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Friday, 28 November 2008

Counter-Terrorism Laws

Yesterday, Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, was arrested and questioned by counter-terrorism officers for nine hours and his home and office searched as part of an inquiry into Home Office leaks. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that Green was arrested by members of its counter-terrorism command. It said the investigation was not terrorism related but did fall within the counter-terror unit's remit.

It follows a series of leaks to Green by someone in the Home Office, including:

The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.

The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.

A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.

A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

It is an important aspect of a parliamentary democracy that civil servants leak documents to MPs when government officials are acting in a corrupt way. It limits the amount of lies a government tells the public. For example, Winston Churchill, used leaks from government to highlight the problems with appeasement in the 1930s. If it happened today, Churchill would be imprisoned by this government. Gordon Brown used leaks from the Treasury during the 1980s and 1990s to expose the Tory government. Now, he is willing to use the police and anti-terrorist laws to try and keep MPs from revealling corruption in government. It will of course not work as this government is not only corrupt, it is incompetent.

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