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If I understand this right, you are saying that Damian Green was disclosing confidential material subject to the Official Secrets Act but that he was acting in the public interest. The 'public interest' is a legal defence and can only be tested in court. Are you really inviting a charge and a trial?

Members of Parliament are not exempt from the Official Secrets Act although there are some interesting applications of Parliamentary privilege if the information is relevant to Parliamentary proceedings. It all starts to get very complicated if you look in the details. There has been one case of a Member of Parliament who was tried under the Official Secrets Act (Will Owen in 1970).

The PBS was Brown's wheeze to cement his apparent surge in popularity.

It didn't work and I would bet that a Brown rage lies behind this action.

What price Brown lost the plot hugely????

Our advance to a police state continues. I thought this govt could no longer shock me.

As Newsnight have just said:
Churchill relied on leaks.
Brown used leaks.
As long as they are in the public interest I'd rather our police were catching real villains not swooping on opposition MPs.

If I understand this right, you are saying that Damian Green was disclosing confidential material subject to the Official Secrets Act but that he was acting in the public interest.

David, can you indicate what section of the OSA makes any of this "confidential"? If it can be interpreted that widely any leak is illegal, including those made by Number 10 and departments.

Your view is literally senseless: you don't know why Green has been arrested. Expressing a supposedly heartfelt view in the absence of grounds on which such a view can yet be based is the stuff of Student Union resolutions. If nothing else, it shows that the paucity of orthodox Thatcherite opinion around here is not confined to those commenting on threads.

David Cameron should refuse to walk alongside Gordon Brown at the Queen's Speech unless this matter is cleared up.

"If I understand this right, you are saying that Damian Green was disclosing confidential material subject to the Official Secrets Act but that he was acting in the public interest. The 'public interest' is a legal defence and can only be tested in court. Are you really inviting a charge and a trial?"

Mr Boothroyd, how is revealing this information not in the public interest?

Given that Damian Green was arrested by anti-terror police could he be held for 42 days without charge?

You're that sensitive Tim, that you now simply delete posts disagreeing with you? Pathetic. Perhaps you too should get in on the game of screaming that Labour are Nazis and that the gas chambers are but a hop and skip away.

ACT what rubbish. Many times Thatcher voiced the wide ranging freedom available to and necessity of HM Opposition to do their job - holding the government to account.

ACT (Christopher Montgomery) disagrees with everything that the Conservative Party ever does. Ignore him.

My apologies - why or however my 11.05 post had vanished - doubtless a fault at my end - it has now reappeared, and I'm content for this one (and the one at 11.10) to accordingly vanish.

Brown must be behind this.

Some commentators describe him as a towering intellect; I have yet to see the evidence to support that. Clearly common sense is lacking.

Sorry: I don't get the Tim Montgomerie defence.

In the first instance, it comes down to an individual, without due right, being in possession of, and then exploiting material covered by the Official Secrets Act. Think "Spies for Peace". That's a yes/no argument: did the individual know the material was covered? Did said individual then pass on that information?

More tellingly, did the individual solicit that information? And, possibly, for personal advantage?

Secondly (well, for the time being), there's something very unpleasant about the link between this arrest and the assertion that this is Sir Ian Blair's "last day". Heaven help us if the need for headlines has politicised the police and the civil service.

And a great big yawn to 11.13. Gordon Brown is not Hitler, however many posters on CH like to pretend otherwise. And claiming that he is, or employs his methods, verges on the obscene.

Can I just point out that I have made no comment on the material which may have prompted this police inquiry, nor on whether its disclosure is in the public interest? I am simply interested in further exploring the logic of the position stated in the original post.

I think we've hit a nerve with ACT, lets annoy him more, his frantic trolling are like the little fat kid typing away in a panic. Amusing.

But kidding aside, this does seem very serious, of course we have to wait for more information, but if this does turn out to be an abuse of government power and the further use of the terror laws for other purposes then something is seriously wrong.

I am the Deputy Chairman of the Ashford Constituency Conservative Association and have worked closely with Damian Green over the last three years or so. I know him to be a decent and honourable man who in circumstances like these appear to be would act in the overall public interest. The police tactics involved - including raiding our constituency office - would seem to be impossible to justify in these circumstances. The police's approach appears to disregard the legitimate role of MPs in holding the Government to account both in Parliament and in the press. I am sure that Damian has the full support of his local association and constituents.

Yeah, the poster who directly and explicitly compared the actions of the police towards Damain Green to, Hitler's industrial slaughter of European Jewry hit a nerve. So annoy me some more. Believe me, I've contempt to spare for people with views like that.

Guido's insistence about the 'Prime Mentalist' has taken a sinister new turn.

ACT, do you ever say anything that isn't negative?

I'm pretty sure no one has said the police have slaughtered anyone ACT? So you have contempt to spare? Sucks to be you then you angry little man. Go shout at the moon for being too bright or something.

I have a feeling that this is going to explode, that "they were just following protocol" will be the spin. Whatever the case, unless the police provide an adequate explanation serious questions have to be asked of them, the government, the law and the system.

Will people please stop giving ACT the attention he craves?

ACT, The Police slaughtered de Menzies!

How curious that the police can act with such speed as if they had a rocket up their collective backsides – yet they often act at the speed of a glacier – viz. ‘preacher of hate’ Abu Hamza who has proven a real threat to this country’s security.

On the thread before this one:

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Martin Niemöller

Posted by: Chris Gillibrand | November 27, 2008 at 22:33

An obscene reflection upon the actions of the British police. And yeah, I'm going to go on saying negative things about fools who compare British policemen to Nazis.

