Category Archives: Inquiry

Jo Bird: another Jewish woman is expelled from Labour – and the timing is suspicious

Jo Bird: Bigoted witch-hunters in the Labour Party have finally succeeded in their campaign to have her kicked out of the party under false pretences – and just in time to influence her demand for enforcement action against the newspaper that smeared her (and me).

The Labour Party has expelled Cllr Jo Bird – and while she says she is delighted to be out of its “hostile environment”, the timing is extremely suspicious.

Cllr Bird was originally suspended by the Labour Party – for just nine days – after making a self-deprecating remark that their should be “Jew process” when considering allegations of anti-Semitism against party members.

She was suspended again when she was running for election to Labour’s ruling body, the NEC, early last year.

Much was made of this at the time, including by the Jewish Chronicle. Ms Bird complained to press regulator IPSO about inaccuracies in its article, and the eventual finding came back in her favour.

The decision is one of more than 30 IPSO decisions and court libel verdicts against that newspaper. Ms Bird and a group of other people – including This Writer – have formally requested that IPSO launch a “standards investigation” examining whether measures should be taken to compel the Jewish Chronicle to conform to the Editors’ Code, rather than publishing falsehoods.

IPSO;s board is now set to discuss the matter on December 8. It is against this background that Labour has, finally, expelled Cllr Bird – retrospectively, for actions involving proscribed organisations that were considered entirely respectable at the time she was involved with them:

The expulsion is the usual nonsense from Labour’s leadership – which, let’s not forget, is riddled with racism, of which this is just another example.

The party claims to oppose discrimination against Jews, yet here it is, discriminating against a Jewish member over something she could not have known would ever be considered unacceptable.

And the expulsion has happened in advance of the IPSO meeting on December 8, meaning board members may form a false impression that the principle figure responsible for the request against the Jewish Chronicle is an anti-Semite.

As it is, the board seems to be in opposition to any enforcement action against that rag, despite its long history of what could at best be described as inaccuracies.

See this article by Brian Cathcart for Byline Times for the details.

Apparently the “toughest regulator in the Western world” is so toothless that it meekly hopes a bit of training for the JC‘s editor, Stephen Pollard, will fix the problem.

Now Labour’s racist leadership has given this toothless regulator an opportunity to avoid doing its job, on a false pretext that the request comes from a dodgy source.

Let’s remember that, by publishing a stream of articles containing falsehoods about Labour members who have been accused of anti-Semitism, the JC has been helping Labour to expel innocent party members under false pretences.

Labour has an interest in defeating Ms Bird’s (and my) demand for a standards investigation into this unethical rag.

In other words: it’s corruption. The Tories don’t have a monopoly on foul play, you know.

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Is IPSO incapable of investigating standards at the Jewish Chronicle? Or UNWILLING?

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. And guess what? We’re not the only ones.

Remember the letter to newspaper regulator IPSO that This Writer co-signed, requesting a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle after it notched up 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years?

It seems IPSO would rather forget about it.

Tasked with providing a respond by August 12, the organisation’s first reaction was to send a ‘holding’ letter, to which one of my co-signatories, Jo Bird, replied with a list of seven questions.

She then received another holding letter from IPSO’s head of standards, saying she was going on holiday but would get on the case when she got back, and that Lord Faulks, the IPSO chair, would respond on his own account ‘in due course’.

Ms Bird chased this – only to receive yet another ‘holding’ letter saying the head of standards was now sick, and she has written again to say that the questions she asked (When will Faulks write? How many JC breaches has IPSO counted? And others) don’t need the head of standards to answer them.

We expect to receive another ‘holding’ letter.

Meanwhile, there has been another ruling against the JC, involving two code breaches: https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/?id=29092-20 – that makes 37 breaches of the law or the code in 37 months, including seven code breaches and one libel settlement in 2021 alone.

Some of us want to know what’s going on at the so-called press regulator. It should not take more than a month to work out whether there are grounds to investigate the standard of reporting at a newspaper that, over the last three years, has broken the rules – and the law – an average of once a month.

IPSO is itself owned and run by newspaper bosses and owners. Are they concerned that an investigation may create a precedent, setting a bar for investigations that their own newspapers could pass? Are they opposed to an investigation because they like what the JC has been doing? And are they embarrassed by the fact that the JC has put them in an impossible predicament?

Well, their problem is about to get worse.

