Sunday, March 25, 2007

Politicians are not "above the law" and should not get special treatment

If the exclusive in this morning's Sunday Telegraph is correct, then I have to say I have serious concerns about the Metropolitan Police's political independence. They say that Inspector Yates was told, in no uncertain terms, that if he interviewed Blair under caution, thereby treating him as a suspect and not a witness in the "cash for honours" investigation he would resign. Their source said
"Make no mistake, Scotland Yard was informed that Mr Blair would resign as Prime Minister if he was interviewed under caution.... They were placed in a very difficult position indeed."
Difficult position is not the word, the Police should not be placed in a position like that ever, their job is to act according to political consideration, their job is to act according to the nature of a criminal investigation. A caution does not mean, necessarily, that you are a suspect anyway, the caution exists to ensure that the possibility of someone lying is made less likely.

The implication in the Telegraph story is that the investigation is waiting for him to step down voluntarily first before interviewing him under caution. If the story is correct, then the complaints about the length of time the investigation is taking actually reflects on Downing Street rather than the Met, but, simultaneously, undermines the position of the Police as an independent organisation that upholds the rule of law.

Imagine, if a non-political person found themselves a point of interest in an investigation and might have to resign if interviewed under caution. The Police would simply ignore a request to only be seen as a witness to avoid the embarrassment of having to quit. What is the point of the rule of law if its prosecution is constrained by political considerations? It completely undermines the notion that people are equal before the law.


Anonymous said...

And??? I dont see the problem here,hes leaving anyway so what would a couple of weeks matter?.he has his legacy IRAQ so off with him otherwise
in a real sense he is above the law.

dizzy said...

The police are supposed to be independent of politics, not part of it.

Arthurian Legend said...

I agree with you Dizzy.

I appreciate that it would have taken balls of steel for Yates to have proceeded with an interview under caution anyway, but I can't think that any of Blair's successors would have been leaping to enact reprisals on Blair's behalf...

Anonymous said...

Covered this (and the previous post) on my blog.

Interesting that Sutcliffe made the statement "It is utterly untrue that he instructed his office to do this” before they saw the leaked email, then changed their stance somewhat. Notice the correlation with Bliar's spokesperson, who said "It is not true that such a message was conveyed to the police".

Anonymous said...

We need an investigation into the conduct of this entire government, its rotten to the core.

Yates did the right thing, the risk was having it shut down 'in the national interest' if he had insisted. Its hardly shocking news is it, THE only bloke that can sign the recommendations had to be a suspect. Nobody else can recommend peerages, it is of course entirely in keeping with teh public facts. If the Labour Party treasurer didnt know about it and Bliar and Brown spent all the money campaigning it would be daft for him not to be a suspect in the Cash-for-peerages investigation.

They need to charge Levy and Turner, if they are going to now, the public will not accept the charge sbeing held back until he leaves. That will just reinforce the public perception that NuLab are above the law.