So the Damien Green MP situation continues. I’m not going to go into why he was arrested here, but I would like to look at what happened at the Palace of Westminster when the Met Police came knocking on the door.
1. The police point of view.
According to a letter sent by AC Quick to the Home Secretary, the senior investigating officer informed the Serjeant at Arms (SAA) on Wednesday that they wished to search the offices of an MP. The SAA was informed that they didn’t need a warrant if she was prepared to give consent to the search. She said she would take legal advice and inform the Speaker. The next day the police informed the SAA who the MP was and she gave consent for the search to go ahead (in writing).
Then on Monday December 1st, AC Quick wrote to the Speaker confirming the arrest of Damien Green MP, as required by current protocol
2. The Speaker’s point of view
He says he was informed on Wednesday that the police might be an arrest of an unnamed MP. The next day the SAA informed him who was involved and said that a search of his office might take place. The SAA didn’t tell him that the police had not obtained a warrant for the search. On Thursday evening he was informed that the MP in question was Damien Green, and then on Tuesday he received a letter from the police confirming the arrest.
So the police say they told the SAA that they didn’t have a warrant, but she claims she wasn’t told. One of them is not telling the truth
If they didn’t specifically tell her they had a warrant, why didn’t she ask? And if she did take legal advice, why wasn’t she should told then to ask for a warrant?
When the SAA informed the Speaker about the search, why didn’t he ask her about a warrant?
The police say they informed the SAA on the Wednesday that they wanted to conduct a search, but the Speaker says he was informed on Thursday that there might be a search. Big difference there.
The police seem to have a paper trail to confirm that they followed procedures. And this appears to differ greatly from what the Speaker says happened.
The Speaker’s statement seems to imply that he did nothing wrong, and that the fault is with the police. In fact what he says leaves serious questions about the Serjeant At Arms. Even if the police did fail to do their job properly, she appears to have not asked the right questions either of them or the person giving her legal advice.
So from where I’m sitting, it looks like this:
The police say they did their job, but could be lying
The Speaker says it had nothing to do with him.
The Serjeant At Arms appears to be either a liar or incompetent (or both)
And at the moment, I’m putting my money on the police to have the right thing, the Speaker to be trying to distance himself from an almighty cock-up, and the Serjeant at Arms being turned into the sacrificial lamb