Bizarre in the House today. Having duly trekked from Commons to Lords when summoned by Black Rod for the Queen’s Speech – I managed to get a view of the Queen. And looking around at the tiaras, long evening dresses and the goldest of thrones – whilst I couldn’t see the relevance to anything in the real world – it aint half a sight to be seen.
Later when the House sat, the Speaker made a statement in relation to Damian Green’s arrest. Feelings are running high in Parliament at the fact that the police were allowed in without a warrant – extraordinary. Several members made the point that whilst MPs are not above the law – nor are the police.
It’s quite hard to tell which indignation is real and which manufactured. Was this really about a threat to national security? The leaked stuff we know about would suggest no, but Jacqui Smith seemed to say last Sunday on Marr that there was more – but we just weren’t in the know. Was this authored by senior civil servants? Was it because there was annoyance and embarrassment to the Government or was it a genuine case that the police had to investigate?
Either way – I cannot believe this was the right way to go about things. The public have a right to exepct that information they give to their MP to help with a case will be kept confidential and – just as with other professions – only released to someone else under very clear and strict rules.
As for the Queen’s Speech itself – pretty dull. There was predictably yet another Criminal Justice Bill and Home Affairs Bill. Strangely – there was nothing about housing in the speech at all.
But hey – rabbit out of hat – Brown suddenly announces apropos of nothing that there will be a two year break for people who come upon hard times! So – yes it grabbed the headlines – but no it wasn’t part of the Queen’s Speech – and no there was no information about who would pay!