Hacked Off – the campaign for a national press that is accountable and free of political and commercial influence – is launching a campaign demanding an IPSO standards investigation into the JC, and pointing out at the same time that there are very strong grounds for IPSO to investigate The Times over Islamophobia, The Telegraph on bad science and The Mail on a whole range of subjects – today, September 20, 2021.

Suppose IPSO has been gearing itself up to reject an investigation – or to run a token inquiry and whitewash the JC.

It seems to This Writer that such a course of action is about to become much, much more difficult to justify.

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Jo Bird, the proposed standards review of the Jewish Chronicle… and me

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level.

In case you’ve been living under a rock since the weekend, the newspaper regulator IPSO has made yet another ruling against the Jewish Chronicle for failures in its journalism.

The right-wing rag was found to have wrongly reported that Ms Bird, a Labour councillor in the Wirral, had been suspended for a third time in late 2020.

Details are below, including her own statement on the ruling which points out that the JC crucially failed to mention the fact that she is Jewish in its account of alleged anti-Semitism by her – thereby omitting crucial context.

As you can see from the last paragraph of her statement, Ms Bird demanded a formal Standards Investigation by IPSO into the JC.

This means that IPSO would consider whether the number and regularity of Editor’s Code breaches means that the JC‘s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. If it were to find against the newspaper, then penalties – and measures to improve it – may be demanded.

Where do I fit in to this?

I’m glad you asked.

Back in 2018, the JC was one of a handful of newspapers that re-published a false claim from The Sunday Times that I was a Holocaust denier. There was no truth in the allegation, which was derived from documents leaked by the Labour Party, which was investigating me at the time; investigators had ignored their own regulations on fairness in order to fabricate the claims.

The JC had not attempted to verify any of the claims against me before it published them. I complained to IPSO and my complaint was upheld (although you wouldn’t know it from the surly line of clarification that was added to the story, to the effect that I had said the claim was false. The Sunday Times was subsequently forced to publish a lengthy clarification in which it admitted that there was no truth at all to its claim about me).

After Ms Bird’s victory was announced, I was contacted by friends acting on her behalf, to ask if I would be willing to sign a letter calling on IPSO to conduct the Standards Investigation that she had already demanded, in my capacity as another victim of false reporting.

I was happy to do so.

And that is the reason my name is attached to the following letter:

Dear Lord Faulks,

We welcome IPSO’s agreement to consider Jo Bird’s proposal for a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle and we urge you to launch such an investigation without delay. With 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years, it is clear that the paper’s editorial standards are shockingly low and IPSO’s actions to date have made no difference.

We have all either seen our complaints to IPSO about the Jewish Chronicle’s bad journalism upheld or secured admissions of libel from the paper. Unless standards there improve there will be more victims, while readers will continue to be misled.

IPSO’s regulations say a Standards Investigation can take place where there is evidence of ‘serious and systemic breaches of the code’. The seriousness of the breaches by the Jewish Chronicle is attested to in IPSO’s own rulings while the sheer number of breaches and libel defeats – taking place at a small publication that appears only weekly – proves the problem is systemic.

We would be grateful if you would circulate this letter to all IPSO board members and to senior management.

Yours,

Jo Bird

John Davies

Ibrahim Hewitt, Interpal

Jenny Lennox

Kal Ross

Mike Sivier

Thomas Suárez

Marc Wadsworth

Audrey White

Now we must wait for a response from IPSO, due by August 12, and then for its findings – if an investigation is launched.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Excoriating report on Tory concentration camps is buried on last day of Parliament

Priti Patel doesn’t like answering hard questions: in this image she was defending Boris Johnson over ‘herd immunity’ so no wonder she has dodged interrogation over herding immigrants into overcrowded concentration camps to catch Covid-19 or get burnt when fires break out.

The Tories made sure a searing report on their failure to provide habitable accommodation for immigrants would not receive proper scrutiny – by releasing it the day after the relevant Parliamentary committee met for the last time before the summer recess.

The delay is all the more deplorable because Priti Patel has had the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration for months – but sat on it because she doesn’t like to be criticised – poor widdle baby!

According to the Mirror, the report only came out now because Labour’s Yvette Cooper accused Patel of delaying its release “for many months” in a “Kafkaesque” situation.

(Has Patel read Kafka? She probably thought he was a grotty foreign Communist and stuck to Ayn Rand and Mein Kampf.)

Conditions in her camps at Penally, Pembrokeshire, and Napier Barracks in Kent, certainly reflect the philosophy of Nazism (such as it is).

The reports findings certainly suggest that Patel followed Hitlerian thinking. It said overcrowding meant a major Covid outbreak at Napier was “virtually inevitable” once just one person was infected.

