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Press Cycle 33 - Of...
 
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Press Cycle 33 - Official Secrets Act  

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Josh
 Josh
(@michael-kirton)
Canadian AV A-team
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 50
19/07/2019 9:37 pm  

With recent moves by William Croft to reveal details about his meeting with the Prime Minister under the protection of Parliamentary Privilege, what do these actions mean?

Open until 11:59 PM BST, July 22.

This topic was modified 12 months ago by Josh

Your friendly neighbourhood Canadian AV


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William Croft
(@william-croft)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 260
19/07/2019 10:02 pm  

I am totally comfortable with my decision to table a Motion in order to have the transcript of the meeting between the Prime Minister and I made available to the British public. My obligation is to serve and represent the British people, and that becomes impossible if we allow a Prime Minister to conduct government business behind closed doors. There was no reason for this meeting to happen in private, no reason for the OSA to be invoked, and no reason that the Prime Minister cannot provide a redacted copy of the transcript of our meeting to the British people. All Members of Parliament reserve the right to criticize the Government of the day, and must not be prevented from doing so by a Prime Minister who is willing to employ the OSA in the hopes of silencing her political opponents. 

I am not asking the British people to take my word for what was said at this meeting, I'm simply asking the Government to disclose the meeting transcript so that the people can make up their own mind. 

William Croft
Member of Parliament for Bracknell
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Chief Whip of the Conservative party


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William (Will) Conway
(@will-conway)
MP for Milton Keynes North
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 99
19/07/2019 10:10 pm  

I am entirely convinced that the Prime Minister abused the Official Secrets Act, and that the Shadow Foreign Secretary was well within his rights to reveal what he did in Parliament.  No intelligence reports were compromised.  No military secrets were shared.  No diplomatic conversations were revealed. The real issue here is an extraordinary abuse of the law by the Prime Minister, who has acted in a way that threatens every other elected official.  I join my colleague William Croft in calling for a properly redacted transcript of his conversation with the Prime Minister to be released by her office,

Will Conway
Conservative
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016)

Parliamentary 16
Media 14
Policy 8


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Meredith Hansen-Charles
(@mhc)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 106
19/07/2019 10:19 pm  

If Mr Croft is confident in his remarks in Parliament then he should repeat to the public outside of the Commons.

 

Edited to bold comment, approval from Rick.

This post was modified 12 months ago by Meredith Hansen-Charles

Meredith Hansen-Charles
Cambridge
Secretary of State for Education
Minister for Women and Equalities

"Meredith Hansen-Charles...is a deity" - Kandler/The Times


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William Croft
(@william-croft)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 260
19/07/2019 10:29 pm  

The comments made to the press by Meredith Hansen-Charles epitomize the fact that this entire "crisis" is a Government stunt. I would never think to speak about what has been discussed in the House of Commons, as Parliamentary Privilege does not extend beyond the walls of Parliament. If the Government really cared about promoting national security, then senior members of the Government would probably know a thing or two about how the Official Secrets Act works. But they don't, Ms. Hansen-Charles made that very clear, because this has never really been about national security in the first place. 

My position is simple: the Prime Minister should release the transcript of our meeting so, as Ms. Hansen-Charles so perfectly put it, the meeting can be discussed outside of Parliament and the British people can know what was said in totality. 

William Croft
Member of Parliament for Bracknell
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Chief Whip of the Conservative party


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Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 120
19/07/2019 10:30 pm  

The Government's abuse of the Official Secrets Act here is quite stunning.  By the Government's interpretation of the OSA, if the PM called the Shadow Foreign Secretary in and told him that his mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries and then invoked the Official Secrets Act, that would suddenly become a matter of national security.  I think we can all see how silly and absurd this sort of use of that law is, but it is exactly what we're dealing with now.

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


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Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 120
20/07/2019 1:04 am  

Considering that the PM's briefing was unasked for, apparently unnecessary, and obviously abused, we need a change to the rules in Westminster to prevent this sort of abuse from happening again.  The Prime Minister should not be able to shove a poisoned chalice of classified information into the hands of members of the Opposition in order to prevent them from criticizing Government policy.  The idea of the Government using such information to lay a security-related minefield for the opposition is odious to the operation of a functioning democracy and that practice cannot be tolerated.

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


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Sir Geoffrey Birch
(@sir-geoffrey)
MP for Bexhill & Battle
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 98
20/07/2019 1:48 am  

William Croft has been supremely careful in what he has said, so as to make plain the disturbing actions of the Prime Minister whilst keeping safe our national secrets.

 

If the allegations that he makes are true, the Prime Minister is seeking to silence a prominent Opposition politician using threats of legal punishment simply for espousing a different view to her own. That is the stuff of autocracy, not British democracy.

 

The Shadow Foreign Secretary is only seeking transparency from the Government. Redact anything from the transcript that would harm British interests, then let us see how the Prime Minister thinks she can treat a fellow politician. The truth will set you free, Prime Minister!

