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back to article Leaked Met letter questions Speaker's version of police raid

The senior policeman in charge of the Whitehall leak investigation has given an account of how consent was obtained that calls the Speaker of the House's version of events into question. In a letter (pdf) to Jacqui Smith yesterday, leaked to Wikileaks today, Met assistant commissioner Robert Quick wrote: "The officers [ …

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Black Helicopters

Oh the irony...

...of the police using a leaked letter to defend their actions when investigating a... leaked letter. Who should investigate the leaking of the letter about the leaked letter investigation? Perhaps Damian Green?

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Another leak?

So I suppose we can expect Special Branch to start arresting folks inside the met? But I suspect that requires someone inside the Met to ask the police to investigate? -)

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Bronze badge

So far so unclear

Who is lying to whom? It would appear that possibly the Speaker is lying, the police are lying or the Serjeant at Arms is lying, any two from three are lying or that all three are lying. What everyone takes for granted is that Waqui is lying having sufficient precedent to assume that that is the norm for her. In a decent democracy that should be enough to bring down a government and bring about a General election, what is clear is that this is not a decent government and hence no longer a decent democracy.

To Nullabour: Stop clinging to power like a drowning man with a straw and give others a chance to undo all the harm you have done. None of you are fit to govern the British people as even those of you who are not lying in this case have lied at other times. Perhaps a vote of no confidence should be called for.

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Heart

Will the police investigate this leak?

This leaked letter is favourable to the police. Will they investigate this leak? If not, why not?

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Anonymous Coward

'I have been told'

My kids have been told there's a jolly fat man with a white beard in a red suit called Santa coming to bring them presents soon.......which may suggest something about the speakers faculties. I wonder if he was told this at the non-meeting which was purely about the timing of events and in no way about the content of his statement (honest guv!). Sounds like more of the sort of plausible deniability that wacki jacqui and Brown are trying for.

Still he's was a Labour MP before becoming speaker so spinning is most probably as knee jerk reaction

Would the unit of measure for spinning be a Campbell or a Mandelson?

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Stop

there now cannot...

be any doubt that the "independent" speaker is actually part of the NuLabour collective. I mean why on earth should the cabinet have a discussion about what the speaker was going to announce in the commons, before it happened, if he is independent - surely this wouldn't matter to them until the statement had been made. This government is obviously out to create a neo communist state drawing from the worst excesses of the regimes in North Korea and the former USSR, not forgetting China and trying to use IT to get there. This is especially worrying because all the aforementioned states are, slowly but surely, modernising.

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Unhappy

The Government as Custodians

The Government, in their role of custodians of sensitive and privileged information, have once again proved that they can not be trusted with confidential information - whether that be by leaking it in the first place, or by failure to protect it whilst it is in Government secured premises.

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Flame

Just 1½ years...

... until we, the electorate, get our chance to roar again & get rid of the corrupt, inept, Stalinist incumbents!

And then, erm, comrades, the revolution can commence.

....

Bollocks. They really are all as bad as each other, aren't they? NuLab are control freaks intent on controlling, spending, taxing and wasting our cash (ID cards anyone?) and I just can't shake that nagging sense of unease when I look at the Tory party. LibDems? 'nuff said...

I choose the cleansing, purifying flame as my icon. Get rid of Michael Martin & bring back Betty Bothroyd!

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Bronze badge

spine of slime

Martin points the finger at everyone but himself. The Sergeant at Arms reports to him; the buck stops at him, and he should take the hit. He's known to be widely despised, and this shows why.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry...

...I dont know that these two statements are contradictory, are they?

1) "We have no power to search without a warrant and therefore can only do so with your consent or the consent of your boss."

2) "You are not obliged to consent and if you like, you can insist on us obtaining a warrant"

If someone said (1) to me, and nothing else, I would be thinking "Oooh! Sounds important - better give my consent! TALLY HO!".

If someone said (2) and nothing else I would be thinking "Uh oh! I have an option that introduces some good old judicial oversight into the mix. Best not go out on a limb! PASS THAT BUCK!".

Together I would be thinking "Ooooh this is important and I have the option of bouncing this back to a judge to make the decision. I should think this through carefully without feeling pressured but still be aware of time constraints. Maybe I should seek expert counsel!"

