Tag Archives: law

Operation Elveden: I make contact with the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards

Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the

Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

23rd Floor North

Empress State Building

Lillie Road

London SW6 ITR

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

20 Sept 2013

Dear Mr  Bonthron,

DI Daniel Smith of Operation Elveden (see first document down) tells me you are dealing with my complaints regarding the failure of Operation Elveden to investigate serious crimes involving these erstwhile employees of the Daily Mirror Piers Morgan (editor) and  Jeff Edwards (Chief Crime Reporter) ,   plus Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  (who I presume is now retired) .

You will find below my complete correspondence with  Operation Elveden and the CPS.  The correspondence with Elevden comes before the CPS. You will also see I have just written to the attorney-general.

If Elveden have not passed their complete file on my complaint  to you, the only thing you may now  be missing is the recording of my meeting with Det Supt Jeff Curtis at which he promised to interview Piers Morgan and  Jeff Edwards. This he then failed to do despite having a copy of a letter from Morgan to the PCC supplied by me in which Morgan admitted receiving information from the Met Police in circumstances which can only have been illegal . A facsimile of this letter is attached.

Operation Elveden have had my complaint and evidence  since the end of January. That is an unconscionable delay in investigating Morgan, Edwards, and Curtis.  The wilful ignoring of  such clear evidence as I have provided amounts to misconduct in a public office and/or an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Frankly, I find it very odd that you have not contacted me before now to arrange an interview. I wish to meet you to discuss this matter as soon as possible.  Please arrange to meet me ASAP.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

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From: “Alaric.Bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk” <alaric.bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk>

To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Cc: mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk; keir.starmer@cps.gsi.gov.uk; alison.saunders@cps.gsi.gov.uk; Gregor.McGill@cps.gsi.gov.uk; Bernard.Hogan-Howe@met.pnn.police.uk; Neil.Basu@met.pnn.police.uk; Daniel.Smith3@met.pnn.police.uk; whittingdalej@parliament.uk; george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk; geraldhowarth@parliament.uk

Sent: Monday, 23 September 2013, 11:16

Subject: RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al cont.

Mr Henderson

Thank you for the email below. I would like to point out we are currently reviewing the previous matters dealt with by D.Supt Curtis which you had sent to the MPS. This review is in hand and you will be updated in due course.

Many thanks

Alaric

Alaric Bonthron

Detective Chief Superintendent

Directorate of Professional Standards – Deputy Commissioners Portfolio

MetPhone: 786633 | Telephone: 020 7161 6633 Address: 23rd Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR

————————————————————————————————————————————-

156 Levita House, Chalton Street, London NW1 1HR

Tel: 0207 387 5018   Email: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the

Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

23rd Floor North

Empress State Building

Lillie Road

London SW6 ITR

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

25 September  2013

Dear Mr Bonthron,

Your email of 23 September continues the behaviour I have experienced at the hands of  Operation Elveden. I have asked you to meet me and you have simply ignored the request.  Frankly, that does not inspire confidence in me that you will deal with this matter honestly. It also  builds on my rational mistrust of the Met Police which has developed through my experience of the force over the past  sixteen years.

It is not that think the police are generally corrupt,  but rather that there are two circumstances in which the will almost invariably  act dishonestly. The first is where their own misbehaviour places them in danger, for example, selling information to the media; the second is where those with power and influence are the subject of allegations of criminality.  Both circumstances apply with knobs on in my case.

Since March 1997, when the Blairs attempted and failed humiliatingly to have me prosecuted on bogus charges, I have been given ample reason for doubting the honesty of the Met. My experience with the Blairs is neatly summarised in this Early Day Motion put down by Sir Richard Body:

CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99

Sir Richard Body

That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.

This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702

The police refused to meaningfully investigate any of my complaints against the Blairs and  the Mirror.  I also suffered harassment throughout Blair’s premiership, behaviour which abruptly stopped when he left office.  The harassment went from ostentatiously opening my post to vicious incitements in chat rooms to attack me to death threats.  During that time I was unable to get the police to meaningfully investigate any of my complaints about the harassment.

I think that should be  enough to  put you in the picture.  Do not read into it that I am not prepared to give you a fair chance to play the honest man. Play square with me and you will have clean moral hands in this matter as far as I am concerned.  But if you attempt to shrug off my complaints you will become part of the scandal. Ask yourself this simple question Mr Bonthron; would you be happy standing in a witness box or before TV cameras trying to explain why a letter from a Fleet Street editor admitting receiving information from the Met Police in circumstances which can only have been illegal is not grounds to investigate that editor?

I ask again that you to arrange a meeting with me ASAP.  If you are unwilling to meet me, please say so and explain your reasons.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

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From: “Alaric.Bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk” <alaric.bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk>

To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Sent: Wednesday, 2 October 2013, 15:19

Subject: RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al cont.

Mr Henderson

Thank you for your further email. I explained in the first I would be having the matters raised in your original messages to the Elveden team reviewed then would get back to you. This has not changed and I will be in contact in due course.

Thank you

Alaric

Alaric Bonthron

Detective Chief Superintendent

Directorate of Professional Standards – Deputy Commissioners Portfolio

MetPhone: 786633 | Telephone: 020 7161 6633 |Address: 23rd Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR

—————————————————————————————————————————-

From: “Alaric.Bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk” <alaric.bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk>

To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Sent: Wednesday, 2 October 2013, 15:19

Subject: RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al cont.

 

Mr Henderson

Thank you for your further email. I explained in the first I would be having the matters raised in your original messages to the Elveden team reviewed then would get back to you. This has not changed and I will be in contact in due course.

Thank you

 

Alaric

Alaric Bonthron

Detective Chief Superintendent

Directorate of Professional Standards – Deputy Commissioners Portfolio

MetPhone: 786633 | Telephone: 020 7161 6633 |Address: 23rd Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR

———————————————————————————————–

Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the

Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

23rd Floor North

Empress State Building

Lillie Road

London SW6 ITR

 

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

 

8 October  2013

 

Dear Mr Bonthron,

I refer to your email of 2 October. Yet again you have ignored my request for a meeting with you. I am not going to get into a perpetual exchange of  emails making the  request and you ignoring it, so this will be the last time I make the request.  Are you willing to meet me and if not why not?

You may think that this extremely toxic (for the Met and you)  problem will simply go away if you ignore it. The question you should be considering is what if it does not go away, what if the media censorship is broken? How would you explain your behaviour if you were in a witness box or in front of TV cameras?  I can just envisage it: “Mr Bonthron, are you seriously suggesting that the possession of a letter from a Fleet Street editor admitting he received information illegally from the Met Police does not constitute  grounds for investigation?

Think about it.

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Henderson

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I sent my email to the attorney-general in the evening of the 18th Sept and got messages back from DI Smith giving me the contact details for the Directorate of  professional Standards, something he had failed to do for two weeks following  my request  I also received  an  email immediately from the staff officer serving the head of Operation Elveden . This was the first time I have had any response from Basu’s office.

Bonthron is the head of the Directorate of Professional Standards   and the fact that someone so senior is dealing with the matter is indicative of the concern my complaints are causing. The involvement of police officers of far too high a rank to investigate the type of complaints I have made is a common thread throughout my dealings with the police since the Blairs tried and failed miserably to have me prosecuted. Since 1997 I have had these  senior  coppers dealing with my complaints:

Det Chief Supt Tony Dawson – The Met’s Internal Investigations Command

Dept Supt Jeff Curtis

Chief Supt John Yates

Chief Supt Eric Brown

Supt Cliff Hughes

Supt Alex Fish

Chief Inspector Julia Wortley

Chief Inspector Ian West

Det Chief Inspector Stephen Kershaw

——————————————————————————–

RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al

From

Neil.Basu@met.police.uk

To

anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Dear Mr Henderson,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of this e-mail and a second of the same date which is timed at 20:32hrs.

You have hopefully already received Commander Basu’s out of office notification and are therefore aware that he will be unable to respond to you personally in a timely way. I have therefore passed your messages to Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Gordon Briggs who is the officer overseeing the Elvedon, Weeting and Tuleta investigations. DCS Briggs will make contact to provide a response within 7 days.

Yours sincerely

Marion Kent PS 6010 CO

Staff Officer to Cmdr Neil Basu – Armed Policing

Specialist Crime & Operations

Room 1113 | 11th Floor | Tower Block

New Scotland Yard

10 Broadway

SW1H 0BG

MetPhone 761727 Telephone 020 7230 1727

Email marion.kent@met.pnn.police.uk

——————————————————————————————————-Email: Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk

http://www.met.police.uk

Your ref:

Our ref: Op Elveden

19/09/13

Dear Mr Henderson

In response to your recent request for information I am able to supply you with the below details.

The review of the original investigation is being conducted by the Department of Professional Standards. The Officer conducting the review is Detective Chief Superintendent Alaric Bonthron.

Mr Bonthron’s address is EMPRESS STATE BUILDING, LILLIE ROAD, LONDON, SW6 1TR

Mr Bonthron is contactable via the email address ‘alaric.bonthron@met.police.uk’

The Department of Professional Standards will update you at the conclusion of the review or in month should the review not be concluded sooner.

Yours sincerely,

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

 

Click on the tag Operation Elveden for the full story

See in particular https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/operation-elvedens-failure-to-investigate-pier-morgan-et-al-referred-to-the-attorney-general/

and

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden/

Operation Elveden to review my Piers Morgan, Jeff Edwards and Jeff Curtis complaints

Note:  Elveden’s decision(see first email down)   to review their refusal to act is a decidedly interesting development which  suggests they or the CPS are starting to get worried. Both have every reason to do so.

There is evidence and then there is evidence. Much, probably the large majority, of  evidence of criminal behaviour carries with it an element of doubt. That allows for wriggle-room if the police do not want to investigate or the CPS to prosecute.

The problem for the police and the CPS is that the evidence I have supplied is completely devoid of doubt. It is simply an objective statement of what is and was.

The Mirror story contains information which shows that the Mirror’s then Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards received information from the police; the tape recording of my interview with D-Supt Jeff Curtis proves he promised to interview Morgan et al at the Mirror, the police have my personal testimony that Curtis told me when closing the case that no one had been interviewed at the Mirror, something they can check with the file on my original complaint and the evidence given under oath by Morgan and Edwards at the Leveson Inquiry is simply a matter of record.

Most dramatically, there is Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC in which he admits receiving information in circumstances which can only have been illegal. That is the most toxic item for the police and the CPS because it is a beautifully simple piece of evidence. Anyone would understand it immediately they read the words “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…” That cannot be argued or finessed away.

I suspect that the reason the police have decided to review  the original decision not to investigate is down to the CPS effectively instructing them to do so. If so, the Morgan letter will probably be the reason which persuaded them to do act. It cannot be gainsaid.

Not yet cause to get over-excited, but the fact that there is any movement from Elveden is distinctly encouraging.

Robert Henderson 30 7 2013

———————————————————————————————————————

— Forwarded Message —– From: “Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk” <daniel.smith3@met.police.uk> To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Monday, 29 July 2013, 15:24 Subject: RE: Operation Elveden are refusing to investigate stone-dead certain crimes

SCO12 AC Private Office & Business Support

2.211

Jubilee House Putney

230-232 Putney Bridge Road

London SW15 2PD

Telephone:  Facsimile:  Email: Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk http://www.met.police.uk

Your ref:  Our ref: Op Elveden

29th July 2013

Dear Mr Henderson

Thank you for your emails dated the 4th and 25th July 2013.  I was away from work for the first two weeks of July so I apologise for the delay in responding to your email dated the 4th July.

I am able to inform you that the matters raised in your emails have been forwarded to Detective Chief Superintendent Briggs. He has asked the Department of Professional Standards conduct a review of the original investigation to establish whether or not there are any additional lines of enquiry that can be progressed. I will ensure you are informed of the progress of that review and will write to you again four weeks from now accordingly.

ours sincerely,

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

SCO/12

Jubilee House, 230-232 Putney Bridge Road, Putney, London, SW15 2PD Mobile 07825 606 501 Office 0208 785 8924 Switchboard 0300 123 1212  email: daniel.smith3@met.pnn.police.uk

———————————————————————————————————–

Detective Chief Supt Gordon Briggs

Senior co-ordinating officer for Operations

Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta,

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

Cc

Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

30 7 2013

Dear Mr Briggs,

I have DI Daniel Smith’s email of 29 July in which informs me that you have arranged for the Met’s  Department of Professional Standards (DPS)  to conduct  a review of my various complaints to Operation Elveden.  I do not have any contact details for the DPS, so please copy this email to whoever is in charge of the review.  In addition, I ask you to read not only this submission,  but my correspondence with Elveden so that you are aware of the exceptionally strong evidence which is being ignored .  The complete correspondence is included below.

Mr Smith tells me  that there will be “a review of the original investigation to establish whether or not there are any additional lines of enquiry that can be progressed.”

It is not clear to what he refers when he writes of “the original investigation”. If he means  the sham investigation conducted by Det Supt Jeff Curtis,  then the matter is clear: D-Supt Curtis promised me that he would question all those involved at the Mirror (definitely Morgan and Edwards plus anyone else whom the investigation turned up). He broke his word. Neither Mr Curtis, nor any other officer,  questioned anyone at the Mirror or sought  to examine their accounts for evidence of payments being made to the police officer in question. I know this because he  admitted it  to me in a telephone call. You can also check this fact by looking at the police file relating to my original complaint.  I supplied Operation Elveden with a tape recording of my meeting with Jeff Curtis on which he made his promise to me. The recording was made with his knowledge and agreement.

As to why  the original investigation was sham, the answer to that is very simple. My complaints  involved not merely a powerful man and organisation in Morgan and the Mirror, but the Blairs. Everyone who should have acted honestly in the matter acted dishonestly;  the police, the CPS, the DPP and the Police Complaints Authority. I could not even get my MP to look at the matter  because as luck would have it he is Frank Dobson,  who was then a member of Blair’s Cabinet.   It was a classic who shall guard the guards scenario leading to a shameful corruption of justice.