There was no way to isolate anybody; the outbreak eventually infected hundreds of people. Did anybody die? This Writer hasn’t seen the statistics.

And the report said: “Despite a large fire at Napier, inadequate action had been taken to address ongoing serious fire safety concerns.”

Furthermore, it said: “Managers at both sites lacked the experience and skills to run large-scale communal accommodation.

“Home Office staff were rarely present at either site. There were fundamental failures of leadership and planning by the Home Office, which had led to dangerous shortcomings in the nature of the accommodation and poor experiences for the residents.”

Yes indeed – they were locked into the camp, packed together like sardines, and treated like criminals even though they had not committed any crime.

A Home Office spokesperson said the government department has made “significant improvements” since the report was put together – which itself indicates that Patel withheld its release for an unacceptably long time.

And there has been a strong effort to hide events at the camp from public view. I’m not just referring to the intimidation of a photographer who took images of protests outside, either.

Simply withholding the report while changes were made is dishonest. It should have been published on receipt, and independent reviewers invited to examine any changes, to ensure that they were fit for purpose.

That hasn’t happened.

It is easy to form your own conclusion about the reason: Patel is a racist and hates immigrants – especially because she is herself a daughter of immigrants.

Source: All the bad news the Tory government buried hours before MPs’ summer holiday – Mirror Online

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Inquiry: Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at Sarah Everard and Kill the Bill protests

Clapham Common: police ‘failed to understand their legal duties in respect of protest’. That seems accurate – don’t you think?

Has the UK’s principle news outlet – the BBC – reported this in any way at all?

The report speaks for itself:

Police breached “fundamental rights” in their handling of the Sarah Everard vigil in London and Kill the Bill protests in Bristol, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

The Metropolitan Police and the Avon and Somerset force committed “multiple failings” in their response to the two events, according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution (APPGDC).

Their report claims that both forces wrongly applied coronavirus lockdown laws and “failed to understand their legal duties in respect of protest”.

It also suggested that officers taking action against protesters – as opposed to engaging with them before the event – “may have increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission” at the Sarah Everard Vigil in Clapham, southwest London.

Officers in Bristol “failed to distinguish between those protesting peacefully and those engaging in acts of violence”, which resulted in “excessive force” being used, it added.

Both police forces mentioned in the report have rejected its findings, meaning nothing will be done to improve policing.

It comes just days before Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill returns to the Commons with its proposals to make protest events like those on Clapham Common and in Bristol almost entirely illegal.

The findings have led to proposed amendments to the Bill, including abandoning some of the new proposed powers – as they are “unnecessary” and have placed police in an “unfair position” – and suggesting a special code on how to police protests.

The inquiry’s chairman, Labour MP Geraint Davies, said: “The police must not become the enforcement agency of the state against those who choose to publicly and collectively call for change – political, economic, social or environmental.

“Parliament must protect our freedoms and reject attempts to increase police power and restrict our right to peaceful protest.”

And yet the news media are strangely unwilling to report on this.

If the public don’t know about it, they can’t support the proposed changes, or the criticism of the police forces, meaning they can carrying on doing exactly whatever they want, and Johnson will be able to curtail our freedoms in any way he pleases.

Are you happy for that to happen?

If so, then you don’t have to do anything. Just sit back and let him strip you of your rights and freedoms. It will hurt – but not until you have a reason to complain and then find out that you aren’t allowed to.

If not, then it’s time to stand up for yourself. You can start by simply making sure all your friends see this article. Or is even that too much because you’re worried about what they’ll say?

Source: Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at Sarah Everard and Kill the Bill protests, parliamentary inquiry finds | UK News | Sky News

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Cressida Dick and Met police ‘institutionally corrupt’ in hindering Daniel Morgan murder inquiry

Cressida Dick: next time I publish an image of her I want it to be the mugshot taken after she is arrested.

How will the police be reformed after the damning report on the murder of a private detective – who had been investigating police corruption?

And how can we trust any measures when the current Metropolitan Police Commissioner actively participated in the corrupt cover-up of what happened to Daniel Morgan – and the current Home Secretary wanted to edit the independent report on this fiasco before the public could see it?

Do we all know the story? Morgan’s body was found in a south London car park in 1987, an axe buried in his head. He had been investigating police corruption.

To date, no fewer than five investigations have been conducted into the murder. Nobody has been convicted.

