Off with their Heads
Posted Monday, 1 December 2008 at 15:38
Most people in Westminster, of all political parties, are still spinning with disbelief and incredulity at the arrest of Damian Green on Thursday night.
No one believes that Jacqui Smith was unaware that he was about to be arrested or that she didn’t sanction the arrest.
The police were called in by Sir David Normington, the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office. Previous to this position, Sir David was Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education and Schools, the prior residence of ex teacher come Home secretary, Jacqui Smith. Before that he was Director General for Schools. I daren't type any more for fear of sanction!
An MP has only two tools in order to execute his or her job effectively: honesty and integrity. You don’t need any qualifications or experience in any field to become an MP, but you do need to be honest because without a reputation for honesty and integrity, you have nothing.
If it is found that Jacqui Smith is lying, or even strongly suspected of, then she has to go, unless she comes to the House and makes a categorical statement in which she states "I honestly and truthfully had no knowledge that Damian Green was to be arrested."
Did the Clerk of the House Michael Jack know? I do know that in my own personal experience the clerks can be entirely ineffective in guaranteeing integrity in the proceedings of the House.
Having registered a complaint to the Clerk of the House regarding the appalling biased manner in which the science and technology committee conducted itself during a whitewashed investigation into abortion, and then watching the clerks do absolutely nothing despite the overwhelming evidence, it would seem to me that there may be a need for a more stringent approach, in ensuring the political neutrality of those who administer the proceedings of the House.
What happened last week was an incredibly serious occurrence. Those who are paid to hold the Government to account must be able to do so without fear of retribution or arrest. This is not a banana republic. I’m not entirely sure how the Speaker will survive this with his integrity intact, and if Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting Met Commissioner who ordered the arrest, had his eye on the top job, then rather than ingratiate himself with the Labour Party hierarchy, he's probably just kissed the job goodbye.
Last week was a collective debacle that threatened to undermine the integrity and complex inner workings of the parliamentary micro climate, which in one complex totally unfathomable way or another, ensures that democracy and accountability, to a lesser or greater degree, always rules the day.
There is great concern regarding the actions of the Home Secretary, not least from some very senior members within her own party, who suspect that sooner rather than later, they may one day be back in Her Majesty's Opposition. One way or another, the truth of this will out and heads will roll.
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
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