If  “the original investigation” refers to an investigation conducted by Elveden, that is a misnomer because no investigation has been made. Indeed, it has been a very rum business to date because the entire matter has been conducted in writing, despite my repeated requests for meetings with Operation Elveden officers and to give a formal statement.

The evidence I have  supplied to Elveden is exceptionally strong. I would be willing to put a great of money on Morgan’s letter to the PCC being the only letter from a Fleet Street editor admitting receiving information from the police illicitly  the Met has  received in its entire history. That piece of  evidence alone should be enough to start a proper investigation into  Morgan and Edwards behaviour. The facts of Jeff Curtis’ failure to act when he has cast iron evidence of a serious crime are clear and simple.  The perjury allegations against Morgan and Edwards  follow from those facts.

Almost certainly the Mirror’s police informant was paid. Proving that is not necessarily a lost cause.  It is 16 years since the event,  but in 1997 we were already well into the digital age. It is quite possible that electronic  records of the Mirror’s accounts  of the time  still exist. In addition, I spoke to Edwards on the day the  Mirror story was published and he went immediately  into a flat spin. Consequently, I think there is a sporting chance that he would go to pieces and admit everything if he is placed under investigation.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

From: robert henderson [mailto:anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk] Sent: 25 July 2013 20:45 To: Kier Starmer Cc: George Eustice; John; Basu Neil – SCO12; Gerald Howarth; Mark; Smith Daniel – SCO12; alison.saunders@cps.gsi.gov.uk Subject: Operation Elveden are refusing to investigate stone-dead certain crimes

——————————————————————————————————-

Keir Starmer (DPP)

Rose Court

2 Southwark Bridge

London

SE1 9HS

Tel: 020 3357 0000

CC

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

25 July 2013

Dear Mr Starmer

I have been copying you in to a complaint I submitted to Operation Elveden in January this year. I have done this because my previous experience with the Met persuaded me that they cannot be trusted to behave honestly when complaints involve those with power, wealth and influence.   I enclose below my complete correspondence with Operation Elveden for your convenience.

There is a considerable scandal in the way Operation Elveden has responded to my complaints. Put simply they have been rejected without any investigation despite the evidence I provided being exceptionally strong.

The complaint  included a cast-iron case against Piers Morgan when editor of the Daily Mirror of receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.   The evidence I provided was just about as conclusive as you could wish: a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC . In it he writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…”  I attach a copy of the letter in facsimile.

There is also conclusive evidence against the Mirror’s erstwhile Chief Crime Reporter of having  received information from the police illicitly  and prima facie grounds for believing Morgan and Edwards committed perjury under oath at the Leveson Inquiry when they were questioned about receiving information from the police illegally.  Finally, there is  the complaint against ex-Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  for perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office  by failing to investigate the Mirror when the complaint about Morgan and Edwards’ illegal receipt of information was first submitted to the Metropolitan police.  This again is open and shut because Curtis failed to question Morgan and Edwards or examine the Mirror  accounts for evidence of payments  to the police officer who supplied the information referred to in Morgan’s letter to the PCC. He did this despite promising me that he would be interviewing Morgan and Edwards – provided Operation Elveden of a tape recording of Curtis making this promise.

The full details of  my complaint to Elveden can be found in the next  document down which is addressed to  the Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh on 21/1/2013.   Operation Elveden’s refusal to act (written by  Detective Inspector Daniel Smith)  and my response to that are the two last pieces of  the Operation Elveden correspondence below.

I am writing directly to you because this is a who shall guards the guards situation.  There is no point in my going to the Met to complain because they are the organisation about which I am complaining.

Nor is there any point in my making a complaint to them about criminal behaviour arising from the failure of Operation Elveden  to investigate the clearest evidence of serious criminality. Consequently, I ask you to intervene to ensure that my original complaints and the criminal aspect of Operation Elveden’s refusal to investigate are properly investigated.

This has already been dragging on far too long so prompt action please.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Operation Eleveden, Tom Harper, The Independent and the censoring of elite criminality

Robert Henderson

On 11th July 2013 I met the  journalist Tom Harper  who works for the Independent. I was introduced to him by the lawyer  Mark Lewis who has represented many of the phone-hacking victims.

The meeting was to discuss Operation Elveden’s refusal to investigate my complaints about  Piers Morgan  and Jeff Edwards receiving information from the police in circumstances that can only be illegal, Morgan and Edwards’ perjury before the Leveson Inquiry and the failure of the police (led by then Det Supt Jeff Curtis) to investigate my original complaints against Morgan and Edwards; this  despite my supplying them with a letter from Morgan to the PCC in which he admits the Mirror received the information from the police. The details of my dealings with Elveden are at  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/operation-elveden-piers-morgan-et-al-the-dpp-advised-of-elvedens-refusal-to-investigate/).

We spent more than an  hour together. Our discussion expanded beyond Operation Eleveden  to the refusal of the Leveson Inquiry to call  me as a witness or use any of the information  I supplied to the Inquiry (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/).  From there it went to the Blairs’ attempts to have me prosecuted and the use of Special Branch and MI5 to keep me under surveillance after failing to do persuade the  CPS to sanction an investigation of me.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/) That in turn led to the story attached to the publication in Wisden Cricket Monthly  of my article  Is it in the blood?  in 1995. (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/is-it-in-the-blood-cmj-and-the-hypocrisy-of-the-media/)

During our conversation I supplied Harper with a good deal of material and the next day I emailed him with the other information he requested such as the responses to my  Data Protection Act requests to Special Branch  and MI5. ( The major evidence is listed in my first email to Harper reproduced below.)  Thus Harper  had all the information he asked for by 12th July.

Throughout our  meeting Harper was very enthusiastic about the material I gave him and the story I had to tell.  At the end of the meeting he said he was definitely going to run the story and wanted to do so quickly.

I rang Harper on 12 July and asked what was happening. He was still adamant the story was going to be used soon. I asked whether it would come out that  weekend . Interestingly, he responded in panicky fashion by asking me if I was going to offer the story to someone else. I assured him I had no plans to do that but did need some action soon. Harper promised to come back to me when publication was scheduled.

A week later I still had not heard from him. When I tried to ring him I always went to voicemail. I left messages but got no reply. Eventually on the 22nd July I emailed him and copied the letter to Mark Lewis. That shamed him into action and I received the email from him which I reproduce below.

Harper’s email is utterly at odds with both his behaviour at our meeting and the phone call of 12th July. My further email to him reproduced below deals with this transmutation of his attitude.  Harper did not reply to this email.

The most plausible explanation for his change of heart is that he has been leant on by someone in a position of authority, most probably his editor.  Whatever the reason, Harper can be added to the list of journalists and broadcasters who have censored the stories I have to tell, all of which are by any standard of prime public interest.

———————————————————————————–

From: robert henderson [mailto:anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk]

Sent: 22 July 2013 16:00

To: Tom Harper

Subject: I need to know your intentions Tom

Tom Harper

The Independent

22 7 2013

Dear Tom,

I have given you gratis  at least four  major stories:

1. The Blairs misuse of the security services against me

2. Unshakeable evidence of Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police.

3. The failure of the police to twice investigate the Mirror’s illegal receipt of information.

4. Leveson’s corrupt behaviour in failing to call me as a witness or using  any of the evidence I supplied to him including the Piers Morgan letter – see below.

Most importantly, I have not simply asserted these things happened. Instead  I have given you absolute proof that they happened by supplying you with, amongst other things:

a) Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC admitting he received information from the police in circumstances which can only be illegal.

b) A tape recording of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard promising to interview Morgan and Edwards, something he failed to do.

c). My correspondence with Operation Elveden showing their utter refusal to investigate my complaints against Morgan, Edwards and Jeff Curtis despite the fact that they had cast iron evidence of the alleged offences.

d) Correspondence with Special Branch and MI5 relating to my use of the DPA which demonstrated (1) they held data on me and (2) there was data that the y refused to release. This despite the fact that the CPS ruled the Blairs’ complaints against me as “NO CRIME” within hours of receiving the papers from Belgravia police.

e) A copy of the Belgravia Police report on the Blairs’ complaint which clearly showed the “No Crime” ruling.

f) Correspondence between the Met Police and me relating to the Belgravia Police report. This shows (1) that I managed to get the report significantly changed using the DPA and (2) that the Blairs had referred to me as “an irritant like Henderson”, a distinctly sinister phrase  from a man who was on the brink of becoming PM.

When we met You assured me that you were going to use the information and that it would be used quickly. You have now had the information the better part of two weeks,. No story has appeared and my attempts to contact you by phone have proven fruitless.  I need to know ASAP whether you intend to use the story and if not why you have changed your mind.

All political ills flow from censorship and most particularly censorship of the misbehaviour of the powerful.   Milton put it beautifully:  ‘And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose upon the earth, so truth be in the field [and] we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter…’ [Areogapitica].

Only those who are uncertain of their case ever wish to suppress information and argument.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————————————————————————-

From: Tom Harper <T.Harper@independent.co.uk>

To: robert henderson <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

Sent: Monday, 22 July 2013, 16:10

Subject: RE: I need to know your intentions Tom

Dear Robert,

Apologies for the delay in responding to you. I have been tied up with other stories that were on the go before I met you.

I have reviewed the information now. I am very grateful to you for taking the time to come and meet me and show me your dossier.

However, I do not think I can use it for a news story in The Independent.

I do not doubt that what happened back in 1997 was wrong, inhuman and had a deleterious effect on your health. I am truly sorry you had to go through those awful experiences.

But I do not think the information you have provided proves the stories that you say. Although it is mildly embarrassing that Morgan has admitted The Mirror got the info from a police source, there is no suggestion any money changed hands. That is the allegation that would create my “top line” – and it is flawed.

I know you will strongly disagree and I am sorry about that. But if you read some of my past work, you will see I am not afraid of having a pop at the police and/or the press and I am not being censored. I just do not think the evidence stacks up in quite the way you suggest.

However, I do think that some of it could be used as background material for a wider piece, but sense you want to try and get maximum impact so I would suggest approaching other journos.

Thanks very much for meeting up with me and good luck.

Warmest regards,

Tom

——————————————————————————————-

From: robert henderson <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

To: Tom Harper <T.Harper@independent.co.uk>

Cc: Mark <mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk>

Sent: Monday, 22 July 2013, 16:53

Subject: Re: I need to know your intentions Tom

Dear Tom,

Your response literally makes no sense. You had the all information by the end of our meeting. Your attitude throughout our meeting was very enthusiastic. Not only  that but you promised me you would be using the story. You said the same when I spoke with you  a week ago. Now suddenly you pretend it is no story. Do you honestly imagine, Tom, that any disinterested third party would believe that you have rejected the story because it is not of great public interest?  If you had run it not only would it have brought down  Piers Morgan and several senior police officers, but it would have put the Blairs in a very awkward position.

I will address the particular point of Piers Morgan letter. I explained the relevant law to you during our meeting. Whether or not Morgan, Edwards or any other Mirror employee paid for the information is irrelevant to whether a criminal offence was committed.  The offences of misconduct in a public office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, breaches of the DPA and   breaches  of the Official Secrets Act  (there is a reciprocal offence for those knowingly  receiving material in circumstances covered by the Act regardless of whether they had signed the Act – the police do sign the Act)  were committed. Conspiracies to commit the other offences could conceivably also be brought. You will recall that Damien Green was investigated for conspiring  to commit misconduct in a public office in 2009 (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/leading-article-misconduct-in-public-office-1669922.html).  Of course, the odds are that the Mirror did pay for the information and that needs to be investigated as well.

As for Jeff Curtis and Operation Elveden, a failure to investigate an alleged serious crime when there is clear evidence of it constitutes a perversion of the course of justice.

You have thrown away a most tremendous story. I will not speculate here as to why, but I think we both know why.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Operation Elveden, Piers Morgan et al: the DPP advised of Elveden’s refusal to investigate