The fact that either, alone, might be considered adequate procedural boilerplate in this situation seems a little worrying.

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Who would you believe?

A policeman or a politician? Me neither

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Joke

Secrets and lies

Robin Cook was once the only opposition member of parliament allowed access to a proposition chained to the desk in guarded office set up to prevent discussion of said paper.

Isn't the point of democracy that all interested parties be allowed to discuss controversial prospective laws?

They seemed to have passed a bunch of stuff recently that runs counter to the charter of the human rights declaration. AND been caught out by it themselves.

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Thumb Down

Oh the irony...

The Met Police, called in to investigate information leaks, choose to leak their version of events in an effort to defend their actions.

I can't be the only one who finds that ironic...

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Happy

Ah the irony

The leak enquiry is leaking.

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Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Quelle Surprise.....

A NuLab politician telling porkies? There's a novelty......

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Go

He's doomed

The speaker gets the PM's full support, almost as good as a vote of confidence from the board for a football manager. He's doomed.

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Anonymous Coward

And the reason she didn't know?

that the police were required to produce a warrant?

Isn't that her job? Why did they sack the old one then and replace him with a young girl, the stupid numpties?

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

ignorance of the law is no excuse

"Yesterday, the Speaker Michael Martin told the Commons: "I have been told 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 on."

Im sure that will wash with the beak. Ignorance is no excuse.

Paris, she is usually quite ignorant of the law.

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Black Helicopters

Michael Martin's days are numbered.

Getting rid of him and getting someone far more compliant in place is undoubtedly part of the long term game plan, followed by the eventual 'abolition' of the Speaker's position.

One little piece at a time!

"Papers, Citizen!"

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Anonymous Coward

Conveniently vague

So: "The officers [investigating the leak] ... were satisfied that the Serjeant at Arms understood that police had no power ..."

Satisfied how? Because the Serjeant said something or made a reference to specific police powers? Because the officers just assumed? Because the officers were just trying it on and hoped some vague "were satisfied" bullshit might fob off later enquiries?

It's pretty difficult to trust anyone's version of events here, what with all the finger pointing and arse covering. But making vague statements like this hardly encourages one to believe the police's version.

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Leaked?

Oh the irony.

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The police are always right!!!11

Oh look, a reg article with no comments on yet. Best get my job done by posting a comment that is totally in support of what the government are doing, like many a reg article seems to be have had of late.

Anyway, we all know that the MP arrested wouldn't have been arrested if he hadn't done something wrong. It is impossible for the police to make mistakes.

And its not like the Labour party or the catholic church have ever been involved in covering up their own actions in the past! I can't imagine that the house speaker would be capable of anything untoward.

PS, and a serious PS.... the Reg really should put SSL links in articles whenever possible, especially when linking to wikileaks. All wikileaks URLs can be made secure by putting https://secure. on the front (or replacing http://www). This article links to http://wikileaks.org/leak/smith.pdf , but it'd be best to link to https://secure.wikileaks.org/leak/smith.pdf .

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Anonymous Coward

yaddayadda

heh looks like the home office has more then one source of leaks, how suprising.

And now seen as MPs are no longer safe from the boot boys these leaks are going somewhere even more exciting. I suspect this is a sign of things to come.

People have been talking about Police independence, however the police should still answer to Parliment, this problem is in large part due to NuGovs constant pandering to the filth giving them ever more power and ever wider jurisdiction to act how they like.

The police should have no hand in crafting new law, at best they're biased, it takes a certain kind of person to be a police officer, a certain authoritarian, meddling sort. Also power as shown in the prison experiment leads to corruption and abuse of power when not kept in check.

Law should be made by experts, judges and, lawyers, not the public, companies, the media, or the police.

Shame though, the countries f----d, just need to get a degree so I can get out of dodge.

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Alert

Two + Two = Five

Huh?

"The officers [investigating the leak] ... were satisfied that the Serjeant at Arms understood that police had no power to search in the absence of a warrant and therefore could only do so with her written consent or that of the Speaker."

Yup, fine.

Michael Martin: "I have been told 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 on."

Also fine.