In 2013, then-Home Secretary Theresa May launched an independent inquiry to examine “police involvement in Daniel Morgan’s murder, the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice, and the failure to confront that corruption”.

It also looked into “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them”.

When the inquiry panel tried to publish its report in May, current Home Secretary Priti Patel tried to interfere, saying she needed to see it and may need to censor any part of it that she could claim might affect national security or human rights obligations.

She had no right to do so. The panel objected in the strongest possible terms and Patel had to back down. The report has been published in full today (June 15).

It reveals that the Metropolitan Police is “institutionally corrupt” and singles out Met Commissioner Cressida Dick for personal censure.

Panel chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said the Met’s first objective in its approach to the inquiry was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Daniel Morgan’s murder in 1987.

Its handling of the investigation into Morgan’s death was “institutionally corrupt” and placed concerns about its reputation above its duty to investigate the murder properly.

The Met deliberately misled the public and Morgan’s grieving family.

It delayed handing over vital documents to the inquiry panel, thereby hindering its own work. An investigation that was not expected to take long ended up being stretched out over eight years.

Then-Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick – along with her successors after she was promoted – was responsible for refusing to provide access to this information and never provided a reasonable explanation.

The inquiry panel’s report states [boldings mine]:

“The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his [killer] to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional [in]competence, individuals’ venal* behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.

“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.

“Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

“The Metropolitan Police were not honest in their dealings with Daniel Morgan’s family, or the public. The family and the public are owed an apology.”

A statement by Morgan’s family condemned “a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.

The independent panel made a number of recommendations which include:

  • Law enforcement agencies should be subjected to a newly created “statutory duty of candour”.
  • Metropolitan Police should properly vet employees and have “adequate and effective processes” to establish whether any officers and staff are “currently engaged in crime.”
  • The force should make sure it has the necessary resources to tackle corrupt behaviour among its officers and to ensure police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also sufficiently resourced to investigate such matters.
  • An investigation should be carried out by another police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), looking at police practices and procedures to determine whether “sufficient resources” are available to protect police whistleblowers.

I have absolutely no confidence that any of these recommendations will be honoured by those concerned.

Patel has made a statement in Parliament, saying she has demanded a full response to the report from Dick. I have no confidence that anything these two cook up between them will bear any relationship to the facts; they will try to mislead us again.

If Patel could be trusted to do her job properly, she would have already demanded the suspension of Dick and every other police officer involved in this 34-years-long corrupt cover-up – all of them.

She would then invite law enforcement officers from a completely different place – possibly even from a different country, because I don’t think anybody here can be trusted to be honest – to investigate their roles and determine whether and what criminal charges should be levelled against them.

This is a most serious matter; we are seeing corruption at the heart of the police and government – of an ingrained, institutional nature.

And the Tories – themselves proven to be institutionally corrupt over the last two years of Boris Johnson’s government – are entirely unfit to tackle it.

*Showing or motivated by an inclination towards being bribed; corrupt.

Source: Daniel Morgan murder: Met chief censured for hampering corruption inquiry | Daniel Morgan | The Guardian

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After Lord Geidt’s whitewash, Labour wants INDEPENDENT probe on Downing Street flat redecoration

Good advice: Boris Johnson can say what he likes about his alleged breaches of the ministerial code, but nobody in their right mind would take only his word for it.

Labour will be like a dog with a bone over Tory corruption.

You know why?

The party can’t attack the Tory government over its incompetent hnadling of Covid-19 because Keir Starmer supported every duff decision Boris Johnson made (until the evidence revealed those choices to have been homicidal).

And Starmer can’t criticise the Tories over Brexit because his choice of policy contributed to Labour’s spectacular loss of the 2019 general election. He would just be inviting ridicule.

But Tory corruption is a different matter.

And the controversy over the redecoration of the Downing Street Flat occupied by Boris (and Mrs) Johnson, dubbed “Wallpapergate” due to the enormous cost of the wallpaper they chose – more than £800 per roll – was only ever likely to get worse after the prime minister was cleared of wrongdoing by a man who is his employee.

And Labour has found a way to make this an actual Double Whammy.

Not only has Labour reported Johnson to the independent Parliamentary standards commissioner, but it has pointed out that he was warned to face stronger sanctions after a previous transgression.

He had failed to declare shares in a property by the deadline required for it to appear in the relevant register of MPs’ interests.

At the time, standards commissioner Kathryn Stone had reprimanded Johnson. She also warned that any further breaches may warrant “more serious sanction”.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, reminded Ms Stone of this in her letter requesting an independent investigation into Johnson’s failure to register a donation by Tory donor Lord Brownlow to pay for the flat redecoration.

