Conservative Home and Iain Dale have some excellent coverage. He was held in custody for nine hours and his offices were searched by SO15 counter terrorism officers. Meanwhile real terrorists, two of whom it is said were born in Britain were causing outrage and havoc in Mumbai.
The police are not allowed to arrest anyone in the Palace of Westminster without the permission of the Serjeant at Arms. It is disgraceful that this permission was given by the Speaker and the Serjeant at Arms, who is in charge of security in and around the Palace. Nine officers searched his office. Being a senior politician, he would have a better office than I share, but there are few offices that can even hold nine people.
In 1642, Speaker Lenthall told Charles I, "May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak in this place, but as this House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am.", as the King came into the Chamber seeking the arrest of five MPs. Next Wednesday at the State Opening of Parliament, Black Rod will knock on the door before the Queen's Speech, replaying that seminal moment in British history. It'll be a hollow act after the Government squash 350 years of history for their own shabby ends.
When the issue of 42 day detention and ID cards and suchlike come up in discussion, people often argue that only the guilty have anything to fear. We are not a police state. However, legislation is often misused followed by an embarrassed shrug from a Government Minister. See how many of these examples you remember:-
- The UK assets of Icelandic banks seized, leading to a diplomatic incident where the whole country felt that they had been branded as terrorists.
- Labour MP Sadiq Khan bugged as he spoke to a constituent in prison. (Wrong bloke to pick as an ex-chairman of Liberty.)
- Councils spying on people whilst investigating parking fines.
- Extradition of the NatWest Three to the USA to face trial for fraud committed by British citizens in Britain against a British company using a one-sided extradition act.
- The passing of legislation with the specific aim to stop Brian Haw's vigil outside Parliament over the Iraq war. It was left to a Judge to patiently explain that the one person in the whole of the United Kingdom that this badly written legislation did not apply to was Brian Haw.
- The removal of 82 year old Walter Wolfgang from the Labour Conference after he had the audacity to heckle
Tony BlairJack Straw.