First we had Boris and the cigar case belonging to Tariq Aziz and now we have counter terrorism officers arresting Damian Green. And all on Ian Blair's last day in office. Is this his swansong gift to Gordon?

Surely a case for recalling parliament?

What the hell makes information about immigration into the country an "official secret" please???????

Why is is it an offence to say that 5000 illegals are employed as security guards - I thought we all knew it?
Anyway Boris wants to make 'em legal - so what's the problem?
The police must get out and about more often instead of being cooped up all day - it isn't healthy - it is starting to show.


p.s.
The official secrets act supposedly exists to keep confidential information the publication of which would be harmful to the national interest, not to keep secret information that would be harmful to the Labour party's electoral chances. There is a very very big difference.

Tom, you have made my post of the night.

"David Cameron should refuse to walk alongside Gordon Brown at the Queen's Speech unless this matter is cleared up"

"And a great big yawn to 11.13. Gordon Brown is not Hitler, however many posters on CH like to pretend otherwise. And claiming that he is, or employs his methods, verges on the obscene."

Well ACT, finally shown your true colours tonight! When you have universal condemnation from politicians of all three parties, who see the implications of the police actions today towards Damien Green.

Only someone who supports the present crew running this government would defend them!
Get Lost!

Labour is simply copying the strategy and tactics of the Bush administration. Welcome to Republican fascism in the UK!

Missed all of the day's excitements.
However 3 things:
Craig Murray, ex Ambassador to Uzbekistan.Frightful bullying by FCO and leaking from Govt all over the place. Fully exonerated.
Margaret Hodge: Ex Chairman of Housing at Islington. Fondly referred to Enver Hodge (after the Albanian dictator), used lies spin and abuse to refute incompetence charges in not investigating abuse of children in Islington Care homes. Tried to use judiciary to block allegations. Outed and paid out to charity.
Walter Wolfgang: Physically ejected Labour Party Conference. Charge : Shouting "Nonsense" at Jack Straw. Fully exonerated and became Member of Labour NEC.
People forget the Stalinist and Trotskyite past of many of the current Cabinet and their advisors. They are wedded to a brand of authoritarianism that is based on an unshakeable belief they are always right, and therefore to disagree with them is to be mentally unsound (see Mo Mowlem, Gordon himself) and therefore worthy of "treatment".
They are obnoxious and dangerous and ruthless and thoroughly without personal integrity or empathy to others outside of their cliques, and within the cliques are like rats in a sack.
Damien Green is the victim of a political vendetta, a bump in the road to be squashed, in the same way as British Embassy staff in Roumania were when they complained about being ordered to issue visas to one-legged roofers.
This administration, like no other, fears transparency and abuses the laws of national interest to protect their interests.

Whether Green was acting in the public interest or not is irrelevant. It was a successful legal defence for Clive Ponting, and consequently the Thatcher government removed it from the 1989 Official Secreta Act. Public interest is no longer a defence.

However, it's very unclear what information Green could have leaked that is covered by the Act. So far it sounds like embarressing immigration statistics and stories. The Official Secrets Act is pretty clear about what sort of information it covers:
- security and intelligence information
- defence information
- information on international relations
- law enforcement information which would assist a criminal or the commission of a crime

The last one gets the closest, but even then I don't see how it covers the stuff Green is supposed to have leaked. Labour and the police have seriously overreached themselves. Perhaps that's why Green was arrested but not charged...

I'm with Alistair Burt. I simply can not believe the Home Secretary knew nothing about this and was not asked . The Speaker New, The Sergeant at Arms Knew David Cameron knew and Boris Johnston Knew. All of them BEFORE it happened. It is reported that Boris objected.
Andrew Gilligan said this in the Evening Standard about how the new Met Commissioner should behave.
"So, please, no more acting as an auxiliary party whip for this or any other government when it has an unpopular bill to pass. No more personally-authored articles for The Sun on the day of the crucial vote, urging rebel MPs into line. What we need is a solid, reassuring figure who talks about, well, crime."
I think he should have added that the New Commissioner MUST respect British Democracy and not allow elements of the Met to act in a way that resembles the Stazi.

The duty of the Opposition is to Oppose, Expose and Depose

This morning's sinister news about the heavy handed actions against Damian Green takes us to step two. Roll on the third, the deposing of this incompetent, dishonest government!

Adam in London, interesting. The documents which Damian Green has made public concern immigration and people present in the UK illegally. However, Conservative spokesmen and women have been insistent in saying that a firm immigration policy, and preventing illegal entry to the UK, is an aspect of national security.

And your point being, David? Whatever you seem to be suggesting, appears somewhat convoluted.

Surely, "preventing illegal entry to the UK is "an aspect of national security". Yes, who would disagree with any of these points?

It seems as if you are playing with mere definitions, here. Far more is at stake than that!

I am glad to hear that "David Cameron condemned the "heavy-handed" way in which nine anti-terrorism officers were sent to arrest Mr Green and search his home". Is David so far out of touch with everyday life that he does not realise this type of action is being perpetrated all the time by the police on peaceful law abiding citizens suspected of some minor infringement? I hope the Damian issue does not go away and results in Parliament insisting that the anti terrorism legislation is restricted to the purpose for which it was meant (including stopping USA Marshals coming into the UK to abscond with business men without a by your leave from our own judicial system). I hope it will also put the spotlight on the disproportionate use of police resources which we often read about. It isn't just paperwork that keeps them from doing their proper job of keeping the ordinary citizen safe in their home and on the street.

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