Leaks revealing that pornography had been found on the parliamentary computer of Damian Green were strongly criticised
Leaks revealing that pornography had been found on the parliamentary computer of Damian Green were strongly criticisedTIMES PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD POHLE
The head of the Metropolitan Police Federation joined forces with Tory MPs last night to condemn the “abhorrent” actions of two retired officers who helped to BRING DOWN DAMIEN GREEN.[aren't the police there to investigate crime? "Inappropriate behaviour" by an MP is a moral crime,and "misconduct in office" is a criminal offence and surely worthy of investigation, and why keep it secret? These guys were only doing their jobs, and to target them [by officers who would facilitate a coverup, obviously] is unacceptable!..ed.]
Ken Marsh, chairman of the organisation that represents 30,000 rank-and-file officers, strongly criticised leaks revealing that pornography had been found on the parliamentary computer of Mr Green, who resigned as deputy prime minister on Wednesday.
Theresa May said that she expected the leaks, which are the subject of a criminal inquiry, to be “properly investigated” and “taken seriously”.
Influential Tory MPs rounded on the former counterterrorism chief Bob Quick and Neil Lewis, a retired detective constable, for leaking details of the pornography last month, nine years after it was uncovered during a raid on Mr Green’s office. Critics said that retired officers should face cuts to their pensions if they breached confidentiality.
Mr Green, 61, was sacked by Mrs May after he was found to have lied when he denied having been told that pornographic material had been found on his Commons computer by police during an inquiry into alleged leaks in 2008. A Cabinet Office investigation also concluded that claims of inappropriate behaviour towards Kate Maltby, a Tory activist and journalist 30 years his junior, were “plausible”.
The Metropolitan Police referred its inquiry into Mr Quick’s and Mr Lewis’s actions to the Information Commissioner’s office over potential breaches of the Data Protection Act. Mr Marsh, who represents officers at the ranks of constable, sergeant and inspector, spoke of his fears that the affair had resurrected “Plebgate”, the 2012 altercation on Downing Street between Andrew Mitchell, Tory chief whip at the time, and police. It badly damaged relations between the police and the party.
Mr Marsh told The Times: “It’s unfair and disingenuous that again we are being hauled over the coals when most of my colleagues think that what these retired officers did is abhorrent. We are all privy to confidential information but we respect the rules. All this has done is pit the Tories against the police again.”
Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, said that confidentiality was vital for public trust in the police. Officers are bound by the Official Secrets Act but its provisions are not thought to apply in this case. They can face charges of misconduct in public office but the offence must occur when they are employed, though this is under review by the Law Commission. It requires an “abuse of trust” and for the officer to act “without reasonable excuse or justification”.
Sir Thomas Winsor, the chief inspector of constabulary, wrote to the Information Commission yesterday to emphasise that there was the “the widest public interest in the protection by the police of the confidentiality of information obtained by the police”.
Tory MPs called for sanctions on retired officers who breached confidentiality. Mr Mitchell said: “[Ms Dick] has rightly spoken out, making it clear that what these police officers have done is wrong. If the law is not adequate to reflect that then it is for parliament and government to enhance the law.”
Bob Neill, Tory chairman of the justice committee, said that changing the law to include retired officers “should be seriously considered”. He added that it was legitimate to consider linking public sector pension entitlements to conduct. Chris Philp, another Tory MP, told the BBC: “I think they should be investigated for misconduct in public office. That is a criminal offence.”
Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, said Mr Green was the victim of a police vendetta and added: “Hopefully one day he’ll come back and serve in other ways.” Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who confirmed that Mr Green was sacked, said: “Some of the actions, of particularly a retired police officer, don’t sit comfortably in a democracy.”
Mr Green is entitled to £16,875 under rules that grant senior ministers who lose their jobs a one-off payment equal to 25 per cent of their final salary. No 10 put pressure on Mr Green to reject it. Mr Green tweeted that he had been overwhelmed by support from friends, colleagues and constituents.
Mark Garnier, a trade minister, was cleared of breaching the ministerial code after he referred to a female staff member as “sugartits” and asked her to buy sex toys for him while he was a backbencher. He apologised for causing distress to the employee.


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