She wrote: “Far from learning the lessons of his previous transgressions, the prime minister has continued with his attitude of treating basic standards of integrity, openness and transparency with contempt, and behaving as though there is one rule for him and another for everyone else.”

And she said the fact that Mr Johnson told Lord Geidt he became aware of the donations for the works on the flat in February this year but did not settle the invoices personally until March 8 suggests he is in breach of parliamentary rules on declaring donations that all MPs must follow.

Ms Stone is already investigating whether Mr Johnson properly declared a £15,000 holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique with his now-wife Carrie.

Johnson is also facing two other inquiries into the flat refurbishment.

The Electoral Commission is investigating whether the Conservative Party broke the rules on declaring donations over the Downing Street flat and has the power to issue a fine of up to £20,000.

And Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, the UK’s top civil servant, is also examining whether donations were properly declared.

And it will only get worse for Johnson because he won’t stop breaking the rules. It seems he genuinely thinks he’s above the law.

Still, it’s great for political commentators like This Writer. It guarantees me stories for years to come.

As for you… if you like that sort of thing, I recommend you buy popcorn – in a regular supply.

Source: Labour demands further probe into Boris Johnson’s flat revamp – BBC News

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Investigation of Conservative Islamophobia is another blatant whitewash

Boris Johnson’s comments about the clothes worn by Muslim women are only part of the huge volume of Islamophobia and racial hatred he has tried to stir up on his own – but the EHRC was happy to let the Tories investigate accusations against their own party and now that report stands revealed to be a whitewash.

An independent (was it?) review into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party has said there is no “institutional” problem – to howls of outrage from the rest of us.

Even though it does report attitudes that make “uncomfortable” reading for Boris Johnson and other Tories, the report is as much a whitewash as the examination of “institutional racism” in the UK, a few weeks ago.

The government has been resisting calls for that report to be discredited and scrapped ever since and the Conservative Party must now face the same calls over this.

Here’s the BBC, calmly presenting the Tories in as kind a light as possible (in other words, very dimly):

There is “clear evidence” the Conservatives’ complaints system is “in need of overhaul”, Professor Swaran Singh’s independent review into alleged Islamophobia and discrimination in the Conservative Party said.

It found anti-Muslim views were seen at local association and individual level.

But claims of “institutional racism” were not borne out by evidence of the way complaints were handled.

The report warned it “should make for uncomfortable reading for the party”.

But it also said it found “no evidence the party had… systematically failed any particular community”.

Oh, really?

Let’s go to some of our favourite people on Twitter for their analysis.

Here’s Ash Sarkar, who happens to be a Muslim who has suffered Islamophobia from Conservative Party members:

She was also able to provide an example of Islamophobia by a very senior Conservative, from very recent history:

She was referring to this:

Johnson’s own comment about women wearing the burqa (or burka, spell it how you like) looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” was criticised as “insensitive”. That’s a strange way to spell “racist”!

It seems he tried to excuse himself with the pathetically weak comment that he wouldn’t do it again, now that he is prime minister.

How is that acceptable? He was saying that he still holds his racist, Islamophobic opinions, but he now intends to deceive the public that he doesn’t by choosing not to broadcast them!

Perhaps he feels he should not be picked out for special investigation because he isn’t the first Tory prime minister to be out-and-out racist filth. Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, that gave rise to her racist “go home” advertising vans and the Windrush scandal, springs to mind.

But apparently these historical examples of racism and Islamophobia are still not enough for the Singh review!

They were enough for Russ Jones:

Also on a party-wide basis:

Some have seen this as marking the right time for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to resume its own investigation into Tory Islamophobia, that was called off after the Singh review was announced.

This was rightly criticised at the time because the EHRC point-blank refused to call off its inquiry into Labour anti-Semitism after that party announced an internal review.

So Peter Oborne’s suggestion rings hollow:

The most that is likely to come from it, even if the EHRC deigns to respond, is confirmation that it is biased towards the Conservatives.

And as far as Conservatives are concerned, we have this comment to put the whole situation in its proper context:

Divide and rule. It is the Tory mantra. They have spent more than a decade encouraging prejudice and racism across the UK.

And they’re not going to stop, now they know it’s working.

Source: PM’s burka comments gave impression of insensitivity – report – BBC News

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‘National embarrassment issues’ as Daniel Morgan panel refuses to hand report to Priti Patel

Daniel Morgan: Priti Patel, who is in charge of the police, still wants to interfere with a report into the murder of a man who had been investigating police corruption.

