Page last updated at 20:41 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Tories release footage of MP raid


The Tories have released a clip of police in Damien Green's office

The Conservatives have released video footage of a police raid on Damian Green's Parliamentary office.

The shadow immigration minister's home and office were searched when he was arrested in connection with a Home Office leaks inquiry last Thursday.

Speaker Michael Martin is to make a statement on Wednesday amid anger among some MPs that he allowed officers to enter Parliament.

Jacqui Smith has accused the Tories of "cavalier" behaviour over the row.

The home secretary said it was "irresponsible" to suggest that the systematic leaking of government material was not a serious matter for the police to investigate.

The video footage has been released on Conservative leader David Cameron's website showing his adviser Andrew Mackay entering Mr Green's office as police officers carry out the search.

Debate call

The Tories and Lib Dems are expected to push for a Commons debate on Wednesday on the row.

Mr Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg have been discussing plans to secure a Commons debate on police powers and their application to Parliament, the BBC understands.

The speaker is to make a statement at 1430 GMT on Wednesday - after the Queen's Speech but before MPs begin to discuss the government's legislative programme - and is likely to come under pressure to grant a debate.

The BBC's Norman Smith said several Tory MPs were considering trying to force Mr Martin's resignation.


He said they were looking at securing enough signatures on an early day motion expressing no confidence in the speaker.

But he added that he understood they would not take any action until they had heard his statement.

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said MPs were "bubbling with indignation about what is going on and will want to debate it".

Many MPs have expressed misgivings about how police were allowed to enter Parliament to search Mr Green's office, arguing that the speaker should have stopped them.

Mr Green was arrested on Thursday and held for nine hours on suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office in relation to an inquiry into leaks from the Home Office.

Some MPs had considered a protest during Wednesday's Queen's Speech but have ruled this out because they fear it would be seen as a protest against the monarchy.

Seeking answers

As the row continues, the Tories have asked the Home Office to release, under Freedom of Information laws, details of decisions taken by ministers and officials since the original leak inquiry began.

The Tories want to know who authorised the Home Office inquiry and when ministers were notified of this step.

Commons speaker Michael Martin
MPs are expected to press the Speaker for a debate on police powers

They are also seeking confirmation of when ministers were told of Mr Green's arrest and whether the police informed ministers of the likely need to conduct a search of an MP's Westminster office.

They also want details of all meetings between the home secretary and Met Police officers over the period between the start of their investigation and 27 November when Mr Green was detained.

The home secretary has defended the police's operational independence and insisted that she was not informed about Mr Green's arrest in advance.

Ahead of the speaker's statement, a spokesman for Commons leader Harriet Harman said its contents were "entirely a matter for the speaker".

This followed claims from the Conservatives that they were excluded from a meeting on Tuesday between ministers and parliamentary officials about the statement.

Mr Cameron warned of a possible "stitch-up" after mistakenly being sent an e-mail about the meeting, which was expected to involve Ms Harman, and said all parties should have been present at the talks.

The Tories suggested the talks would involve the background to the police action being discussed ahead of the speaker's statement.

But Labour insists the meeting was about parliamentary procedure, with a spokesman saying it was "about issues relating to government business".

Ms Harman has previously said she is "very concerned" by Mr Green's arrest and has suggested protection for MPs' offices must be reviewed in light of the episode.

Lib Dem MP Nick Harvey, a member of the Commons Commission that runs the House, said he had not been consulted on whether the police should be allowed to carry out a search on the premises.

"I do not think any other members were either," he added.

But he said he believed the speaker would have taken legal and other advice before making a decision.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific