7 The views of the Committee |
170. When the Director of Public
Prosecutions announced on 16 April 2009 that he had decided that
charges should not be brought against either Christopher Galley
or Damian Green for the offences alleged against them, it was
because on the particular facts of the case there was no realistic
prospect of a conviction against either of them.
LEAKS AND THE POLICE
171. We endorse the four concluding
Recommendations of the O'Connor Report
1. That the Metropolitan Police
Service, together with the Association of Chief Police Officers
(ACPO), review and formalise guidance on police investigations
involving high impact cases, to fully incorporate the principles
of 'without fear or favour'.
2. That the Cabinet Office reviews
the Civil Service's capability to respond to leaks and facilitates
the development of appropriate standards of preventative security
and investigation in accordance with departmental risks.
3. That the Cabinet Office review
its guidance to departments on leak investigations to clarify
that the police will have the lead in Official Secrets Act inquiries
or other very exceptionally serious criminality but that the Cabinet
Office/departments will deal with other leaks and agree the guidance
4. That the police, Cabinet Office
and Crown Prosecution Service jointly agree a protocol that provides
checks and balances for future investigations recognising that
decisions on the conduct of investigations must ultimately rest
with the police.
SEARCHES ON THE PARLIAMENTARY ESTATE
172. We give our support and
endorsement to the Speaker's Protocol of 8 December 2008, which
makes clear the indispensability of a Judge's search warrant,
while reserving to the Speaker on behalf of the House the responsibility
for ensuring that any such warrant is executed with proper respect
for the functioning of Parliament. We recommend that the Speaker's
Protocol should be drawn to the attention of any future Speaker,
Clerk of the House or Serjeant at Arms of their initial briefing,
handover or induction.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS SERVICE
173. We have set out in this
Report our views about the response of the House authorities and
particularly that of the Speaker, the Clerk of the House and the
Serjeant at Arms to an unusual challenge to the good management
of the House of Commons. Despite the progress made since the Tebbit
Report towards a more unified House of Commons Service, our inquiry
has demonstrated that there were lapses in communication, induction
and lines of accountability and responsibility at the very top
of the organisation.
174. As Chief Executive of the
House of Commons, the Clerk of the House should have made sure
that the Serjeant at Arms had a better grasp of the limits of
her authority, that she was fully aware of the McKay Memorandum
of July 2000, and that she realised that no claim of confidentiality
should have prevented her from making sure that the Speaker and
the Clerk of the House were fully aware of the intended police
operation affecting a Member of Parliament.
175. We recommend that the next
review of Management and Services of the House of Commons should
take place early in the new Parliament, to continue the series
which runs from Ibbs (1990) to Braithwaite (1999) to Tebbit (2007).
We would like to see a fresh examination of the roles and responsibilities
of the officers of the House and the Speaker to ensure the effectiveness
of the support for individual Members and the good management
of the House. Such a review should include greater clarity on
the role of the most senior personnel, line management responsibilities,
and lessons to be drawn from best business practice as well as
the management of other comparable legislatures.
176. While the House and its
Speaker could and should no doubt have been better served by their
officials, the Speaker himself should have been asking the right
questions and he should have taken more responsibility for exercising
the authority of his high office.