Keir Starmer (DPP)
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge
London
SE1 9HS
Tel: 020 3357 0000
CC
Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)
Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)
Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
John Whittingdale MP
Sir Gerald Howarth MP
25 July 2013
Dear Mr Starmer
I have been copying you in to a complaint I submitted to Operation Elveden in January this year. I have done this because my previous experience with the Met persuaded me that they cannot be trusted to behave honestly when complaints involve those with power, wealth and influence.   I enclose below my complete correspondence with Operation Elveden for your convenience.
There is a considerable scandal in the way Operation Elveden has responded to my complaints. Put simply they have been rejected without any investigation despite the evidence I provided being exceptionally strong.
The complaint  included a cast-iron case against Piers Morgan when editor of the Daily Mirror of receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.   The evidence I provided was just about as conclusive as you could wish: a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC . In it he writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…”  I attach a copy of the letter in facsimile.
There is also conclusive evidence against the Mirror’s erstwhile Chief Crime Reporter of having  received information from the police illicitly  and prima facie grounds for believing Morgan and Edwards committed perjury under oath at the Leveson Inquiry when they were questioned about receiving information from the police illegally.  Finally, there is  the complaint against ex-Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  for perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office  by failing to investigate the Mirror when the complaint about Morgan and Edwards’ illegal receipt of information was first submitted to the Metropolitan police.  This again is open and shut because Curtis failed to question Morgan and Edwards or examine the Mirror  accounts for evidence of payments  to the police officer who supplied the information referred to in Morgan’s letter to the PCC. He did this despite promising me that he would be interviewing Morgan and Edwards – provided Operation Elveden of a tape recording of Curtis making this promise.
The full details of  my complaint to Elveden can be found in the next  document down which is addressed to  the Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh on 21/1/2013.   Operation Elveden’s refusal to act (written by  Detective Inspector Daniel Smith)  and my response to that are the two last pieces of  the Operation Elveden correspondence below.
I am writing directly to you because this is a who shall guards the guards situation.  There is no point in my going to the Met to complain because they are the organisation about which I am complaining.
 Nor is there any point in my making a complaint to them about criminal behaviour arising from the failure of Operation Elveden  to investigate the clearest evidence of serious criminality. Consequently, I ask you to intervene to ensure that my original complaints and the criminal aspect of Operation Elveden’s refusal to investigate are properly investigated.
This has already been dragging on far too long so prompt action please.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
To
Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
(Tel: 0207 230 1212)
                                                                                                                                       21 January 2013
CC Gerald Howarth MP
      Keir Starmer (DPP)
      mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk
Dear Mr Kavanagh,
I submit conclusive evidence that (1) the editor of a national newspaper  received information from the  police illicitly and (2) when questioned under oath at the Leveson Inquiry committed perjury by denying that he had ever received information illicitly from the police.
Piers Morgan
The editor in question is Piers Morgan when he edited the Daily Mirror.  The evidence of his receipt of information is beautifully simple: he admitted this in a letter to the PCC dated  16 October 1997 in which  he wrote “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.  If the information had been given legitimately there would be no reason for protecting the source.   Nor, because no charges were laid or investigation made, could there have been a legitimate reason  for releasing  the  information. A copy  of the letter is enclosed.
The  letter was sent to me after I complained to the PCC about a dramatically libellous article Morgan published about me on 25 March 1997  (copy enclosed).  The illicit information related to complaints made about me by Tony and Cherie Blair to Belgravia Police  in March 1997. I had written to them seeking their help and,  when they refused, I circulated copies of my letters and  the replies I received to the mainstream media at the beginning of the 1997 election campaign. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters, only after I circulated them to the media.  The  complaints  had so little substance  that they were dismissed by the CPS with the ruling “NO CRIME” within a few hours of them  being submitted to them for guidance by Belgravia Police.
The odds must be heavily on the  Mirror having paid for the information because it is difficult to see what other motive  a police officer would have for  releasing such information.  However, by accepting information illicitly from the police, whether or not money was paid, offences relating to Misconduct in a Public Office and  the Official  Secrets Act were committed, both by the police officer and Mirror employees including Morgan.  If money was paid by the Mirror to the police officer,  further offences arise under  the laws relating to corruption.
The evidence of Morgan’s  perjury before the Leveson Inquiry is contained in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated 22 December 2011 which I enclose.
I ask you to investigate both Morgan’s receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.
Jeff Edwards
In addition to Morgan’s perjury, the Mirror reporter who wrote the story about me, their then  Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards, also committed perjury before the Leveson Inquiry by denying ever receiving information illicitly from the police.   The details are included in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated  25 March 2012 which  I enclose .
As Edwards was the reporter who wrote the story to which Morgan referred in his letter to the PCC, he must have been the person to whom the police officer referred to in Morgan’s letter gave the illicit information.
I ask you to investigate Edwards for his receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.
The original police failure to meaningfully  investigate my complaint
In 1997 I made a complaint about the illicit supply of information about me by the police to the Mirror. The case was handled by Detective Superintendent Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard .  No meaningful investigation was undertaken because, as Det Supt Curtis eventually admitted to me during a phone call, the  “investigation” was ended without anyone at the Mirror being  interviewed; not Morgan, Edwards or anyone else.   I enclose my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further. This again is self-evidently absurd because of the  failure to question Morgan and Edwards.
I ask you to investigate Ian Curtis for perverting the course of justice by failing to investigate conclusive and incontrovertible evidence of  a serious crime.
 Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
————————————————————————————————————————————
To
DC Paulette Rooke
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
                                                                                                                                       29 January 2013
CC Gerald Howarth MP
      Keir Starmer (DPP)
Dear DC Rooke,
As we have not been able speak as yet I will try to expedite matters by ensuring that you have the basic details and by describing what I would like to happen.
The crimes committed
The evidence I have supplied leaves  Piers Morgan and Jeff Edwards  with no wriggle room. There is the letter from  Morgan to the PCC admitting that he received information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal;  Edwards as the writer of the Mirror article must have been the recipient of the information and both Morgan and Edwards objectively committed perjury by denying receiving information from the police illegally whilst under oath before the Leveson Inquiry. Det Supt Curtis is condemned by his wilful refusal to interview Morgan, Edwards or anyone else at the Mirror after my initial complaint.  (I have him on tape promising to interview Morgan et al during my initial meeting with him).
The political dimension
The complaints I have submitted to Elveden are part of a larger scandal which has deep political ramifications. The general scope of these can be seen from  the Early Day Motion put down on my behalf by Sir Richard Body on 10 November 1999:
CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99
 Sir Richard Body
That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.
This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see  http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702
I bring this to your attention because it was the political dimension which prevented me from  getting any redress for complaints I made to the police  following the publication of the Mirror story. My experience from 1997 to 2007 when Blair retired was of being in  a Kafkaesque world in which,  despite being subjected to harassment which ranged from death threats and an internet campaign which incited violence against me by posting my address on social media sites  to regular interference with my post, I was unable to get the police to investigate meaningfully any of the complaints which arose from the Mirror’s involvement and the  harassment which followed.  You have a classic example in the failure of Jeff Curtis to investigate the Mirror despite having Morgan’s letter admitting to receiving police information.
That my complaints caused  considerable concern to the police because of their political nature can be seen from the number of senior officers who got involved in complaints of crimes,  most of which  would normally be investigated by a Det Sergeant or a Detective Inspector at most.   At various times I dealt with the following:
Det Chief Supt Tony Dawson – The Met’s Internal Investigations Command
Dept Supt Jeff Curtis
Chief Supt John Yates
Chief Supt Eric Brown
Supt Cliff Hughes
Supt Alex Fish
Chief Inspector Julia Wortley
Chief Inspector Ian West
Det Chief Inspector Stephen Kershaw
Despite their involvement no one was ever  charged, unsurprising as no complaint was meaningfully investigated.  I also met with the same obstruction from the CPS.
Documents passed to Holborn police
The documents I  passed to PC G James 423EK and PC L Scully 471EK  from Holborn police station were:
1.Piers Morgan’s Letter to the PCC date 16 October 1997  in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.
2. A copy of the Daily Mirror  story about me dated 25 March 1997 which produced the complaint to the PCC  which caused  Morgan to write the letter in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.
3. Copies of the then director of Presswise Mike Jempson’s correspondence on my behalf with the PCC relating to the Mirror story dated 23 December 1997, 9 January 1998, 20 January 1998, 18 February 1998, 2 March 1998.
 4. My evidence to the Leveson Inquiry of  Morgan ’s perjury dated 23 December 2011
5. My evidence to  the Leveson Inquiry of Edwards’ perjury dated 25 March 2012
6. My original submission to the Leveson Inquiry dated 25 November  2011
7. Sir Richard Body’s Early Day Motion 10th November 1999 which dealt with the general context of the events surrounding the Mirror story  with the role of the Blairs at its heart.
8. A copy of my Wisden Cricket Article Is it in the Blood? (from the July 1995 edition). It was my gross mistreatment by the mainstream British media after the publication of the article that led me ultimately to write to the Blairs asking for their assistance after all other available avenues of redress had failed me .
9. A copy of my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further
10. A letter addressed to the new head of Operation Elveden Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh dated 21 January 2013.  A copy of this is below.
I attach copies of 1,4,5,6 and my final letter to Jeff Curtis (see 9)  in digital form.
What I would like to happen
The first step would be for the two of us to have a long talk about this. Because of the political ramifications I would also  like to meet DAC Steve Kavanagh .
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
——————————————————————————————
Flag this messageOPERATION ELVEDENMonday, 25 February, 2013 11:10
From: “Paulette.Rooke@met.police.uk” <Paulette.Rooke@met.police.uk>View contact detailsTo: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk
Mr Henderson
I write out of courtesy just to let you know that I am still looking into your recent correspondence with this office.
 I hope that you will receive a reply in the next couple of weeks.
 Yours sincerely
Paulette Rooke
DC PAULETTE ROOKE
JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD
Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526
Mobile 07771 553043 (office hours)
————————————————————————————————————————————–
To
DC Paulette Rooke
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
CC
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
Gerald Howarth MP
Keir Starmer (DPP)
mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk
26 February 2013
Dear DC Rooke,
Thank you for your email of 25 February. It is now a month since I passed  my complaints  to Operation Eleveden.  I really do think an early meeting between you,  me and a senior officer from Operation Elveden (preferably Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh)  would be fruitful.
I have provided Operation Eleveden with conclusive evidence of  Piers Morgan and  Jeff Edwards’  receipt of information illegally from the police and of their perjury before Leveson.     Consequently, most of the investigatory work needed to bring charges has been completed.  Apart from the admin involved in  getting the cases to court, all that remains to be done is to interview Morgan and Edwards and to inspect the Mirror’s  records and  Morgan and Edwards’ private papers to see if information relating to payments for the information exist.  I really cannot see what obstacle there is to proceeding with an investigation.
 Morgan will not be able to deny the offence because to do so would put him in the absurd position of saying he had not written the letter, that he had no knowledge of it being sent and that the whole thing was done by someone else.  That would be ridiculous if it was just a letter sent without any outside stimulation, but this letter is sent in response to a letter from the PCC.  Morgan would have to argue that a correspondence initiated by  the PCC had proceeded without his knowledge even though the Mirror side was made in his name.
Even without the letter it would be clear that the police had illegally  passed information to the Mirror.  Information in the story could only have come from the police. In addition  Jeff Edwards’ story contains this:   ‘A Scotland Yard  source  said: “By sending letters in a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed an assault. ’ Special Branch, who organise protection for MPs have been informed of the situation”.   Just for the record my letters were deemed entirely legal by the CPS within hours of their receipt.  It was a try-on by the Blairs.
I have spoken to Edwards once. That  was on the morning of the publication of the Mirror story. When he discovered who he was speaking to he panicked immediately.  I think there is a good chance that when confronted with the evidence of Morgan’s letter  he will simply come clean.  I have never spoken to Morgan,  but I would draw your attention to the fact that he has behaved recklessly and dishonestly in the past, most notably in his fabrication of a photos of soldiers  when Mirror editor , something which caused his sacking. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/may/14/pressandpublishing.iraqandthemedia). Reckless people tend to be careless and impulsive. Always a plus when an investigation is under way.
My complaint against Det Supt Jeff Curtis is also straightforward. The fact that he did  not interview anyone at the Mirror despite having Morgan’s letter to the PCC can be verified by checking the Met’s case notes.
If the Mirror received  information from the police illegally in my case, it is not unreasonable to suspect that this was a widespread  practice within the Mirror group. Investigate my complaints and you will almost certainly find evidence of other instances.  There is also the advantage for the Met in investigating the Mirror because it shows they are not merely concentrating on the Murdoch papers.
I would greatly welcome a meeting in the near future.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
———————————————————————————————————————————-
OP ELVEDENFriday, 22 March, 2013 10:51
From: “Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk” <Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk>Add sender to ContactsTo: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk
Mr Henderson
I have been asked by my Inspector to ascertain if you have any new evidence with regard to your allegations against those mentioned in your correspondence.
Yours sincerely
Paulette Rooke
ADS PAULETTE ROOKE
JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD
Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526
Mobile 07771 553043 (office hours)
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————————————————————————————————————————-
To
DC Paulette Rooke
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
CC
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
Gerald Howarth MP
Keir Starmer (DPP)
mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk
24 March  2013
Dear DC Rooke,
You ask in your email of 22 March whether I have any new information relating to the accusations I have made.  The short answer is no. However, having listened  again to the tape recording I made of my interview with Det Supt Jeff Curtis I shall be sending you a copy of that for the reasons given below in paragraph 4.
Happily  you do not need any further information to begin investigations into Piers  Morgan, Jeff Edwards and Det Supt Jeff Curtis. In fact, I think any disinterested third party would be rather surprised that the investigations  have not  already begun, bearing in mind that you have a letter sent to Morgan to the PCC in which he admitted that the Mirror had received information from a police officer in circumstances which can only have been illegal.
The reason the crimes  (apart from the accusations of perjury before Leveson) were not meaningfully investigated when I made my original complaints is beautifully  simple: corrupt practice by the police prompted either by the Blairs’ involvement in the story and/or a known or suspected corrupt relationship between Metropolitan Police officers and the Mirror (and other press and broadcasters).
The corrupt nature of the way my complaints were handled is exemplified  by Jeff Curtis’ failure to interview anyone at the Mirror even though he had the letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC.   Curtis told me this in a phone call and you can verify that this is the truth by looking at the original case notes. The tape recording of my meeting with Jeff Curtis is important because in it he says he will  be going to the Mirror, says the case revolves around Morgan’s admission and says it is a straightforward case.  The recording was made with Curtis’  knowledge and agreement.  The fact that he knew he was being recorded is significant because it removed the possibility from his mind of saying something to me thinking he could deny it later. Clearly something  irregular  happened between him leaving me and starting the investigation. It is reasonable to suspect he was leant on by someone even more senior not to investigate the Mirror.  That the police never interviewed anyone at the Mirror also means that the Mirror accounts and the journalistic records kept by Edwards  and Morgan (and perhaps others) were never scrutinised for evidence of payments to the police.  All in all, this is   a very obvious perversion of the course of justice.
The events to which the these crimes relate are 15 years old,   but that is irrelevant to whether they should be investigated now, both because of the serious nature  of the crimes and the fact that those I allege against Morgan and Edwards  were not investigated meaningfully when they were first reported. Nor is there any problem with a lack of compelling  evidence  because of the time which has elapsed. In the case of Morgan and Edwards you have  Morgan’s letter to the PCC and the Mirror story, while  Curtis’ perversion of the course of justice speaks for itself. Moreover, although it is 15 years since the events, the age of fully computerised accounts had arrived  before 1997 and   it is probable that a copy of the Mirror accounts  for the period is still held in digital form. The same could  apply to journalistic records held by Morgan and Edwards or other Mirror employees or freelances.  I know from my use of the  Data Protection Act soon after the Mirror published the story that the paper was holding information about me  which they refused to release under the journalistic purposes provision of the DPA. They may well be still holding it.
As for the perjury accusations against Morgan and Edwards, these are very recent complaints about crimes recently committed which have never been previously investigated.   You have the information you need to investigate the perjury because I have supplied you with the Morgan letter to the PCC, the Mirror story about me and the transcripts of the relevant passages in the evidence given by Morgan and Edwards before Leveson.
Apart from the killer fact of Curtis’ failure  to interview anyone at the Mirror and a consequent failure to investigate the Mirror’s records, the circumstances of that failed investigation and of other complaints I made at the same time provide very  strong circumstantial evidence that my original complaints against Morgan and Edwards were not  treated  normally.  For example, why was a Det Supt from Scotland Yard  investigating crimes  which would normally be investigated by a Det Sergeant or just possibly a Det Inspector?  To that you can add the array of senior police officers  (the details of which I  sent to you in my email of 29th January) who became involved in my various complaints at one time or another,  despite the crimes being of a nature which would normally have been investigated by  policemen of lesser rank.   The only reasonable explanation for their involvement is the political circumstances surrounding my complaints.
There are two scenarios which fit the receipt of information by the Mirror from the police.  The first is straightforward: a police officer, possibly of senior rank because of the Blairs’ involvement, has sold the information to the Mirror for mere personal gain.
The second scenario is more complex. It involves  a senior police officer engaging in a conspiracy with Tony and Cherry Blair  assisted by Alastair Campbell to feed misinformation to the Mirror.   This is more than a little plausible because the Mirror story was a farrago of grotesque  lies such as the claim that I had bombarded the Blairs with letters  or that the letters were “full of graphic racist filth”. There was also  a completely fabricated  quote “if he gets elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”.  Ask yourself why the Mirror would have printed such things if they had read my letters after   they were given them by a police officer simply out to make money with no political axe to grind. It would not make sense. If, on the other hand, this was all part of a conspiracy between the Blairs, a senior police officer and Alastair Campbell  it would make perfect sense,  because then it transmutes from a political story  into an exercise in political propaganda to nullify me by smearing.  The story would then be whatever they wanted it to be with the content of the letters an irrelevance.
It is noteworthy that Morgan in his  letter to the PCC admits that the Mirror did not have copies of my letters and that he had not seen them.  That could mean one of four things: the Mirror did not have copies, the Mirror had copies but did not wish to admit it because they knew the letters would not substantiate their printed story about me, Edwards had seen the letters but  realised they were innocuous and not the basis for a smear story  or  no one at the Mirror had ever seen my  letters but had written their story simply from false information given to them by the police informant. The last possibility fits in most neatly with the conspiracy theory.  #
Why would the Blairs wish to engage in such a conspiracy?  The most plausible answer lies in the fact that they did not go to the police when I wrote to them, but only later after I had sent copies of my letters to the Blairs and the non-replies I was receiving from their offices to every mainstream media outlet at the beginning of the 1997 General Election campaign.  That can only mean the Blairs  wanted to  silence me during the election campaign.   Why? Only they can tell you that for sure. What is certain is that the Blairs  must have been very seriously worried about the media taking up the story told in my letters and their non-replies to get involved with a criminal investigation during the most important weeks of Blair’s life, namely, the General Election campaign.  Having miserably failed in the attempt to have me prosecuted it would have made perfect sense from their point of view to try to neutralise me by getting a friendly media outlet to print a false and hideously libellous story about me to dissuade anyone in the media from taking up the story told in my letters to the Blairs and their non-replies to me.
Here is something for you and your superiors to think upon. If the Met refuses to  properly  investigate my complaints (including questioning Morgan and Edwards) it will look  like yet another cover-up to go along with the persistent failure  by the Met to investigate phone-hacking until political pressure forced them  to  re-investigate cases which had previously been deemed to provide insufficient evidence for a prosecution or even a sustained investigation. The re-investigation of these supposedly hopeless cases has  resulted in dozens of arrests and quite a few charges, a fact which tells its own tale.
I repeat my previous requests for an interview with you and a senior officer within  Operation Elveden, preferably Steve Kavanagh . Apart from anything else you should be taking a formal statement from me based on the very strong evidence I have provided.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
————————————————————————————————-
To
DC Paulette Rooke
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
26 3 2013
Dear DC Rooke,
I have posted a copy of the tape recording of my interview on 8 April 1999 with Det Supt Jeff Curtis to you by recorded delivery. I have sent the tape to JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD which is where you appear to be physically stationed.
Only one side of the tape has been used. You will need to listen to the entire tape,  but Jeff Cutris’ comments about going to the Mirror, it being a straightforward case and so on are towards the end of the meeting with  around 5/6ths of the tape played.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
—————————————————————————————
                                      Tel: 0207 387 5018   Email: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk
To DC Paulette Rooke
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
2 April 2013
Dear DC Rooke,
Please confirm that you have received the tape recording of my meeting with D-Supt Jeff Curtis which I sent to you on 26 March by first class recorded delivery.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
——————————————————————————————————————-
To DC Paulette Rooke
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
CC
Commander Neil Basu
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
Gerald Howarth MP
Keir Starmer (DPP)
mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk
17 May  2013
Dear DC Rooke
It is now more than four months since I submitted to Operation Eleveden cast iron  evidence of Piers Morgan’s  illicit receipt of information from the police, Jeff Edwards’ illicit receipt of information from the Met Police, the perjury of Morgan and Edwards before the Leveson Inquiry and Det Supt Jeff Curtis’ failure to meaningfully investigate Edwards and Morgan’s involvement in receiving information illicitly from the police.
To recap, the evidence I have provided includes a letter from Piers Morgan when editor of the Mirror to the PCC in which he admits receiving the illicit information, a Mirror story which  contains information which could only have been obtained illicitly from the police and a tape recording between Jeff Edwards and me in which D-Supt Curtis states that he will be interviewing Morgan and Edwards  and says the matter is straightforward because of the evidence I had provided. Curtis then failed to interview anybody at the Mirror or have any check made of their records for evidence of payments  for information.
With such rock-hard evidence in your possession, I think most people would be utterly astonished that no investigation appears to have commenced after 4 months. Yet that is, to the best of my knowledge, exactly what has happened.   I have had no substantive contact with Operation Eleveden since I submitted the complaint and my requests to give a formal statement and meet to  discuss the matter further  with a senior officer have been ignored.  When you reply please tell me exactly  what has been done so far to investigate this matter .
I repeat my requests to give a formal statement and meet with a senior officer from Operation Eleveden to discuss the progress of my complaint.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson
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Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk <Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk>;
20 May 2013
Dear Mr Henderson
I have forwarded your email to my line manager.
Kind regards
Paulette Rooke
ADS PAULETTE ROOKE
JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD
Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526
Mobile 07771 553043 (office hours)
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Your ref:
Our ref : Elveden
13 June 2013
Mr Robert Henderson
156 Levita House
Chalton St
London
NW11HR
Dear Mr Henderson,
I write in relation to the allegations you made following your contact with DC Rooke in January of this year. I have reviewed the matters raised by you in this, and subsequent communications, with DC Rooke.
I understand that the matters raised by you relate to an article published in 1997 and that the matter was investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service (Complaints Investigation Bureau). The matter was referred to the Police Complaints Authority in 1999.
I understand that there is no new evidence or information available and as a result I have decided that no investigation will be conducted into the points raised by you.
In relation to the Perjury allegation, having read the transcripts provided, I do not believe there is evidence that shows an offence has been committed. As a consequence this allegation will not be investigated.
Yours sincerely,
Detective Inspector Daniel Smith
—————————————————————————————————–
Detective Inspector Daniel Smith
Operation Eleveden
Metropolitan Police
New Scotland Yard
8/10 The Broadway
London  SW1H OBG
CC
Commander Neil Basu
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
John Whittingdale MP
George Eustice MP
Gerald Howarth MP
Keir Starmer (DPP)
4 July 2013
Dear Mr Smith,
I have your letter dated   13th June which arrived on 21st  June in an envelope post marked 17 June.  I have mulled the matter over for a week or so before replying because your  decision regarding my complaints is  best described as inexplicable if taken at face value. Indeed, I think any disinterested third party would  react with the same feeling when faced with the truly indestructible evidence I have supplied to Operation Elveden and your blanket refusal to investigate.
To briefly recap the evidence, I have provided Operation Elveden with a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when editor of the Daily Mirror. In it he  admits to receiving information from a Metropolitan police officer in circumstances which can only have been illegal. You also have  a tape recording of a senior police officer D-Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  promising to question Morgan and co and saying the evidence was straight forward plus transcripts of the evidence Morgan and Jeff Edwards gave under oath before Leveson in which they denied receiving information  from the police illicitly.  To that can be added the fact that,  despite his promise to me, Curtis failed to interview Morgan, Edwards or any other Mirror employee or examine the records of  the Mirror to look for evidence of payments to the police for information. Finally, there is the Daily Mirror story written as a result of the illicit information from the Met . That alone demonstrates that the police illicitly supplied information to the Mirror to their then chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards.
The fact that I was unable to get anyone in authority, not the police, nor the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to act at the time of the original complaints  is not evidence that no crime had been committed. Rather, it is  further evidence of corrupt behaviour within the police and the police complaints system.  The criminal (take your choice between perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office) refusal to act in this matter was generated by the implication of  Tony and Cherie Blair in the  case.  To give you a short guide to that involvement let me quote the Early Day Motion about the matter put down by Sir Richard Body MP on  10 November 1999:
CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99
 Sir Richard Body
 That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.
This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see  http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702
The Blairs made a profound misjudgement when they tried to get me prosecuted. As lawyers they must have known that their complaints were bogus and were relying on their political celebrity to persuade the CPS to charge me regardless of the evidence.  So feeble were their allegations  that the CPS sent them back within hours of receiving them  the papers submitted to them with an emphatic NO CRIME.
That immediately created a problem from the Blairs, but had they left it there that might have been the end of it,  because at no time did the police contact me about the Blairs’ complaints and I might never have known of their attempt to have me prosecuted. But the Blairs  could not leave well alone and made the further mistake of planting a false and toxically libellous story about me and their failed attempt in the  Daily Mirror. This alerted me not only to their attempt,  but the fact that Special Branch had been  set to spy on me (Special Branch are mentioned  in the Mirror story).   I then spent the entire Blair premiership suffering harassment which I can only presume came from either Special Branch, MI5 (I used the Data Protection Act to prove they held a file on me)  or some other agency employed by one or both of the Blairs.  The harassment included such things as death threats,  incitements to attack me on social media platforms and  regular interference with my post.
In addition to my complaints to the police against the Mirror, I also made a series of allegations  against the Blairs after I discovered they had been to the police. These  were also not  investigated in any meaningful way.
That was why everybody  but everybody in the Met Police  and the justice system refused to behave honestly when I first made the complaints about Morgan and  Edwards. If action had been taken against them then the Blairs would have been brought into the story, something they obviously could not afford to have happen.  The refusal  of the police and the  PCA to  deal honestly with my complaints is simply explained, namely, the political implications overrode their honesty  Until Operation Elveden began there was no  opportunity for me to again bring any part of the scandal to the police.  An amazing story but a true one.
The conduct of my complaints to Elveden has  been distinctly odd. I have made repeated requests to give a formal statement and meet with a senior member of Operation Elveden. Despite those requests I have not been given the opportunity to make a formal statement, nor,  despite my best efforts, met  any  member of Operation Elveden, junior or senior.  That suggests  a decision was made at an early stage to deliberately  exclude me from any participation in Elveden’s consideration of my complaints.  Writing a letter to me saying you will not investigate  for spurious reasons is one thing: telling me to my face that the Morgan letter to the PCC is not grounds for investigation quite another matter.
The paucity of detail in your letter also suggests that no meaningful consideration has been given to the evidence I provided. Indeed, your beginning of two paragraphs with “I understand that” suggests that you have not looked at the evidence. The other telling thing is that you do not give me any detailed reason for refusing the complaints against Morgan, Edwards and Curtis. All you say is that you understand that the complaints were previously investigated. Have you examined my evidence  in detail, including listening to the tape recording of Jeff Curtis and me?
Are you a gambling man, Mr Smith? Well, you are certainly taking a gamble here by refusing to investigate. Your gamble is this: you are betting that the fact that the Met are refusing to investigate the clearest evidence of serious crimes will remain outside the mainstream public domain.  That is a very big wager indeed.  All I need is for one politician or mainstream media outlet to  take up the story…
I suggest you sit down and try to imagine how you would explain to the mainstream media or a mainstream politician  Elveden’s  failure to act when you have in your possession a letter  from Piers Morgan when Mirror editor admitting he had received information illicitly from the Metropolitan Police.   When you have done that,  I hope you will reconsider your refusal to investigate and arrange to meet me to take a formal statement and tell me of the progress of the investigation you have started.
Yours sincerely,
Robert Henderson

