MPs want answers over Damian Green affair

April 20, 2009 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

On the first day back after the Easter holidays, MPs wanted to know what was to be done after at was announced last week that Tory frontbench spokesman Damian Green will not face criminal charges.

Mr Green was arrested in November and his home and Commons office were searched by police officers investigating leaks from the Home Office.

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell raised a point of order with Mr Speaker, after several members had tried to raise the issue during the Home Secretary’s statement on the terror raids earlier this month.

“Now that we know that no proceedings are to be taken against the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green), have you had a request from the Leader of the House to come and make a statement on the future of the Committee which was to consider the implications for the rights and privileges of Members arising from the raid on the hon. Gentleman’s office, and, in particular, on whether she is now willing to abandon the condition that would oblige you to ensure that there was a Government majority in the selection of members of that Committee—an unnecessary restriction on your discretion in a matter that concerns the whole House and not just the Government?”

Mr Speaker said that he is “looking into this matter and I will return to the House on it.”

William Cash, Tory MP for Stone, asked if “in the context of the police’s entry into the offices of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green)” raises matters of freedom of speech for MPs and “the question of the confidentiality of our correspondence; and questions of national security.

“In particular, I have in mind the case of Mr. Duncan Sandys in 1938–39.

“Regrettably, the Attorney-General has not referred in her opinion to this case or, indeed, to several other precedents and conventions that apply. In those circumstances, I would be grateful if you would be good enough, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that a motion coming before the House is allowed to be debated, and that the matter is referred to the Standards and Privileges Committee.”

Speaker Martin said he has “no responsibility for the answers that a Law Officer gives. It is up to the Law Officer to give the response.”

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