Thursday, December 04, 2008

Did Mr Speaker mislead the House?

Machiavelli believes so. As he notes the Police said,
"The officers informed the Serjeant at Arms that the provisions of Section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act required that they first seek consent of the person who occupies or controls the premises where they believe evidence may be found."
Letter: Assistant Commissioner Robert Quick QPM MBA to the Home Secretary, 3 December 2008, in House of Commons Library Deposited Papers.
However, the Speaker said yesterday that,
the police did not explain, as they are required to do, that the Serjeant was not obliged to consent, or that a warrant could have been insisted upon."
If you are required to SEEK consent, it necessarily follows that there is no OBLIGATION to give it. Does this not place the Speaker on flaky foundations?

UPDATE: The following letter from the Police to Harriet Harman argues that the law was followed in their view.

Document via Guido via Wikileaks.
Note: For Iain Dale, the tag is "Damien" and not "Damian" and I can't be arsed to change it. I'm illiterate and proud!


Anonymous said...

"Does this not place the Speaker on flaky foundations?"


Anything else I can help you with?

dizzy said...

Why not?

Anonymous said...

Because you are making the mistake of thinking that debates like this unfold along the lines of an Oxford philosophy tutorial. I agree with your (or rather Machiavelli's) textual analysis of what Martin said but it is far too subtle a point to have any bearing at all on the political debate. This is about politics and nothing else. That's why all the discussion about the law and the constitution is just so much hot air.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, to avoid accusations of 'sock-puppetry' or whatever you call it, the anonymous comment at 14.48 was me. A slip of the mouse!

dizzy said...

I assumed as such, although you would not get accused of such things here anyway. I am from the libertarian side of the Internet that doesn't care if you choose to have an argument with yourself under different identities in here.

dizzy said...

In fact, I should add, that it can actually enhance discourse.

marksany said...

I argue with myself all the time.

marksany said...

No I don't

T England. Raised from the dead. said...

Sorry to go off topic but with all the other news this might have been missed!

jailhouselawyer said...

Yes, the Speaker did mislead the House.

Anon: "This is about politics and nothing else".

Complete and utter tosh. It is about the law and politics.

It was wrong of Damian Green to use Parliamentary privilege to argue in the House that he had not broken the law and forward his in the public interest defence.

There are two wrong uns here 1) Christopher Galley and 2) Damian Green.

In my view, both should save their defence for the judge.

dizzy said...

"It was wrong of Damian Green to use Parliamentary privilege to argue in the House that he had not broken the law and forward his in the public interest defence."

When you say it was wrong JHL you mean "ethically and morally" I presume and not legally?

Anonymous said...


But as far as I can tell, despite all the blustering to the contrary, no law has been broken. The police acted lawfully and Green hasn't even been charged (and I would bet money that he won't ever be). So at the end of the day this is just about politics. That's what makes all the feigned outrage of the politicians so nauseating.

Did NWO Fabians murder John Smith MP? said...

The speaker is useless.

jailhouselawyer said...

Dizzy: legally, ethically and morally.

Whilst it is embarrassing for the Tories that Damian Green has been caught by the police, it is a gamble which all offenders take hoping not to get caught. So, he's on the hook. It is only natural that he will try to wriggle off the hook, and those within the Tory party to try and get him off the hook.

Both Christopher Galley and Damian Green know that the public interest defence is not relevant in their case. It's a try on. If it gets to a trial, able QCs may hoodwink the jury into returning not guilty verdicts. It is like Lord Ahmed, pleading guilty to dangerous driving rather than facing the charge of causing death by dangerous driving. The fact is that his conduct led to the death of the driver, and yet he refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Here, neither Galley nor Green accept responsibility for their conduct.

Whilst I have criticisms of both Labour's and the Tories handling of this whole affair, it serves no purpose that both are frying red herrings.

When every other person arrested is allowed to get up in the Commons and put forward a defence, then Green can use the same facility. He has abused his position as a MP.

Alex said...

I don't think he misled the House in that sense because although they stated that the law requires them to seek consent, they did no actually advise the Serjeant at Arms that she didn't have to gice it.

If the Speaker's assertion that the police have to give a warning is correct, then factually that is correct, but the Speaker did mislead parliament by omitting to say that the Serjeant at Arms said she would take legal advice. Presumabbly at that point the police thought there was no point in telling her that she didn't have to give consent because her legal advisor would/shoud have told her the same.

Anonymous said...

Jailhouse lawyer: do you have any evidence that Damian Green has actually broken the law?

jailhouselawyer said...

anonymous: Yes, the Met showed me everything they have got.

A silly question gets a silly answer.

Damian Green claims he has done nothing wrong and that the police have arrested him for just doing his job.

In my view, Damian Green is being less than truthful on both accounts. First, the police arrested Christopher Galley. Then, acting upon information received they proceeded to arrest Damian Green. Before taking that step they would have received legal advice from the Crown Prosecution Service how to proceed.

This is not a case of plod seeing an MP doing his job and saying to themselves we had better arrest him.

Lorenzo said...

Why is the Wikileak document of such poor quality and how do you tell its genuine?