Ming Campbell to chair review of police raid on Damian Green’s office

July 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

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A former leader of the Liberal Democrats is to chair a new committee to look at the House of Commons procedures in the wake of the raid on the office of Tory MP by the Metropolitan police.

Ming Campbell’s committee will report by the end of the year.

Former Cabinet ministers Michael Howard, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, David Blunkett and Patricia Hewitt are members.

Damian Green, shadow immigration minister, was arrested in November and his home and Commons office were searched by police officers investigating leaks from the Home Office.

They did not seek a warrant for the Parliamentary search, which “caused considerable disquiet and provoked a lot of media comment,” according to a Home Affairs committee report.

Mr Green was never charged with any offence.

MPs said the raid raised matters of freedom of speech for MPs and the questions of confidentiality of correspondence.

Many were unhappy with the reaction of Speaker Michael Martin to this perceived blow to Parliamentary independence, which contributed to the movement to remove him from the chair.

He stood down last month.

The creation of the committee was entered into the Parliamentary record yesterday.

(1) That, following the search of a Member’s office in the Parliamentary Estate by the police and the seizure of material therein, a committee be appointed to review the internal processes of the House administration for granting permission for such action, to consider any matter relating to privilege arising from the police operation, and to make recommendations for the future;

(2) That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records; to report from time to time; to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House and to appoint one specialist adviser either to supply information which is not readily available or to elucidate matters of complexity within the committee’s order of reference;

(3) That Sir Alan Beith, Mr David Blunkett, Sir Menzies Campbell, Ann Coffey, Mr Doug Henderson, Ms Patricia Hewitt, Mr Michael Howard and Sir Malcolm Rifkind be members of the Committee;

(4) That Sir Menzies Campbell be the Chairman of the Committee; and

(5) That the committee report by 31 December 2009.

The creation of a new select committee to examine reform of the House of Commons was also placed in Hansard yesterday.

It will consider the appointment of members and chairmen of select committees; scheduling business in the House and enabling the public to initiate debates and proceedings in the House.

It will be chaired by Dr Tony Wright and will report in November 2009.

Mr Graham Allen, Mr Clive Betts, Mr Graham Brady, Mr David Clelland, Mr David Drew, Natascha Engel, Dr Evan Harris, David Howarth, Mr Michael Jack, Mr Greg Knight, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, Mr Chris Mullin, Dr Nick Palmer, Martin Salter, Dr Phyllis Starkey, Mr Andrew Tyrie, Dr Tony Wright and Sir George Young are members of the Committee.

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