Thursday, December 04, 2008

It gets worse II

It now turns out that the police who searched UK Conservative MP Damian Green's Parliamentary office did not have a warrant and was not authorised by the Speaker. Instead, their search was - unbelievably - "consented" to by the serjeant at arms.

This raises interesting questions about whether the search was legal - whether the serjeant at arms can consent to a search of an MP's office (as opposed to merely the police entering Parliament to carry out their legal duty with a warrant). But it also makes you wonder whether the serjeant at arms is fit to carry out her duties. The first thing anyone should ask when the police want to search their home or office is "do you have a warrant" - and that should go double for the guardian of the people's house. It's not just a matter of protecting Parliament from harassment; its a simple matter of enforcing the law and making sure the police prove their case.

In this case, the police have acted in a heavy-handed manner which suggests they think they are above the law. And someone is going to be held accountable for it.