What a principled, positive stand by the panel responsible for the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry.

According to The Guardian,

The independent panel investigating the Daniel Morgan scandal is refusing the home secretary’s demands to hand over its report before it can be published, as senior police sources say nothing in the case affects national security.

Patel cited the need to consider national security and human rights obligations before making the report public.

But one source with close knowledge of the five Metropolitan police inquiries into the case and the documents involved, said: “There are no national security issues involved. There are national embarrassment issues.”

The grounds on which Patel is justifying her demand to review the report are very shaky indeed:

The Home Office pointed to one part of the panel’s terms of reference which, it said, allows it to see the report before agreeing to its publication, and make changes as it sees fit.

The relevant section says: “The independent panel will present its final Report to the home secretary, who will make arrangements for its publication to parliament.”

A government source said: “Before the home secretary lays it before parliament she has to satisfy herself as to her statutory duties.

“Those relate to national security considerations and that it complies with human rights obligations such as the right to life (article 2) and the right to privacy (article 8).”

This is an attempt to shoe-horn new requirements into rules that were written six years before Patel got anywhere near the Home Office. And it shouldn’t work.

There is nothing in that section of the terms of reference that says the Home Secretary may do anything other than arrange for the report to be published.

In fact, it could be argued that the omission specifically prohibits her from trying; if she was to be allowed such leeway, it would have been written into the terms.

I reckon this will go to the High Court.

Source: Daniel Morgan murder: panel refuses to hand over report | Police | The Guardian

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Fury as Patel interferes with independence of report into private detective’s murder

Daniel Morgan: Priti Patel wants to interfere with a report into the murder of a man who had been investigating police corruption. Now, why would she want to do that?

Nothing screams “cover up” quite so loudly as a Home Secretary interfering in the publication of an independent report – especially when it is on the murder of a detective investigating police corruption.

This Writer has been reporting on the murder of Daniel Morgan, practically since I started working on newspapers, and the lack of progress in his case indicates either a monumental failure – or monumental obstruction.

His body was found in a south London car park with an axe embedded in its head in 1987.

The motive for the murder has not been established. Some believe it resulted from a business dispute but following a fresh investigation the Met announced in 2007 that the motive for the murder was probably that Morgan “was about to expose a south London drugs network possibly involving corrupt police officers”.

There are claims that corruption in Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire is also linked to the case.

The independent Morgan panel was set up in 2013 to investigate “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the former News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them.”

Its terms of reference included “police involvement in the murder; the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder … and the failure to confront that corruption”.

And now Priti Patel, the government minister responsible for the police, is refusing to allow the report of an independent inquiry into his murder to be published until she has vetted it, despite not having the right to do so.

It seems she wants to black out any part of the report she says might affect national security or human rights obligations.

The Morgan panel, responsible for the report, has issued a statement attacking the intervention in the strongest possible terms.

It said it had been told the report would not be made public until it agreed to the pre-publication review by government, which breaches the understanding it has about its independence.

The panel claimed the Home Office wanted the right to black out any part of the report it considered may breach “national security” or human rights obligations.

“The Panel was informed yesterday (Monday 17 May) that a publication date will not be agreed until the home secretary and Home Office officials and lawyers have reviewed the contents of the Panel’s Report,” its statement said.

“A review of this nature has not been raised previously in the eight years since the panel was established in 2013.”

It added: “The panel believes that this last-minute requirement is unnecessary and is not consistent with the panel’s independence.”

It said: “The panel is disappointed with this position and hopes the matter can be resolved in adequate time for its report to still be published in May while parliament is sitting.”

And it said a senior team from the Metropolitan police had already checked to ensure there was nothing in the final report that jeopardised security.

The Home Office statement on the matter is contradictory.

It states: “The home secretary … has an obligation to make sure the report complies with human rights and national security considerations. This has nothing to do with the independence of the report and the Home Office is not seeking to make edits to it.”

But if Patel is planning to alter the report – in any way – before the public can see it, then she is seeking to edit it.

Daniel Morgan’s brother Alistair has said the panel should take a case to the High Court, to protect its independence.

Let’s hope it does. This case has been going on for long enough that another slight delay won’t make much difference – and resisting Patel’s interference could make the difference between finally having a conclusion and suffering another grubby cover-up.

Source: Anger as Patel delays publication of report into private detective’s murder | Police | The Guardian

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