Sir Geoffrey Birch | Conservative Party
MP for Bexhill & Battle (2001-present)
Former MP for Northampton South (1983-1997)
Parliamentary experience: Novice (28)
Media experience: Novice (22)
Policy experience: Unknown (12)

Formerly: Deborah Carpenter, Conservative, MP for Hertford & Stortford, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer


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Sir Geoffrey Birch
(@sir-geoffrey)
MP for Bexhill & Battle
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 98
20/07/2019 1:58 am  

With her latest comments, Meredith Hansen-Charles reveals her ignorance.

 

Daring someone to repeat an allegation without the protection of Parliamentary Privilege is a reasonable request in cases of libel. There, the only threat is a civil suit and monetary damages, in a case in which the truth of the allegations is an absolute defence. Here, the threat is to a prison term, even if what is said is completely true! The scenarios are not remotely comparable, and even to suggest so shows a lack of intelligence that is most concerning in a Government minister.

 

No, this is precisely the type of situation for which Parliamentary Privilege was designed: a Government alleged to be seeking to cover up wrong-doing with threats of judicial punishment. All we ask for is transparency. The Liberal Democrats used to claim to like transparency, until they got into power.

Sir Geoffrey Birch | Conservative Party
MP for Bexhill & Battle (2001-present)
Former MP for Northampton South (1983-1997)
Parliamentary experience: Novice (28)
Media experience: Novice (22)
Policy experience: Unknown (12)

Formerly: Deborah Carpenter, Conservative, MP for Hertford & Stortford, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer


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Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 560
20/07/2019 2:53 pm  

First thing's first, there is no question that I will fire William from the Shadow Cabinet and if he resigns I will reject his resignation. Nothing that William has done comes anywhere near a breach of national security, nothing he has done is a breach of the Official Secrets Act, so totally committed to observing the letter of the law is he that not even I know what was said in that room between himself and the Prime Minister. William Croft has done nothing wrong in calling for transparency in this process, the Government should stop chasing shadows in this witch hunt and start looking inwards at the potential abuse of power that this saga represents.

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


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Eleanor Nerina
(@eleanor-nerina)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 71
20/07/2019 3:20 pm  

The Official Secrets Act is not a political tool for the Opposition to play with because they're trying to deflect from a bad week for their Shadow Foreign Secretary. Contrary to their claims - either willful lies or misunderstandings - the Prime Minister cannot have "used" the Official Secrets Act for political purposes. What she can have done, quite rightly, is notify him that the Act applied to the information she was disclosing - it is the Act, passed by a Conservative Government, that defined what William Croft could and could not disclose, not the Prime Minister. The fact is that the Tories are now playing a dangerous, destructive game with our national security. They have done everything to frustrate a nuclear deal with Iran they negotiated, they have caused a diplomatic incident with a close security partner in the fight against terrorism, and now they are shrugging their shoulders at the Official Secrets Act and the protection that it gives to our servicepeople, our allies, and our security. If Dylan Macmillan retained any shred of dignity he would remove William Croft from his position and put the shambles he has wrought on our national security behind him.

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department
Labour MP for Brent North (2005 - )


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Eleanor Nerina
(@eleanor-nerina)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 71
20/07/2019 3:33 pm  

Let's remember why all this started: William Croft, making it up as he went along, accused a close security and Commonwealth ally of sponsoring terrorism, causing a diplomatic incident and putting the effectiveness of the fight against terrorism in the Middle East and East Asia at risk. That was and remains a deeply irresponsible, reckless move that the Government has had to move quickly to resolve, and was based on the selective quoting of leaked, old, or irrelevant reports. Rather than admitting his mistake and living up to the office he wants to hold, William Croft has continued to sling mud in a vain effort to protect his own career and poll rating, rather than national security. The Government will continue to act in the national interest, working closely with our allies in the fight against international terrorism in a spirit of unity, respect, and dignity.

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department
Labour MP for Brent North (2005 - )


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Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 560
20/07/2019 3:34 pm  

I am delighted that Meredith Hansen-Charles has decided that the entire transcript should be made public, although I do disagree with the way in which it should be. I believe that the Prime Minister should brief the Privy Council and Parliament properly, using Standing Order 163 if it is appropriate, and then release a national security compliant version to the public whereas she believes that William should simply read out the transcript in the House of Commons. The ultimate truth here though, underlined by both schools of thought, is that the Prime Minister cannot rule from the shadows she must open the curtains to transparency and be honest with the country.

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


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Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 560
20/07/2019 4:19 pm  

As the Prime Minister comes under investigation for Misconduct in Public Office the question now shifts rather drastically to whether or not she will properly brief the transcript of her meeting with William or whether she will withhold it and impede the police's inquiries, or indeed if it even exists at all. The latter two options would be unthinkable so I ask the Prime Minister again to properly brief the transcript so that the police investigation may go on without interruption and so that we may return to observing the democratic norms of our politics.

This post was modified 12 months ago by Macmillan

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition (2014-16)

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


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William (Will) Conway
(@will-conway)
MP for Milton Keynes North
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 99
20/07/2019 4:31 pm  

We are in a very dangerous place when criticism of another country leads to an attempt by the Prime Minister to intimidate the Shadow Foreign Secretary to silence by misusing the Official Secrets Act.  Every member of Labour and the Liberal Democrats who attack our attempt to bring clarity and transparency to what really happened is complicit in this abuse of power.

Will Conway
Conservative
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016)

Parliamentary 16
Media 14
Policy 8


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