Trumped up home office leak charges against a top Tory MP have been dropped as a committee of MPs slated civil servants for "exaggerating" the seriousness of alleged leaks, which led to the heavy-handed police raid and arrest of Damian Green. It's goodbye Smeargate, as Greengate leaves a discredited fag-end of a government trying to close another 'gate' after the pre-election dirty tricks horse has bolted.
The Greengate decision comes as a reeling Downing Street struggles to cover up the Smeargate email scandal against the Tories and raises fresh doubts over the involvement of home secretary Jacqui Smith and her band of political police, already under fire for G20 police brutality.
Now the CPS has said there was "insufficient evidence" to bring a court case against the shadow immigration minister, adding: "The information leaked was not secret information or information affecting national security," something police must have known before the raid and arrest.
Many at Westminster expected charges against Green to be dropped weeks ago but instead it dragged on for months since anti-terror police made an unwarranted raid on Green's office in the sanctity of parliament.
Red-faced cops and officials tried to use the excuse of 'national security' for the raid to hide their embarrassment. Now the home affairs committee has questioned whether police would have got involved if they had not been misled.
The MPs said there was a "clear mismatch" between the "misleading" and "hyperbolic" contents of a senior cabinet office official's letter citing national security as a reason for the raid and the description of the leaks provided by the home office's civil service chief.
The decision to drop charges against Green comes days after the appointment of Yates of the Yard, commissioner John Yates, to head up the Greengate police inquiry after Smith's favourite copper, bungling Bob Quick, was forced to make a quick exit when he exposed anti-terror plans to the media.
Green's controversial arrest last November came after Quick sent 20 anti-terrorist officers to search his parliamentary office, causing outrage at the time by both LibDems and Tories:
Both Green and Christopher Galley, a junior civil servant working at the home office, always denied wrongdoing. Both have had charges against them dropped due to "insufficient evidence". Green says he was releasing information in the public interest.
Key questions remain over why police were involved in this case when it was clear that could have been handled as an internal matter.
But the Tory MP paid the price of public interest after the heavy-handed tactics of the political police were exposed with his arrest. Yet he was bailed, not under anti-terrorist laws but under common law.
The shameful arrest of Green made a mockery of the pseudo-liberal facade of the New Labour government. Once again it exposed the hidden workings of powerful institutions of political and social control.
Home secretary Smith and the rest of the gang involved in this disgraceful episode now face fundamental questions at the heart of this scandal, not least why were the heavy mob used for the arrest when clearly this did not involve any state secrets? And who authorised the police search in the sacrosanct precincts of the Place of Westminster?
Downing Street had claimed this was a matter for the police and the prime minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest but the Orange Party smelt a big political rat at work here and some scary heavy-handed Big Brother tactics. A police investigation into a high-ranking politician would have to have been cleared at the very top.
Speaking after the CPS decision a relieved Green pointed the finger of responsibility at the home secretary: “I believe in the old Italian phrase that the fish rots from the head down.” Smith was “a poor home secretary” who had "shown poor judgement."
The decision to drop all charges over the Greengate affair is a further nail in the coffin for disposable home secretary Jacqui Smith, as the two homes secretary is already under fire over her second homes expenses fiddle. It is difficult to see how she, or speaker Michael Martin can survive.
Goodbye Smeargate, hello Greengate. The government is spinning out of control as another concerted attempt by Brown's bunch of spinners and henchmen to stoop to dirty tricks in Tory attacks has been exposed in the run up to the general election.