Cleansing the (Parliamentary) Augean stables

Robert Henderson

The seemingly  never-ending saga of British politicians behaving immorally (and sometimes criminally) in their financial dealings whilst serving in the Commons or Lords  has taken a new turn with Tory MP Patrick Mercer’s resignation after being exposed by a joint sting by the BBC and the Daily Telegraph ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10092607/Exposed-deal-that-sank-cash-for-questions-MP-Mercer.html).

Mercer  believed he was being signed up by lobbyists to promote the interests of Fiji with a view to getting that country  readmitted  to the Commonwealth from which it had been suspended after  several military coups dismantled any pretence at democracy and the military (staffed by native Fijians) had acted against the Indian minority population of Fiji.

The agreement between Mercer and the bogus lobbyists included payments to Mercer (he received two payments of £2,000 which he did not enter on the Register of Members’ interests),  Mercer creating an All Party Parliament Group (APPG) for Fiji , Mercer arranging for a Commons pass for the lobbyists and Mercer making embarrassing remarks about how easy it would be  to recruit  members because many would see it as a chance to get a free trip to Fiji.  Mercer certainly had no difficulty  in recruiting both MPs and members of the Lords to the APPG, recruiting amongst others the all-purpose Labour MP Keith Vaz and the Labour peer Lord Mackenzie, a retired senior policeman, who works for a company Awards Intelligence which  claims to be able to “help dynamic organisations and individuals to find, enter and win business awards and personal honours such as an OBE, MBE, knighthood or apply to the House of Lords” (http://www.awardsintelligence.co.uk/about-ai.asp).  You couldn’t make it up.