But there's an element of taking two and two and making five here; the Serjeant at Arms may well have been completely aware that the police had no power to search without her consent, but she may still have signed the consent under some form of (probably mild) duress when she didn't need to. I mean, you don't want to be obstructing the course of justice or wasting police time (do you?) because then you're up the shitter yourself. The letter does not rule out the officers failing to explain that Pay was not obliged to consent, which was Martin's suggestion.

And anyway, as she signed the consent form, then it's her responsibility, isn't it? Not the Speaker's?

All in all, IMHO the letter doesn't question the Speaker's version of events. I don't quite know what to make of this whole hoo-hah yet, but it does seem to have been blown out of proportion by a bunch of people that seem to want to remain above the law, and a media that like nothing better than a good scandal. Total bloody mess, whatever.

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This should set the cat amongst the pidgeons

Wonder how they will "slide" out of this one?

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It all sounds odd to me.

They had three warrants, for his two homes and constituency office. How much longer would it have taken to get four? Or did they know they wouldn't have got one for the HoC?

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Anonymous Coward

stinks

mmm, now this is interesting.

So far Jill Pay has managed to keep out of this issue - though she's evidentally central to it.

We haven't heard her side of the story so far. So I wonder who she sought legal advice from? The Home Secretary perhaps? Michael Martin perhaps?

I can not believe for one second that our wonderful Wacky Jacqui didn't know what was going on; she claimed today she only found out after the event. She didn't know.. ( Of course not dear). That's an interesting departure from what has gone before: she's been kept informed of developments in this case before, just not on this particular event of the raid huh?

John Reid, former home secretary and interesting, Labour MP, expressed his surprised today at Wacky Jacqui not knowing in advance. Other MPs of other parties were informed prior to the Police raid, yet the Wacky Jacqui, head of the Police, also an MP, didn't know.

I think there needs to be an independent proper investigation with Wack Jacqui, the Police officers involved, Michael Martin and Gill Pay all sworn under oath, thus should it later be discovered they have lied in giving evidence, they are guilty of perjury and face imprisonment.

This whole issue stinks, but of course, as might as we might suspect Wacky Jacqui is lying though her teeth, we can't make that allegation without having the evidence to support it.

When the Blair was PM and he was quizzed by the Police, the whole thing was treated very delicately, yet now the Labour party are trying to silence the opposition and prevent embarassment to theirselves, the cops have gone in with size 15 hobnail boots and used battering rams to kick the doors down ( metaphorically speaking).

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So overnight it hadn't crossed her mind to let the boss know?

If she sought legal advice and consented the next day, it is strange that one of the people not contacted for advice was the Speaker?

Smacks of incompetence... ... excellent NuLab material, pay rise in the offing!

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Stop

Time to vote No confidance

What a sordid mess Scottish born Mr Brown swills around in even most Scottish people don't want him back. He was not elected in time our rules say if Prime minister Resign’s retires or if lucky dies the person to replace has to win an election. Let’s stop the paranoid, control freaks from ruling.

Time for a change this government is only after controlling, knowing everything we do from birth to death total surveillance via all methods. Brown is going to far even Russia in the cold war would look democratic government with Browns plans and China a free country as if.

The people wnat an election now the longer Brown stays in the longer it will take people to forgive Labour for the intrusion.

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Anonymous Coward

Too Close for Comfort

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

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Boffin

Foot, shot themselves in

I do like that letter.

Do the police need a warrant?

No - we're allowed to go in to Damian Green's office if we think that he's up to no good and if the office contains the evidence we need to prove that.

Oh - unless it's covered by legal priviledge.

Which it might be.

Damn.

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Credibility gap

"the Serjeant at Arms Jill Pay said she would seek legal advice"

And nobody suggested that a warrant might be a good idea? Beyond belief...

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Thumb Up

"seek legal advice"

She wanted legal advice, so obviously as her boss Martin's useless she couldn't ask him, so she went down the Lodge and had a word with the Worshipful Brother, Chief Superintendent wossizname, and he said it was all on the square, so the next day, relevant handshakes having duly been exchanged, they were let in without so much as a by-your-leave.

It would never have happened in PC Dixon's day.

