Thursday, November 27, 2008

Anger Over Top Tory Arrest

Conservative leaders have expressed anger and disbelief after immigration spokesman, Damian Green, was arrested in connection with alleged leaked information over media stories about immigration.

The Conservative Party has confirmed the MP was questioned under the Official Secrets Act in connection with alleged leaks of information from the home office.

Downing Street is claiming this is a matter for the police and the prime minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest but Conservatives point out a police investigation into a high-ranking politician would have to have been cleared at "the very top".

The Orange Party smells a big political rat at work here and some scary heavy-handed Big Brother tactics. 

The arrest of a senior opposition MP was made by counter-terrorism police and came to light earlier this evening, after parliament had gone into recess, so no awkward questions could be asked in the House. It also raises serious questions about how the State deals with individuals, let alone an MP, who disclose matters in the public interest. 

In a statement the Conservative Party said:

"We can confirm that Damian Green was arrested ... As shadow immigration minister, Mr Green has, on a number of occasions, legitimately revealed information which the Home Office chose not to make public ... Disclosure of this information was manifestly in the public interest. Mr Green denies any wrongdoing and stands by his actions."

Green, a former broadcaster and journalist, was appointed shadow immigration minister in 2005.

The Telegraph reports: "Mr Green was arrested at his home in Kent by counter-terrorism police officers. The arrest follows a series of leaks to the Conservatives about Government policy, including a sensitive memorandum from the Home Office's most senior official on crime figures earlier this month."

Both shadow chancellor George Osborne and Conservative leader, David Cameron, have condemned the arrest. Cameron is said to be extremely angry, accusing the government of "Stalinesque" behaviour.

In February this year, the shadow immigration minister criticised the government over leaked documents at the Home Office.

Telegraph reports an alleged whistleblower, thought to be a home office official, was arrested 10 days ago. Last November, documents from the private office of home secretary, Jacqui Smith, were leaked to the opposition.

They showed that ministers had known for four months that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work as security guards but had not told Parliament.

Other documents, the
Telegraph reports, included information about an illegal immigrant working at House of Commons and a list of Labour MPs preparing to vote against the government's anti-terrorism measures.

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