MacKenzie , his fellow Labour peer Lord Cunningham (Jack Cunningham  of Blair’s Cabinet)  and the  Ulster Unionist Lord Laird have all been caught on video by one of the BBC, Daily Telegraph or Sunday Times journalist seemingly offering influence for money – Cunningham asked  of  £144,000 a year ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334558/Lord-Laird-resigns-whip-Labour-peers-suspended-claims-broke-parliamentary-rules.html).  Mercer has resigned the Tory whip and will not stand at the next election. However, that means he will draw £130,000 plus expenses from the taxpayer.  Mackenzie and  Cunningham have been suspended by Labour  while Laird has resigned his party’s whip.  All three can still sit in the Lords and draw their £300 a day tax free expenses allowance.  It is conceivable that Mercer and the three peers could face criminal investigations but none has begun.

No surprise

None of this shameful behaviour should come as a surprise. In 2010 David Cameron said lobbying would be the next  scandal to hit Parliament. Moreover, the behaviour of many MPs and peers over their expenses had already primed the public to distrust the honesty of modern British politicians.  The question now is what can be done to mend matters?  I suggest this:

1. A ban on any form of material inducement to  an MP, whether r direct or indirect, during or after they have been active in politics.  This would end what  amounts to legalised bribery, namely, the granting of sinecures on company boards or other corporate bodies or the employment of MPs as consultants  as a reward for illicit favours done for the corporation involved whilst in political office, whether that be as a back or front bencher.

2. All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs ) can be set up by any MP able to get 19 members to sign up. They  often provide cover for what are really jollies at a third party’s expense, especially the ones which offer overseas trips.  The groups  fall into two categories : those dealing with a country (hence the many trips abroad) and those dealing with specific subjects – examples are Beer, Pub and Philately ( http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/register.pdf). They have no official standing.

The supposedly “fact-finding”  trips take MPs  away from their parliamentary and/or  constituency  duties, In addition,  they must create a feeling of obligation in  MPs to show they have done something useful on a trip by producing suggestions based on what is done in another society, suggestions which are often wholly inappropriate for Britain or address a problem which does not exist.  MPs should have a holiday allowance of, say eight weeks,  and  any “fact finding trips”  should be undertaken during those eight weeks at the MP’s expense.  The government could continue to send  MPs or peers  on official overseas visits at the taxpayers’ expense.

3.  The granting of passes to Parliament for anyone other than those employed directly by an MP or peer should be forbidden.  Apart from the question of corruption, it renders absurd the security arrangements of Parliament.

4. There should be a bar on MPs  having second jobs even if they are being employed  in work such practising at the Bar or as a GP which does not obviously require them to promote the paymaster/employer’s interest  . There are two reasons for this: (1) the practice  inevitably leads to situations where MPs are compromised because of the competing  demands of their party policy, their own self-interest  or the wishes of an employer/paymaster  and (2) it reduces the amount of time and effort MPs can put into their Parliamentary and constituency work.

The argument that the jobs MPs take keep them in touch with the real world is a nonsense because most are  drawn from a very small range of work such as the law or take jobs as non-executive directors or consultants. The idea that this qualifies them to bring the  everyday experience of the ordinary citizen to their political work or provides a wide range of practical experience and expertise  is risible.   In any case the restriction on who could stand detailed above would ensure that everyone elected would have a decent experience of the world of normal work.

Breaches of these rules  should be made crimes carrying automatic prison sentences  for MPs, peers or any third party offering them material inducements. .

A change in mentality

Most fundamentally, there needs to be a sea-change in how would-be politicians view politics.  At present  an MPs can behave as that dreadful toady of aristocrats Edmund Burke advised MPs  to behave in the 18th century in a speech to the elector of Bristol (http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch13s7.html).  For Burke  an  MP was not bound by what his constituents thought but owed them “his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience” something which  he told the electors of Bristol “ he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

That self-serving view gives carte blanche to an MP to more or less behave as he chooses provided he does not commit a criminal act. It is profoundly undemocratic and was doubtless designed by Burke to curry favour with the rich and powerful.

Political office  should not be seen as a career choice, something which it has become  for far too many politicians, but a public service.  To this end no one should be allowed to stand for the House of Commons before the age of thirty-five and only then if the individual concerned has worked for at least ten years in a job absolutely unconnected to politics. This would remove from the Commons MPs who have gone straight from university to work for a political party and who arrive in the Commons with no experience of the real world of work.

Should be paid more?  It is essential that people do not view life as an MP as a means to enrich themselves or otherwise that will be all too often be the primary purpose driving MPs. The current pay of a backbench MP is £66,000. They also get generous pensions and  subsidised bars and restaurants plus various expenses which even if they are not meant to it is possible to make a fair profit on  even under the new expenses regime. That should be a sufficient reward with  the UK full time average wage being s less than £30,000. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority produced its first report on MPs pay and expenses in January 2013 (http://tinyurl.com/MPSISPA) and serious consideration is being given to ideas such as making MPs pay a multiple of the average UK wage. I would favour such an approach because it provide a direct link between wages and  the performance of MPs as a collective body  and automatically change as the average wage changed.

Legal obligations on MPs to do the work  for which they are paid are sorely needed. Parliament only sits for around half the year (House of Commons 129 days in 2012 http://tinyurl.com/HoCDayssat2012 ) and many MPs arrive late on Monday and leave early on Friday.   There is no legal obligation on MPs to attend the Commons or attend to duties in their constituencies and an MP who treats the position cynically can draw their pay whilst doing absolutely nothing until they either strand down or are defeated at the ballot box.  There  needs to be a formal  job description for MPs  detailing what work they are required to do in their constituencies and Parliament and a  means to take disciplinary action if the job remains inadequately done, for example, giving electors in a constituency the right to recall an MP.

More generally, there is a Code of Conduct  which if it was enforced would end most of the abuses. Here  is the most relevant part of it:

 III.  Duties of Members

4.  By virtue of the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance taken by all Members when they are elected to the House, Members have a duty to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors, according to law.

5.  Members have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination.

6.  Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.

7.  Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources.

IV.  General Principles of Conduct

8.  In carrying out their parliamentary and public duties, Members will be expected to observe the following general principles of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in its First Report as applying to holders of public office.[1] These principles will be taken into account when considering the investigation and determination of any allegations of breaches of the rules of conduct in Part V of the Code.

“Selflessness

Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.”

V.  Rules of Conduct

9.  Members are expected to observe the following rules and associated Resolutions of the House.

10.  Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.

11.  No Member shall act as a paid advocate in any proceeding of the House.[2]

12.  The acceptance by a Member of a bribe to influence his or her conduct as a Member, including any fee, compensation or reward in connection with the promotion of, or opposition to, any Bill, Motion, or other matter submitted, or intended to be submitted to the House, or to any Committee of the House, is contrary to the law of Parliament.[3]

13.  Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with Ministers, Members, public officials or public office holders.[4]

14.  Information which Members receive in confidence in the course of their parliamentary duties should be used only in connection with those duties. Such information must never be used for the purpose of financial gain.

15.  Members are personally responsible and accountable for ensuring that their use of any expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters. Members shall ensure that their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone else, or confer undue advantage on a political organisation.

16.  Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.

17.  The Commissioner may not investigate a specific matter under paragraph 16 which relates only to the conduct of a Member in their private and personal lives. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmcode/1885/188501.htm

Although complaints are investigated by a non-politician,  the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the Code is rarely enforced with any severity by either the  Committee on Standards and Privileges or the House itself and even where it is enforced severely there are no criminal penalties.  It is all too incestuous. Where appropriate, for example where members or peers have  received money or other material considerations from a third party,  criminal penalties should be attached to the Code and those cases  should be investigated by the police not politicians.  The power of recall by electors could also come into play. It is also  worth noting that the Commons  can expel its own members and the Lords suspend theirs  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10098194/How-Parliament-can-kick-out-crooked-MPs-and-peers-whenever-it-likes.html )

The balance of power in the Commons

The lack of opportunity to line their pockets should  attract a less self-serving kind of MP,  but there also needs to be a carrot as well as a stick. The carrot  should be a shift in the balance of  power between Parliament of the government. If backbenchers had far more chance to influence matters by introducing legislation and voting as their conscience dictates, there would be  more chance of people who were interested in implementing policy rather than getting rich or simply exercising their egos.

The government payroll vote begs to  be greatly  reduced. At present around 150 MPs on the government side are deemed to be part of the government. Even a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) counts as part of the payroll vote. This greatly undermines the importance and influence of backbenchers especially where a government has a large majority. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/10/creeping-patronage-house-commons-mps-whips).  A Cabinet of 20 with 20 junior ministers is probably sufficient.

Two other things to strengthen Parliament are required. First, party whipping should be stopped. This would not mean governments losing control because most of the time backbenchers will naturally vote the party line.    Second, Parliamentary time should  be substantially  increased by having Parliament sitting for, say, nine months of the year rather than the present six months.  Apart from allowing much more time to scrutinise government legislation, this would allow time for backbenchers to place statutes on the books through their own efforts.

What will change?

David Cameron has promised a register of lobbyists and Nick Clegg has been huffing and puffing about  throwing crooks out of the Lords, but unless the matter is taken out of the hands of politicians by making the more offences breaches of the Code of  Conduct criminal offences dealt with by the police, it is unlikely that anything radical will happen.  That is the tragedy of modern British politics: self-serving not public service  has become the order of the day.

Operation Elveden dragging their feet over Piers Morgan

To DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

CC

Commander Neil Basu

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

17 May  2013

Dear DC Rooke

It is now more than four months since I submitted to Operation Elveden cast iron  evidence of Piers Morgan’s  illicit receipt of information from the police, Jeff Edwards’ illicit receipt of information from the Met Police, the perjury of Morgan and Edwards before the Leveson Inquiry and Det Supt Jeff Curtis’ failure to meaningfully investigate Edwards and Morgan’s involvement in receiving information illicitly from the police.

To recap, the evidence I have provided includes a letter from Piers Morgan when editor of the Mirror to the PCC in which he admits receiving the illicit information, a Mirror story which  contains information which could only have been obtained illicitly from the police and a tape recording between Jeff Edwards and me in which D-Supt Curtis states that he will be interviewing Morgan and Edwards  and says the matter is straightforward because of the evidence I had provided. Curtis then failed to interview anybody at the Mirror or have any check made of their records for evidence of payments  for information.

With such rock-hard evidence in your possession, I think most people would be utterly astonished that no investigation appears to have commenced after 4 months. Yet that is, to the best of my knowledge, exactly what has happened.   I have had no substantive contact with Operation Elveden since I submitted the complaint and my requests to give a formal statement and meet to  discuss the matter further  with a senior officer have been ignored.  When you reply please tell me exactly  what has been done so far to investigate this matter .

I repeat my requests to give a formal statement and meet with a senior officer from Operation Elveden to discuss the progress of my complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See also

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden-part-ii/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden-part-iii/

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Below  is the reply I received. When rank and file staff start saying they have to refer something up the line after they have been dealing with an issue for some time you know there is something fishy going on. RH

Received 20 May 2013
Dear Mr Henderson
I have forwarded your email to my line manager.
Kind regards

Paulette Rooke

ADS PAULETTE ROOKE

JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD

Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526
Mobile 07771 553043 (office hours)

 

Richard North: useful idiot or Europhile wolf in Eurosceptic’s clothing?

Campaign for an Independent Britain meeting 4th May 2013

Dr Richard North: The way forward

His  contribution was very odd indeed for someone who is supposedly strongly Eurosceptic.  His “way forward” is for the UK   to remain entwined in coils of the EU for the foreseeable future.  Of course, North does not describe his suggestions as leading to this, but that is the practical consequences of what he advocates.

North’s strategy for the UK’s departure from the EU is this:

“….invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, leading to a negotiated exit based on UK membership of the EFTA/EEA as an interim settlement. To ensure short-term continuity, we would have all EU law repatriated, giving time for examination and selective repeal, and the enactment of replacement legislation as necessary – all over a period of some years.”

He wants the UK to sign up to the type of arrangements Norway and Switzerland have with the EU. This requires them to  adopt a large proportion of  EU regulations (not least because of the ever broadening bureaucratic demands of the EU obsession with competition and harmonisation ), pay large annual sums to the EU to subsidize the poorer members of the EU and,  worst of all, subscribe to the four EU “freedoms”, the free movement of   goods, services, capital and labour across not only the EU but also the larger European Economic Area (EEA).

That would be bad enough but his naivety  over what Article 50 entails is startling. Here is the article in full:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html).

It is strongly implied in in  para 3 of  the Article that unilateral withdrawal is possible :

The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2”.

However, the clause does not explicitly  give the right of unilateral secession and could be interpreted as merely referring to how any agreement might be scheduled to take effect. The other EU members could adopt this interpretation to thwart the UK leaving without declaring UDI.

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties cites two legitimate  instances where a party wants to withdraw unilaterally from a treaty which does not make any provision for withdrawal : (1) where all parties recognise an informal right to do so or  (2) the situation has changed so substantially  that the obligations of a signatory are radically different from that which was originally agreed to.   The informal right patently does not apply in the case of the EU. As for radical changes to the obligations of a signatory, that would be difficult to sustain. It is true that the organisation (the EU) the UK belongs to now is radically different from that which they originally joined in 1973 (the EEC), but the  UK has signed  new treaties to agree to the new circumstances as they have arisen.  Hence, there would be no radically changed obligations which had not been taken on formally by the UK.

The only precedent  of any sort for withdrawal is Greenland’s  secession  in 1985 from the European Economic Community (EEC).  The was facilitated by the Greenland Treaty. However, it is not  an obviously relevant precedent because Greenlanders retain Danish citizenship for  Greenland has home rule not full independence from Denmark. They are consequently full  EU citizens.  Because Greenland is also one of the  Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU it  is also subject to some EU law and regulations, mainly those relating to the Single Market. .

