May turns the tables on Met after Damian Green sacking
Prime Minister calls for police leak to be investigated as Government shifts focus
Theresa May has called for information leaked by former Met police officers that led to the sacking of her close ally Damian Green to be “properly investigated”, prompting complaints from Labour that the Government is trying to shift the focus away from its own behaviour.
The Prime Minister was forced to sack her de facto deputy after he was found to have lied when he said he did not know police had found pornography on his office computer after a raid in 2008. Green denies the allegations, first made by ex-Met assistant commissioner Bob Quick last month, and claims they were politically motivated.
Quick and former detective constable Neil Lewis, who also leaked details of the discovery to the BBC, have been referred to the data protection watchdog.
Scotland Yard has confirmed both men are being investigated by the Met over the possibility they breached confidentiality by revealing police inquiry details. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said the force’s professional standards department is also investigating how the information was handled.
Ken Marsh, the chairman of the Met Police Federation, told the London Evening Standard it was right and proper that a “thorough investigation” was carried out, but added: “It is important to remember that these are not serving police officers; when you leave the police you are a member of the public. They are not subject to the same terms and conditions.”
However, he said some in the Government had been too quick to point the finger at the police. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said there are questions to answer about the conduct of the retired police officers.
“If you look at what happened, some of the actions of a retired police officer don’t sit comfortably in a democracy,” he told BBC Radio 4.
Another former Conservative minister, Andrew Mitchell, who was part of investigation into police misconduct over the “plebgate” row, told Sky News: “These two admitted breaches of the ministerial code are dwarfed by the extraordinary behaviour of the police, which fortunately is now under investigation by the proper authorities.”
Commenting on the coordinated attack by Tory MPs, Labour’s Jess Phillips said she was worried that the focus on the behaviour of the police was an attempt to steer attention away from other issues raised by the affair.