do not want to stop them coming to me."

Kenneth Clarke: "I first met the Leader of the House [Harriet Harman] when she was the legal adviser to the National Council for Civil Liberties. She was a pretty feisty, radical lawyer in those days, and … she would not conceivably have made the speech then that she made an hour or two ago. She would have been leading demonstrations outside about the behaviour of the Government."

I am not sure what Simon’s claim tells us about South London, but it was a good debate.

1 comment:

Hywel said...

They can't have found any such thing because there was no legal definition of extreme pornography in 2008 (the act didn't come into force until Jan 2009. So the police either found legal pornography or illegal pornography. As they seem not to have taken any action it looks like it was the former.

So not really sure what the story is here.