Even if it is accepted by the other EU members  that there is a unilateral right of secession,  the fact that it  could only  take place legally after two years would give the remainder  of the EU the opportunity to run the UK ragged before the UK left.

As for getting an agreement which would allow the UK to generally re-establish its sovereignty, especially over the control of its borders, this is most improbable.  A  Qualified Majority in the European Council  is required  and even if such a majority is obtained the European Parliament can block the secession. The potential for delay and blackmail by the EU of the UK is considerable. In any event it is likely is that the EU would  drive a bargain which is greatly to  the UK’s disadvantage because the  Eurofederalists would be terrified of creating a precedent for any other EU member which might wish to radically change their relationship with the EU.  That would make them demand conditions of the UK which were so unappealing it would deter other member states from following suit. There is also  the danger that  the Europhile UK political elite  would take the opportunity to agree to disadvantageous terms for the UK simply to keep the UK attached to the EU in the manner that Norway and Switzerland are attached. The stay-in camp could use Article 50 to argue that whether the British people want to be in or out, the cost of leaving would be too heavy because of this treaty requirement.

The Gordian knot of Article 50 can be cut  simply by passing an Act of Parliament repealing all the treaties that refer to the EU from the Treaty of Rome onwards. No major UK party could  object to this because all three have, at one time or another,  declared that Parliament remains supreme and can repudiate anything the EU does if it so chooses.

If the stay-in camp argue that would be illegal because of the  treaty obligation, the OUT camp should simply emphasise  (1) that international law is no law because there is never any means of enforcing it within its jurisdiction if  a state rejects it and (2) that treaties which do not allow for contracting parties to simply withdraw are profoundly undemocratic because they bind future governments.

The OUT camp should press the major political parties to commit themselves to ignoring Article 50. If a party refuses that can be used against them because it will make them look suspicious.

How much of the vote does UKIP command?

North also addressed the question of UKIP’s  share of the vote in the recent council elections. This he represented as  trivial because although they took 25% of the vote  the turnout was very low (around 30% overall).  He ignores one important fact about turnout: if the turnout is shrinking then the potency of those who vote rises. UKIP voters and those willing to vote to come out of the EU at a referendum may be much more inclined to vote than those who want the status quo or at least are not motivated to vote for the UK’s independence.

Based on objective facts North  is far too pessimistic about obtaining a vote to leave. There are two great  differences between now and the 1975 referendum. In 1975 the British public had only two years’ experience of the EEC which was a vastly less intrusive body than the EU is now. If a referendum is held in the next few years the electorate will have 40 odd years of ever greater interference by Brussels with British politics and in  the lives of Britons.  To this can be added the growing number of prominent voices, both political and from the media and business , which are calling for either an outright campaign to leave the EU or at least a reshaping of the EU in such a radical  fashion that it has no chance of success. Both factors  will lend vastly greater potency to the OUT camp campaign now than was the case in 1975.

North’s  tactics before a referendum

Much of this was driven by fear, fear that a the British electorate would not vote to come out.  The consequence is that North proposes a complex, expensive and above all time consuming schedule of preparatory work before any referendum is held.  There are also conflicts between his desired ends and proposed means.

North  addressed the subject under five separate heads. I comment separately on each.

Reassurance for business

North argues that because the EU is first and foremost a political construct, business has no right to have a say in whether the UK is in or out of the EU. I have sympathy with that view, but North  immediately capsized this position by stating:

“…business has a right to expect a predictable and stable regulatory and trading environment, the status of which is affected by our membership. Therefore, we need to be able to assure the business community that, should we leave the EU, there would be no adverse effects.

“In effect, that would mean “protecting” membership of the Single Market – which could be achieved through EEA membership. And, as long as that membership is assured, business has no locus in the broader debate.”

By taking this position on the Single Market North is effectively granting business a very large say in how we are governed,  because continued membership of the Single Market will require at the least subscription to the four “freedoms”  and the acceptance of  EU laws relating to the Single Market. That will greatly impinge upon the UK’s sovereignty.

An alternative to the EU

North believes that we should not merely take back power from Brussels but also stop the power regained being grabbed by Westminster. He starts from the claim that  the UK has never been a democracy.   That is true in the sense that there has never been direct democracy – that is no more than a commonplace – but for a century before the UK was signed up to the EEC in 1973 there was a good deal of democratic control because the UK’s politics were national. British politicians then could not routinely hide behind supranational agreements such as those  governing the EU to avoid responsibility for unpopular policies or be forced to adopt policies which were in the interest of foreign powers and to the UK’s disadvantage  simply because of  Treaty arrangements.  If the UK leaves the EU utterly and  our relationship with the EU becomes the same as we have with any other foreign power British politics will again become national not supranational. That is the most certain way of re-democratising the UK.

What does North want?  He is much taken with the Harrogate Agenda  (HA) (http://harrogateagenda.com/).  This has six demands which are similar in tone to those of the 19th century Chartists and the 17th century Levellers before them.  Here are a couple of the demands to give a flavour of the HA:

2. local democracy: the foundation of our democracy shall be the counties (or other local units as may be defined), which shall become constitutional bodies exercising under the control of their peoples all powers of legislation, taxation and administration not specifically granted by the people to the national government;

4. all legislation subject to consent: no legislation or treaty shall take effect without the direct consent of the majority of the people, by positive vote if so demanded, and that no legislation or treaty shall continue to have effect when that consent is withdrawn by the majority of the people;

Whether or not these are practical (which I very much doubt if put forward in this extreme form) , there is irony in the fact that North espouses such ideas  because his proposals for a new relationship  between the UK and the EU would utterly undermine  the thrust of the HA demands  for a  UK  entangled in an EFTA or similar arrangement would still be subject to decisions being made by foreigners with,  doubtless,  the willing complicity of Westminster politicians.  The Europhile British political class is not going to vanish overnight so the only realistic way of making them behave reasonably is to force them to operate within  a national context.

 A network for dissemination

Here are North’s proposals:

“ Spreading the message is an essential part of any campaign, but reliance on the media is not going to be sufficient. Formal and informal networks will have to be built, some not dissimilar to direct marketing networks. Activities should include formal training and education, as well as more general propagandising.

Many revolutionary organisations have acquired their own newspapers, or news magazines, as a means of better spreading the message.”

Even if all this was possible, which is very doubtful  because it would need serious money as well as willing hands,  it would take far too long to establish as an effective propaganda tool.  A referendum if it comes will not be that far in the future.   What is needed is a simple readily understandable message such as “Are we to be masters in our own house” repeated as often as possible through the national and local media. With more and more politicians, mediafolk, businessmen and various celebrities making Anti-EU noises this is not a forlorn hope.

 Agitation

North proposes a campaign of civil disobedience, including the late payment for “Council Tax, water bills, BBC license fees and other such fees” and  visiting every “agency, every employment office, etc. and remove all information (leaflets, brochures) not in English”.  He goes on to say that there are “A very wide range of activities is in fact possible, many entirely risk-free and totally within the law”.

I doubt whether in these politically correct and increasingly authoritarian times that there would be  many which are “entirely risk-free and totally within the law”. Late payment of the BBC license could get you a criminal record; removing information leaflets not in English would probably get you investigated for  racial harassment because there would not be much point in removing them without running a campaign saying what you were doing and why;  failing to pay many official bills on time could result in late payment surcharges.  If civil disobedience is urged it is important that the possible consequences are spelt out to prospective candidates for such action.

Nonetheless that is not my main concern with civil disobedience committed in this random fashion. Civil disobedience is only effective if it is (1) focused, (2) publicity worthy (3) does not greatly inconvenience or disgust the general public and (4) does not make the protestors look ridiculous.   A good example of a serious single issue campaign blighted by clownish antics is that of Fathers for Justice. Leaving people to engage in acts of civil disobedience (particularly on a local scale) as they choose will not meet those criteria.  If it is to be used, civil disobedience must be a national act. The Poll Tax disobedience is the best example in modern British history of such action. A readily understandable single issue: we won’t pay the tax. It was perfect because it blocked up the magistrates courts and brought the everyday system of justice to its knees.

Sovereignty and opposition to  immigration are the two strongest cards the OUT camp has  to play. If it is used , civil disobedience should be designed to focus public interest on those two issues.

 A coalition of allies

North tried to make a distinction between umbrella groups (bad) and coalitions (good).  In practice the two are indistinguishable.  What determines the unity of purpose of  any coalescing groups is not what they are called but the nature of the groups and their leaders.

North’s response to being challenged

During questions from the audience I said that North’s proposals were an excellent recipe for remaining within the EU for the reasons I have already given. North became very animated and spoke at considerable length to refute what I was saying.  People only behave in such a manner during debate if they feel their position is under real threat.

The kindest interpretation of North’s position is that he is acting as a useful idiot for the Eurofederalist cause in the mistaken belief that things can be resolved to the UK’s advantage  by talking, by being “reasonable”; the unkindest interpretation is that he is a Eurofederalist wolf in Eurosceptic clothing attempting to undermine the campaign to remove the UK from the grip of the EU.

North  has condensed the   views  espoused in his speech into  written form on the CIB website – see  http://www.freebritain.org.uk/_blog/Free_Britain/post/an-eu-free-future-for-all-by-dr-richard-north/

And

http://www.freebritain.org.uk/_blog/Free_Britain/post/turnout-by-dr-richard-north/ ).

Robert Henderson

The EU IN/OUT referendum: strategy and tactics for those who want to leave the EU

Robert Henderson

The general strategy

A) How to leave

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html).

The OUT camp must make it clear that  it would be both damaging and unnecessary for the UK to abide by this Treaty requirement. It  would allow the EU to inflict considerable damage on the UK both during the period prior to formally  leaving and afterwards if  the price of leaving with the EU’s agreement was  for  UK to sign up to various obligations, for example, to continue paying a large annual sum to the EU for ten years . It would also give  the Europhile UK political elite  ample opportunity to keep the UK attached to the EU in the manner that Norway and Switzerland are attached. More of them later.

There is also the danger that the stay-in camp could use Article 50 to argue that whether the British people want to be in or out, the cost of leaving would be too heavy because of this treaty requirement.

The Gordian knot of Article 50 can be cut  simply by passing an Act of Parliament repealing all the treaties that refer to the EU from the Treaty of Rome onwards. No major UK party could  object to this because all three have, at one time or another,  declared that Parliament remains supreme and can repudiate anything the EU does if it so chooses.

If the stay-in camp argue that would be illegal because of the  treaty obligation, the OUT camp should simply emphasise  (1) that international law is no law because there is never any means of enforcing it within its jurisdiction is a state rejects it and (2) that treaties which do not allow for contracting parties to simply withdraw are profoundly undemocratic because they bind future governments.

The OUT camp should press the major political parties to commit themselves to ignoring Article 50. If a party refuses that can be used against them because it will make them look suspicious. Before the vote

B) The parties’ plans of action if there is a vote to leave

It is important that all the parties likely to have seats in the Commons after the next election are publicly and relentlessly pressed to give at least a broad outline of what action they would adopt in the event of a vote to leave.  Left with a free hand there is a serious danger that whatever British  government is  in charge after a vote to leave would attempt to bind the UK back into the EU by stealth by signing the UK up to agreements such as those the EU has with Norway and Switzerland which mean that they have to (1) pay a fee to the EU annually, (2) adopt the social legislation which comes from the EU and (3) most importantly agree to the four “freedoms” of the EU – the free movement of goods, services, capital and  labour throughout not merely the EU  but the wider European Economic Area (EEA).

It is probable that the Westminster parties will all resist this, but that would present them with two problems. First, a refusal to do so would make them seem untrustworthy; second, if one party laid out their position but the others did not, that would potentially give the party which did say what it would do a considerable advantage over the others which did not.  If no party puts its plans before the public before the referendum, there should be demands  from those who want the UK to leave the EU that  any new treaties with the EU must be put to a referendum and, if they are rejected, the UK will simply trade with the EU under the WTO rules.

C) Repudiate re-negotiation before the referendum

Supporting the negotiation of a new relationship between the UK and the EU before a referendum is mistaken because it would seem to many to be giving tacit approval for renegotiation and legitimise the possibility of the UK remaining within the EU.  It is also rash  because  the likelihood  of the EU giving nothing is probably very small.  Indeed, they might well  give something which is substantial,  because the UK leaving the EU would be a very great blow to the organisation. The UK is the country with the second largest population within the EU with , depending on how it is measured,  the second or third largest   economy  and the country which pays the second largest contribution to the EU budget.   For the EU to lose the UK would not only be a blow in itself, it would also create a very strong precedent for every other EU state, especially the largest ones.  If  the UK left and prospered the temptation would be for other EU states to leave.

But even if negotiation  produced  nothing of substance as Harold Wilson’s “renegotiation” did in 1975, it would be a mistake to imagine that it would not influence the referendum result. The electorate is divided between the resolute come outs, the resolute stay-ins and the wavering middle.  A claim by the stay-in campaigners that something had been conceded by the EU, however  insignificant,  would provide the waverers with an excuse to vote to stay in because they could convince themselves they were voting for change.

It would be also be a mistake to see the EU offering  nothing  at all as a gift for the OUT camp. This is  because the waverers might simply see that as evidence that the EU was too powerful to oppose and shift their votes to staying in.

Those who want the UK to leave should unambiguously put the case for no renegotiation.  Dismiss anything Cameron (or any other PM) brings back from the EU by way of altered terms as being irrelevant because the EU has a long record of  agreeing things with  the UK and then finding ways of sabotaging what was agreed. In addition, a future British government  may agree to alter any terms offered at the time of the referendum.  The classic example of this changing of agreed terms happening in the past is Tony Blair’s  giving up of a substantial amount of the Thatcher rebate in return for a promised reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a promise which was never met.  That episode produced my all-time favourite amongst Blair’s penchant for lying. Two days before he went to the EU meeting at which he  gave away a  substantial part of the rebate he declared during Prime Minister’s Questions  that  the rebate  was “non-negotiable – period”

It is difficult to envisage any British prime minister not trying to  negotiate with the EU before a referendum, but it might just  happen if whoever is in power when the referendum is announced were to be told privately by the  major EU players that nothing will be given and the prime minister of the day concludes it would be best to pretend that a decision had been made not to negotiate rather than risk the humiliation of getting nothing, perhaps not even a pretence of negotiation before nothing is given.  Why would the EU do this? They might calculate that it would be a gamble worth taking to send a British PM away  with nothing  whilst hoping the referendum vote would be to stay in because then the power of the UK to resist further integration would be shot.