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Oops

"In a letter to Jacqui Smith yesterday.."

So she IS involved! Funny, I could have sworn she said she wasn't.

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For national security reasons

The Metropolitan Police force and any forces sharing their data, or able to share their data must be investigated to see what information they have taken from the MPs computer system. The investigation, being a national security matter should be undertaken by MI5 or other military intelligence group and supported by MPs from all parties with a seat in the house of commons if they wish one.

Any information that was from the House of Commons system that was not relevant to the investigation should be considered at minimum a serious breech of national security.

The homes of the officers involved also need investigation.

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Set-up

"Let's not forget why Pamela Landy was put there"

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Flame

Labour use

the fact that people have a cavalier attitude towards the Tories in line with them being 100% solid evil due to Margaret Thatcher. The odd thing about it all is that there is a paradox to all this; the same Margaret Thatcher was reviled and revered by Messrs B&B (i.e. they admired her leadership style, but denounced her as a "mad cow" at the same time). It's typical of voters unfortunately to accept a "class war" as gospel instead of the dogma it actually is. However, since it is nearly 2009 and not 1987 means MT *should* no longer figure so much in politics.

If you try to get benefits out of the govt, you have to be completely honest and declare all your moiney; shares, bank accounts etc etc. Peter Hain isn't going to be prosecuted (there's a surprise) for his "honest" mistake. You as a punter make one, though, and they can wipe out your bank account. Double standard or what?

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Silver badge

@AC

Your quote is the wrong way round. Surely deliberate - how could anyone get it wrong? And why on earth post such an anodyne, PC sentiment anonymously?

The correct (translated) text is:

"When the Nazis arrested the Communists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist.

"When they locked up the Social Democrats, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat.

"When they arrested the trade unionists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a trade unionist.

"When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew.

"When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest".

Many people nowadays like to quote the last two lines only. Especially in the USA, communists, trade unionists, and even social democrats have not always been too popular. I recall some guy's Slashdot sig being along the lines of "When they came for the Communists, I told them 'He lives in the next house down - take him away and shoot him, the lousy pinko traitor'". (Calm down, dear, it was a joke - albeit a bitter one).

If anyone is interested, the original reads:

"Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.

"Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

"Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

"Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude.

"Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte".

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Anonymous Coward

Wow

I wounder, are the plods one day going to march into the HoC and HoL and tell then they all are under arest ??

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Anonymous Coward

I suggest you read it again

The police letter to the Home Secretary shows a number of weaselly possibilities. It may not be the Speakers' parliamentary office people (or not only them) whose account has to be questioned.

Among the Alice-in-Wonderland items is, that a warrant may not be issued if the police position is that there is no reason to expect refusal, and then if there is consent, there is no need for a warrant -- so the following scenario would be supported:--

Plod: (speaks) "No need for a warrant" (thinks: because you're going to agree)

Parliament person: (thinks: "Well, if there's no need for a warrant, what is the point of refusing?") (speaks) "ok then".

Done! Everybody told the 'truth' (??) but no truthful information was conveyed!! :(

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark

"The investigation, being a national security matter should be undertaken by MI5 or other military intelligence group and supported by MPs from all parties with a seat in the house of commons if they wish one."

Conducting criminal investigations is not the role of the security services, MI5 or MI6.

Their job is to gather intelligence.

The relevent organisations would be the Police or Special Branch. Special Branch are a division of the Police with close links to the secret intelligence services (SIS - comprising MI5 + MI6).

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark -2

"Any information that was from the House of Commons system that was not relevant to the investigation should be considered at minimum a serious breech of national security."

This is fundamentally wrong. It is quite possible to leak information without it a) having any connection to national security, b) not harming national security in any way.

This was indeed the case with a alleged disclosures by Mr. Green MP.

And a further point, none of the information disclosed was protectively marked, not even at the lowest level, clearly implying that the Home Office did not even regard the material as having any national security interest at all.

Had it been protectively marked, the civil servant would almost certainly find himself being prosecuted under the official secrets acts and not some rather obsecure, ancient, almost never used piece of legislation.

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@RotaCyclic

Not as far as the MEtropolitan Police are concerned. Nor the current government.

Hoist

Petard

Own

By.

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