If the EU offer nothing, the OUT camp should welcome the fact and stress to the public that if the referendum is to stay-in the EU could force any federalist measure through because not only would any British government be much weakened in its opposition to more federalism, the UK political class as a whole would more than willing to go along with it because of their ideological commitment to the EU.

D) After the vote

Ideally the government which deals with the EU after a vote to leave will have committed themselves to a plan of action before the referendum vote.  However, as described above,  it is quite possible that this will not happen because  the UK’s overwhelmingly Europhile political class will try to re-entangle the UK with the EU. To prevent them doing so there should be a concerted campaign after the vote to ensure that the  British public understands what is being done on their behalf with a demand for a further referendum to agree any  new treaty.

The terms of the debate

It is essential that the Europhiles are not allowed to make the debate revolve around economics.   If they do it will effectively stifle meaningful debate. As anyone who has ever tried to present economic ideas to an audience of the general public will know it is a soul-destroying experience.  Take the question of how much of UK trade is with the EU. The debate will begin with the stay-in camp saying something like 45% of UK trade is with the EU. Those wanting to leave the EU will respond by saying it is probably less than 40% because of the Rotterdam/Antwerp effect . They will then be forced to explain what the Rotterdam/Amsterdam, effect is. That is the point where the general public’s concentration is lost and the debate ends up proving nothing to most of the audience.

But  although nothing is proved to the general audience by detailed economic argument ,  the audience will remember  certain phrases which have considerable  traction.  In amongst the serious debating on the issue of trade there will be phrases such as three million jobs in Britain rely on the EU and dire threats about how the EU will simply not buy British goods and services any more.  This is nonsense but fear is not a rational thing and many of those who vote will enter the voting chamber with fear of losing their jobs  in their heads regardless of what the OUT camp says if the debate is predominantly about economics.  Shift the debate away from economics and the fear inducing phrases will be heard less often.  If the BIG LIE is not repeated often enough its potency fades.

National Sovereignty

How should those wanting to leave the EU shift the focus of debate? They should put the matter which is really at the core of the UK’s  relationship with the EU  – national sovereignty – at the front of the  OUT camp’s referendum campaign.   Campaign under a slogan such as Are we to be masters in our own house?

Making national sovereignty the primary campaigning issue has the great advantage of  it being something that anyone can understand because it is both a simple concept and speaks directly to the natural tribal instincts of  human beings.   Being a simple concept readily  and naturally understood,   it is a far more potent debating tool than arguments attempting to refute the economic  arguments  beloved of the stay-in camp.  The fact that the natural tribal instincts have been suppressed for so long in the UK will increase its potency because most people will feel a sense of release when it begins to be catered for in public debate.

The appeal to national sovereignty has a further advantage. Those who support the EU are unused to debating on that ground.  That is because uncritical support for the EU has long been the position of both the British mainstream political class as a class and of the mass media.  That has meant that the contrary voice – that which wishes Britain to be independent – has been largely unheard in public debate for thirty years or more. Where it has been heard the response of the pro-EU majority has not been rational argument but abuse ranging from patronising dismissal of a wish for sovereignty as an outmoded nationalism to accusations that national sovereignty amounts to xenophobia or even racism.   These tactics – of excluding those who want to leave the EU from public debate and abuse substituted for argument – will no longer be available to the  pro EU lobby.

Immigration

The most threatening and energising subject relating to the EU for the general public is immigration. The public are right to identify this as the most important aspect of our membership of the EU because immigration touches every important part of British life: jobs, housing, education, welfare, healthcare, transport, free expression  and crime besides radically changing the  nature of parts of  the UK which now have large populations of immigrants and their descendants.

The public rhetoric of mainstream politicians and the media is changing fast as they begin to realise both what an electoral liability a de facto open door immigration policy is  as the effects of mass immigration become ever more glaring.  The argument is shifting from the economic to the cultural.  For example, here is the Daily Telegraph in a leader of  25 March:

“The fact is that, for many in Britain (especially those outside the middle classes), it is not just a matter of jobs being taken or public services being stretched, but of changes in the very character of communities. Those changes may not necessarily be for the worse: as the Prime Minister says, Britain’s culture has long been enriched by the contributions of new arrivals. But as long as ministers treat immigration as a matter of profit and loss, rather than the cause of often wrenching social change, they will never be able fully to address the grievances it causes.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9952717/Immigration-and-the-limits-of-the-possible.html)

This new frankness in public debate means that the OUT camp can use the immigration argument freely provided they keep the language within the confines of formal politeness. The subject will naturally dovetail with the emphasis on national sovereignty because the most important aspect of sovereignty is the ability to control the borders of the territory of a state.  Judged by their increasing willingness to talk publicly about immigration, it is probable that the mainstream UK parties will be content to go along with  ever more frank discussion about  immigration.

The economic argument must be kept simple

It will not be possible to avoid  economic arguments entirely. The OUT camp should concentrate on repeating these two facts:

–          The disadvantageous balance of payments deficit the UK has with the EU

–          The amount the UK pays to the EU

Those are the most solid  economic figures relating to the EU.   There is some fuzziness around the edges of the balance of payments deficit because of the question of where all the imports end up (whether in the EU or outside the EU through re-exporting) ,  while the  amount the EU  receives  is solid but it has to be broken down into the money which returns to the UK and the amount retained by Brussels.  Nonetheless these are the most certain  figures and the least susceptible to obfuscation by the stay-in side.

The best way of presenting the money paid to the EU is simply to say that outside the EU we can decide  how all of it is spent in this country and to illustrate what the money saved by not paying it to the EU would pay for.

It will also be necessary to address the question of protectionist measures the EU might take against the UK if the  vote was to leave.  It is improbable that the EU would place heavy protectionist barriers on UK exports because:

1.   The massive balance of payment deficit between the UK and the rest of the EU which is massively in the EU’s favour.

2.  Although the rest of the EU dwarfs the UK economy, much UK trade with the EU is heavily concentrated in certain regions of the EU.  The effect of protectionist barriers would  bear very heavily on these places.

3. There are strategically and economically important joint projects of which the UK is a major part,  for example, Airbus, the Joint-Strike Fighter.

4. the Republic of Ireland would be a massive bargaining chip for  the UK to play.  If the UK left and the EU rump attempted to impose sanctions against Britain this would cripple the RoI because so much of their trade is with the UK  The EU would be forced to massively subsidise the RoI  if protectionist barriers against the UK were imposed.  The EU could not exempt the RoI from the sanctions because that  would leave the EU open to British exports being funnelled through the RoI.

5. The EU would be bound by the World Trade Organisation’s restrictions on protectionist measures.

The economic  issues which are not worth pursuing in detail because they are too diffuse  and uncertain , are those relating to how much the EU costs Britain in terms of  EU-inspired legislation. It may well be that these load billions a year of extra costs  onto the UK  but they are not certain  or easily evaluated costs, not least because we cannot in the nature of things know what burdens an independent UK would impose off its own bat.   Getting into detailed  discussions about such things will simply play into the hands of  the stay-in camp because it will eat up the time and space available to those promoting the OUT cause.

Other Issues

Apart from the economic issues the stay-in camp will use these reasons for staying in:

–          That the EU  has prevented war in Western Europe since 1945.  This can be simply refuted by pointing out that the EU was not formed until  twelve years after WW2; that until 1973 the EU consisted of only six countries, three of them small,  and  of only nine countries until the 1980s. Consequently it would be reasonable to look for other reasons for  the lack of war. The two causes of   the peace in Western Europe have been the NATO alliance and the invention of nuclear weapons which make the price of war extraordinarily high.

–          That nation states such as the UK are too small to carry any real diplomatic weight in modern world.   That begs the question of whether it is an advantageous thing to carry such weight – it can get a country into disastrous foreign entanglements such as Iraq and Afghanistan – but even assuming it is advantageous , many much smaller countries than the UK survive very nicely, making their own bilateral agreements with other states large and small.   It is also worth remembering that the UK has such levers as a permanent seat on the UN Security  Council (which allows the UK to veto any proposed  move by the UN) and considerable influence in institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

Robert Henderson

1 April 2013

Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden part III

ELVEDENFriday, 22 March, 2013 10:51

From: “Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk” <paulette.rooke@met.pnn.police.uk>Add sender to ContactsTo: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Mr Henderson

I have been asked by my Inspector to ascertain if you have any new evidence with regard to your allegations against those mentioned in your correspondence.

Yours sincerely

Paulette Rooke

ADS PAULETTE ROOKE

JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD

Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526

————————————————————————————————————–

To

DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

CC

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

24 March  2013

Dear DC Rooke,

You ask in your email of 22 March whether I have any new information relating to the accusations I have made.  The short answer is no. However, having listened  again to the tape recording I made of my interview with Det Supt Jeff Curtis I shall be sending you a copy of that for the reasons given below in paragraph 4.

Happily  you do not need any further information to begin investigations into Piers  Morgan, Jeff Edwards and Det Supt Jeff Curtis. In fact, I think any disinterested third party would be rather surprised that the investigations  have not  already begun, bearing in mind that you have a letter sent to Morgan to the PCC in which he admitted that the Mirror had received information from a police officer in circumstances which can only have been illegal.

The reason the crimes  (apart from the accusations of perjury before Leveson) were not meaningfully investigated when I made my original complaints is beautifully  simple: corrupt practice by the police prompted either by the Blairs’ involvement in the story and/or a known or suspected corrupt relationship between Metropolitan Police officers and the Mirror (and other press and broadcasters).

The corrupt nature of the way my complaints were handled is exemplified  by Jeff Curtis’ failure to interview anyone at the Mirror even though he had the letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC.   Curtis told me this in a phone call and you can verify that this is the truth by looking at the original case notes. The tape recording of my meeting with Jeff Curtis is important because in it he says he will  be going to the Mirror, says the case revolves around Morgan’s admission and says it is a straightforward case.  The recording was made with Curtis’  knowledge and agreement.  The fact that he knew he was being recorded is significant because it removed the possibility from his mind of saying something to me thinking he could deny it later. Clearly something  irregular  happened between him leaving me and starting the investigation. It is reasonable to suspect he was leant on by someone even more senior not to investigate the Mirror.  That the police never interviewed anyone at the Mirror also means that the Mirror accounts and the journalistic records kept by Edwards  and Morgan (and perhaps others) were never scrutinised for evidence of payments to the police.  All in all, this is   a very obvious perversion of the course of justice.

The events to which the these crimes relate are 15 years old,   but that is irrelevant to whether they should be investigated now, both because of the serious nature  of the crimes and the fact that those I allege against Morgan and Edwards  were not investigated meaningfully when they were first reported. Nor is there any problem with a lack of compelling  evidence  because of the time which has elapsed. In the case of Morgan and Edwards you have  Morgan’s letter to the PCC and the Mirror story, while  Curtis’ perversion of the course of justice speaks for itself. Moreover, although it is 15 years since the events, the age of fully computerised accounts had arrived  before 1997 and   it is probable that a copy of the Mirror accounts  for the period is still held in digital form. The same could  apply to journalistic records held by Morgan and Edwards or other Mirror employees or freelances.  I know from my use of the  Data Protection Act soon after the Mirror published the story that the paper was holding information about me  which they refused to release under the journalistic purposes provision of the DPA. They may well be still holding it.

As for the perjury accusations against Morgan and Edwards, these are very recent complaints about crimes recently committed which have never been previously investigated.   You have the information you need to investigate the perjury because I have supplied you with the Morgan letter to the PCC, the Mirror story about me and the transcripts of the relevant passages in the evidence given by Morgan and Edwards before Leveson.

Apart from the killer fact of Curtis’ failure  to interview anyone at the Mirror and a consequent failure to investigate the Mirror’s records, the circumstances of that failed investigation and of other complaints I made at the same time provide very  strong circumstantial evidence that my original complaints against Morgan and Edwards were not  treated  normally.  For example, why was a Det Supt from Scotland Yard  investigating crimes  which would normally be investigated by a Det Sergeant or just possibly a Det Inspector?  To that you can add the array of senior police officers  (the details of which I  sent to you in my email of 29th January) who became involved in my various complaints at one time or another,  despite the crimes being of a nature which would normally have been investigated by  policemen of lesser rank.   The only reasonable explanation for their involvement is the political circumstances surrounding my complaints.

There are two scenarios which fit the receipt of information by the Mirror from the police.  The first is straightforward: a police officer, possibly of senior rank because of the Blairs’ involvement, has sold the information to the Mirror for mere personal gain.

The second scenario is more complex. It involves  a senior police officer engaging in a conspiracy with Tony and Cherry Blair  assisted by Alastair Campbell to feed misinformation to the Mirror.   This is more than a little plausible because the Mirror story was a farrago of grotesque  lies such as the claim that I had bombarded the Blairs with letters  or that the letters were “full of graphic racist filth”. There was also  a completely fabricated  quote “if he gets elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”.  Ask yourself why the Mirror would have printed such things if they had read my letters after   they were given them by a police officer simply out to make money with no political axe to grind. It would not make sense. If, on the other hand, this was all part of a conspiracy between the Blairs, a senior police officer and Alastair Campbell  it would make perfect sense,  because then it transmutes from a political story  into an exercise in political propaganda to nullify me by smearing.  The story would then be whatever they wanted it to be with the content of the letters an irrelevance.

It is noteworthy that Morgan in his  letter to the PCC admits that the Mirror did not have copies of my letters and that he had not seen them.  That could mean one of four things: the Mirror did not have copies, the Mirror had copies but did not wish to admit it because they knew the letters would not substantiate their printed story about me, Edwards had seen the letters but  realised they were innocuous and not the basis for a smear story  or  no one at the Mirror had ever seen my  letters but had written their story simply from false information given to them by the police informant. The last possibility fits in most neatly with the conspiracy theory.

Why would the Blairs wish to engage in such a conspiracy?  The most plausible answer lies in the fact that they did not go to the police when I wrote to them, but only later after I had sent copies of my letters to the Blairs and the non-replies I was receiving from their offices to every mainstream media outlet at the beginning of the 1997 General Election campaign.  That can only mean the Blairs  wanted to  silence me during the election campaign.   Why? Only they can tell you that for sure. What is certain is that the Blairs  must have been very seriously worried about the media taking up the story told in my letters and their non-replies to get involved with a criminal investigation during the most important weeks of Blair’s life, namely, the General Election campaign.  Having miserably failed in the attempt to have me prosecuted it would have made perfect sense from their point of view to try to neutralise me by getting a friendly media outlet to print a false and hideously libellous story about me to dissuade anyone in the media from taking up the story told in my letters to the Blairs and their non-replies to me.

Here is something for you and your superiors to think upon. If the Met refuses to  properly  investigate my complaints (including questioning Morgan and Edwards) it will look  like yet another cover-up to go along with the persistent failure  by the Met to investigate phone-hacking until political pressure forced them  to  re-investigate cases which had previously been deemed to provide insufficient evidence for a prosecution or even a sustained investigation. The re-investigation of these supposedly hopeless cases has  resulted in dozens of arrests and quite a few charges, a fact which tells its own tale.

I repeat my previous requests for an interview with you and a senior officer within  Operation Elveden, preferably Steve Kavanagh . Apart from anything else you should be taking a formal statement from me based on the very strong evidence I have provided.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See also

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden-part-ii/

————————————————————————————————

Tape recording of my interview with Jeff Curtis has been sent to you

Tuesday, 26 March, 2013 7:05
From:
“robert henderson” <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

View contact details

To:
“Paulette Rooke” <Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk>
                                      To

DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG 

26 3 2013

Dear DC Rooke,

I have posted a copy of the tape recording of my interview on 8 April 1999 with Det Supt Jeff Curtis to you by recorded delivery. I have sent the tape to JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD which is where you appear to be physically stationed.

Only one side of the tape has been used. You will need to listen to the entire tape, but Jeff Cutris’ comments about going to the Mirror, it being a straightforward case and so on are towards the end of the meeting with around 5/6ths of the tape played.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Press regulation and the British constitution

Robert Henderson

The proposed regulation

The considerable constitutional implications of the proposed regulation of the  press by Royal Charter with  statutory restraints preventing the Charter’s  change and legislation creating different classes of plaintiff in civil cases seems to have passed our politicians by.

The proposal is for the normal ultimate control of a Royal Charter by politicians working through the  Privy Council to be circumscribed by a clause in a statute. In addition, further legislation to allow exemplary damages and costs. will be needed.  To demonstrate why this raises constitutional difficulties it is necessary to first understand what the proposed system will be and do. That requires a detailed examination of the draft Royal Charter.

The Royal Charter

There have been three draft Royal Charters: the original Tory Charter, the Labour/Libdem Charter and the third and latest which is the  draft  (published on 18th march) containing the agreed text by all three major party leaders. The  18th  March Charter  can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/142789/18_March_2013_Royal_Charter_on_self-regulation_of_the_press__for_publication_.pdf. A commentary on and full text of the previous draft Royal Charters produced by the Tories and  the combined efforts of the Labour and the LibDems can be found  at http://martinbelam.com/2013/royal-charter-diffs/.

The statutory underpinning

The statutory underpinning will be,  according to the BBC, a general instruction for all  new Royal Charters after a certain date in 2013, viz:

“Early on Monday a deal was struck, under which a clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill would be tabled in the Lords.

This would state that a royal charter cannot be changed unless it meets requirements stated within that charter for amendments.

It does not mention any specific charter, Leveson or the press – but the royal charter on press regulation would itself state that it cannot be amended without a two-thirds majority of Parliament. “(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21825823)

This statutory underpinning is intended to give absolute force to these provisions in the 18th March  Royal Charter:

“9.2. Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (in whole or in part) a provision of this Charter (“proposed change”) can take effect a draft of the proposed change must have been laid before Parliament, and approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.

9.3. The Recognition Panel may only propose a change to the terms of this Charter if a resolution has been passed unanimously by all of the Members of the Board, who shall determine the matter at a meeting duly convened for that purpose.

10.1. This Charter, and the Recognition Panel created by it, shall not be dissolved unless information about the proposed dissolution has been presented to Parliament, and that proposal has been approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.”

The power to take or refuse complaints

The 18th March draft Charter gives  the proposed press regulator the power to take or refuse complaints as follows:

Schedule 3

“11. The Board should have the power to hear and decide on complaints about breach of the standards code by those who subscribe. The Board will need to have the discretion not to look into complaints if they feel that the complaint is without justification, is an attempt to argue a point of opinion rather than a standards code breach, or is simply an attempt to lobby. The Board should have the power (but not necessarily the duty) to hear complaints:

a) from anyone personally and directly affected by the alleged breach of the standards code, or

b) where there is an alleged breach of the code and there is public interest in the Board giving consideration to the complaint from a representative group affected by the alleged breach, or

c) from a third party seeking to ensure accuracy of published information.”

This gives both a very wide range of complainant and much subjective discretionary power to the Regulator.

The power to impose penalties

The penalties and procedures which the Regulator has to punish and enforce its judgements by the 18th March Charter are:

“15. In relation to complaints, where a negotiated outcome between a complainant and a subscriber (pursuant to criterion 10) has failed, the Board should have the power to direct appropriate remedial action for breach of standards and the publication of corrections and apologies. Although remedies are essentially about correcting the record for individuals, the power to direct a correction and an apology must apply equally in relation to:

a. individual standards breaches; and

b. groups of people as defined in criterion 11 where there is no single identifiable individual who has been affected; and

c. matters of fact where there is no single identifiable individual who has been affected.

16. In the event of no agreement between a complainant and a subscriber (pursuant to criterion 10), the power to direct the nature, extent and placement of corrections and apologies should lie with the Board.

17. The Board should not have the power to prevent publication of any material, by anyone, at any time although (in its discretion) it should be able to offer a service of advice to editors of subscribing publications relating to code compliance.

18. The Board, being an independent self-regulatory body, should have authority to examine issues on its own initiative and have sufficient powers to carry out investigations both into suspected serious or systemic breaches of the code and failures to comply with directions of the Board. The investigations process must be simple and credible and those who subscribe must be required to cooperate with any such investigation.

19. The Board should have the power to impose appropriate and proportionate sanctions (including but not limited to financial sanctions up to 1% of turnover attributable to the publication concerned with a maximum of £1,000,000) on any subscriber found to be responsible for serious or systemic breaches of the standards code or governance requirements of the body. The Board should have sufficient powers to require appropriate information from subscribers in order to ascertain the turnover that is attributable to a publication irrespective of any particular accounting arrangements of the publication or subscriber. The sanctions that should be available should include power to require publication of corrections, if the breaches relate to accuracy, or apologies if the breaches relate to other provisions of the code.

19A.The Board should establish a ring-fenced enforcement fund, into which receipts from financial sanctions could be paid, for the purpose of funding investigations.”

These powers are considerable and the fines  could cause genuine financial difficulty to lesser players in the press field because  fines are on turnover not profit.  The risk is severe because of the immensely broad definition of a publisher who is not a broadcaster:

Schedule 4 b) “relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:

i. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or

ii. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);

The recklessly broad  definition will almost certainly make the system next to unworkable if the Regulator is genuinely to take complaints from both third parties and  complaints about everything from a blog run by a private individual to the largest circulation daily. The experience of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is instructive with the ICO regularly taking one to two years to complete investigations.

The penalties for not being registered with the Regulator

The proposal is that any publisher (as defined by the Royal Charter) who does not sign up with the new regulator will leave themselves open to exemplary damages plus costs if sued  successfully in the courts and may be liable for costs even if they successfully defend a suit in certain circumstances.

These penalties are not part of the Royal Charter or the statutory underpinning already described. Consequently further  legislation will be required. This will be direct statutory control of the press no matter how much politicians try to fudge the matter.  How far such law would be subject to successful legal challenge is debatable because the Human Rights Act contains this:

“Article 10 Freedom of expression.

1Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.” (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42)

The constitutional issues 

If the Charter cannot be amended or dissolved  with less than a two-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament  because a statute has been passed forbidding it,  this  is an  attempt at a de facto superior law, a law moreover, which is binding on future governments. As the two thirds  majority would be extremely difficult to achieve, it would in effect sabotage the constitutional principle that no Parliament can bind its successors by passing laws which cannot be repealed. This is even the case with treaties emanating from the EU. All the major British parties have at one time or another maintained that Parliament is sovereign and the treaties and legislation resulting from   Britain’s membership of first the European Economic Community and its successor the European Union could be nullified by Parliament’s repeal of laws and repudiation of treaties.

Unless a formal framework for such a superior law is introduced into our Constitution, the present  attempt would fail because the restrictions on change or repeal supposedly created by the statutory underpinning could be overcome simply by repealing the entire law in which the statutory restrictions  are  enshrined. That would apply even if a separate Act was passed dealing solely with  restricting changes to the Charter or its abolition. This is so because there could be no such restriction under present circumstances on repealing an entire statute because all statutes are equal and subject to repeal by simple majorities in the two houses of Parliament. In passing it is worth noting that the legislation to make the early calling of general elections difficult  suffers from the same insecurity of application because it requires more than a simple majority.

The next problem is the clash between the general rules governing amendments to Royal Charters and the proposed restrictions imposed by statute:

…once incorporated by Royal Charter a body surrenders significant aspects of the control of its internal affairs to the Privy Council. Amendments to Charters can be made only with the agreement of The Queen in Council, and amendments to the body’s by-laws require the approval of the Council (though not normally of Her Majesty). This effectively means a significant degree of Government regulation of the affairs of the body, and the Privy Council will therefore wish to be satisfied that such regulation accords with public policy. (http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/chartered-bodies/).

And

(d) incorporation by Charter is a form of Government regulation as future amendments to the Charter and by-laws of the body require Privy Council (ie Government) approval. There therefore needs to be a convincing case that it would be in the public interest to regulate the body in this way; (http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/applying-for-a-royal-charter/)

The Privy Council practices come  into direct opposition with the draft Royal Charter  where it touches on amendments  to or dissolution of the  Charter.  It is important to understand that  if granted the Royal Charter will not be an artefact of Parliament.  Technically it will be a Royal artefact although in reality a government artefact.   It might be thought that Parliament being sovereign could override the Privy Council procedures, but it is not as simple as that. The Privy Council procedures are separate from Parliament.  If Parliament wants them to be subordinate to Parliament that would make Royal Charters in effect artefacts of Parliament in the same way that secondary legislation such as statutory instruments and orders  in council  are semi-detached   artefacts of Parliament.

The third and last difficulty is the fact that the proposed Charter would create a quasi-judicial authority (I think that that would make it  unique amongst Royal Charters).  That quasi-judicial function would leave it open to legal challenge, both at the level of the Recognition Panel (RP) which appoints the regulator and the regulator itself . Because there is statutory underpinning  of both the RP and the regulator and the RP is  in receipt of public funds at least in the early years, it might well be that either body could  be subject to judicial review because either could be deemed a public body and  a regulatory body established by statute  (http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/judicial-review).

The other objection to the quasi-judicial status created by the proposed regulatory system is the fact that quasi-judicial powers (and very considerable ones) are being granted by a body other than  Parliament .

The likely outcome

The proposals are a cynical ploy to prepare the ground for serious interference  with the traditional press and the broader internet media because of the breadth of the definition of a publisher.   These are proposals which are incompatible with any society that calls itself free or has pretensions to be a democracy because by definition anything may be debated in a democracy.

The intended consequences of the proposals are clearly to manipulate the press and internet media both in instances of actual publication and through the deterrent effect of the possible consequences which publication of a story will bring. Moreover, anyone who believes that this will be the end of political interference with the press and internet publishers is credulous to the point of imbecility.  Once state regulation of any degree becomes the status quo  it will provide the psychological launching pad for further control. This will be difficult to argue against because the pass on press freedom will already have been sold.

The fact of such an agreement amongst the leadership of all our major parties is profoundly depressing because it means not one of them collectively understands the value of  free expression as a cleansing lotion for immoral behaviour, especially that by the powerful and influential.  To that is added the contemptible portrayal of the proposed scheme  by the major parties as anything but what it is, namely, grubby authoritarianism.

None of that is to  say that those abused by the press do not require protection.  A statutory right of reply (RoR) would do what was required without any chance of political interference. This is because it is a self-organising process which would involve only the newspaper and the complainant or, where an RoR was refused, the courts to enforce it.  The involvement of the courts would not require the courts to make a judgement on what the publication had written or what the subject of their story wanted to say in reply. All the court would be doing is forcing the publication to provide the RoR. The detailed arguments for an RoR  can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/curing-media-abuse-a-statutory-right-to-reply-is-needed/.

Is all lost? Happily there is some hope.  That exists not because there is likely to be any turnabout out of principle by our politicians. Rather, it exists because they have, as so very often,  not thought through the consequences of a policy.    Apart from the constitutional difficulties,  the practical difficulties are huge.  The great breadth of the definition of what is a publisher will potentially make the work of  the Regulator impossible simply because they will be overwhelmed with work.

In addition, there will be endless opportunity for the wealthier subscribers to the Regulator to pursue legal challenges to the rulings of the Regulator, not least because as I have described the legal position of the Regulator and the RP is a dog’s dinner.

Finally, there is the question of whether the  big press publishers will all sign up, even though that will protect them from exemplary damages and costs even if they have won a case in the courts.  There are signs that some at least  might well refuse.  If many refused that would kill the proposals stone dead. But even if they all signed up they could sabotage the intentions of the Royal Charter  by engaging in a barrage of legal actions against the Regulator.

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