Campaigners Condemn Emergency Big Brother Powers

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The PM left his Lobby summer drinks party early last night to hammer out an agreement with rowing ministers over new emergency snooping legislation. This morning Cameron and Clegg announced that fast-track laws would be rushed through to allow spooks to keep snooping on our communications, after it was made illegal in the European courts. Civil liberties campaigners Big Brother Watch have condemned the move:

“It is a basic principle of a free society that you don’t monitor people who are not under suspicion. Considering the Snoopers Charter has already been rejected by the public as well as by the highest court in Europe, it is essential that the Government does not rush head first into creating new legislation.

The EU’s data retention laws privatised snooping, meaning companies were paid by governments to record what citizens were doing and retain that information for a year. We need to get back to a point where the police monitor people who are actually suspected of wrong doing and rather than wasting millions every year requiring data to be stored on an indiscriminate basis.”

Open Rights Group adds:

“The government knows that since the CJEU ruling, there is no legal basis for making internet service providers retain our data so it is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for getting this law passed. The Government has had since April to address the CJEU ruling but it is only now that organisations such as ORG are threatening legal action that this has become an ‘emergency’. 

Not only will the proposed legislation infringe our right to privacy, it will also set a dangerous precedent where the government simply re-legislates every time it disagrees with a decision by the CJEU. The ruling still stands and these new plans may actually increase the amount of our personal data that is retained by ISPs, further infringing on our right to privacy. Blanket surveillance needs to end.”

No. 10 says the legislation will make life harder for terrorists, crooks and paedos. But it gives the state the power to access the phone and email data of everyone…

Another Female Aide Complains to Whips Over Ruffley

Katie Pruszynski, who works in parliament as an aide to Chloe Smith, has complained to her whip about the Tories’ inaction over David Ruffley following his caution for assaulting a woman. Writing to Claire Perry, Katie warns that failing to sack Ruffley from the party “is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass”:

“I am very concerned about reports that David Ruffley MP has accepted a caution for the assault of his partner. I would like to know, as a female member of the Conservative Party and as a parliamentary member of staff, why the Party and the whips believe that it is appropriate for him to continue as an elected representative of the Party.

It seems to be an outrageous inconsistency that Nadine Dorries had the whip suspended for her appearance on a television show and Mr Ruffley, whose aggressive and menacing behaviour is allegedly not limited to this incident, is allowed to remain. While I understand that the police have concluded their involvement in the matter, I would like to state in the strongest possible terms that his continuing presence as a representative of the Party, and of Parliament, is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass.

I would like to know what message the whips think that this inaction sends to female staff and Party members, not to mention the wider female population that we are so keenly trying to convince that we, as a Party, are the best guardians of their interests?

You have campaigned passionately for the protection of children from sexualisation, and for the protection of women from domestic violence. I hope that you will be able to shine some light on the inexplicable stance on Mr Ruffley.”

Katie also calls on fellow staff members to come forward to the whips, telling friends:

“I don’t think that it is remotely acceptable that he be allowed to continue as an MP. If you feel you would like to send something similar (or know anyone who would), I am here for support in any way I can give it… I don’t believe this man represents the Party that we are trying to get re-elected to Government.”

Pressure is mounting on the Tories to deal with an issue that is clearly of growing concern to women within the party. The whips have known about it for years.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, it was not Ms. Prusynski who leaked this…

Slap in the Face for Stan Collymore
Ex-Footballer Loses PCC Case Against The Sun

Former footballer Stan Collymore has suffered a humiliating defeat after the Press Complaints Commission ruled that they would not uphold his complaint against the Sun. Collymore accused the paper of publishing an “inaccurate and misleading” article in January this year about his infamous violent attack on former girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson, claiming the Sun “had seriously misrepresented” him, “had misled readers” and had also “engaged in harassment”. The PPC has ruled none of Collymore’s complaints have been upheld, and that there was no breach of the Editor’s Code of Practice.

On the inaccuracy complaint:

“As the article made clear that the complainant had compared his single, “open handed” strike with the harm which may have been caused by a more brutal attack, the Commission concluded that readers would not have been misled by the headline or about the basis for the newspaper’s view that the complainant had sought to “justify” the attack. There was no breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code on these points.”

On the alleged harassment:

“It was evident that a reporter had remained outside the house for a considerable period of time, but he had had no contact with the complainant or any member of the household during this period, and no request had been made for him to leave. It did not appear that he had acted in an intimidating manner and, once he had spoken to the complainant and been informed he did not wish to comment, the reporter had not persisted in questioning him… There was no breach of Clause 4 of the Code.”

You can read the original Sun story in full here

WATCH: Theresa May Announces Inquiry: Statement in Full

The Home Secretary bows to the pressure…

Leon Brittan Denies Rape Allegation: Full Statement

“It is true that I have been questioned by the police about a serious allegation against me. This allegation is wholly without foundation. 

In addition I would like to put on record that I welcome the fact that there is now to be an independent review to look at the missing files belonging to the Home Office.

It has been alleged that when I was Home Secretary I failed to deal adequately with the bundle of papers containing allegations of serious sexual impropriety that I received from the late Geoff Dickens MP. This too is completely without foundation – as evidence from the Home Office’s own report supports. As I made clear in the statement that I issued on 2 July, I passed this bundle of papers to the relevant Home Office officials for examination, as was the normal and correct practice. I wrote to Mr Dickens on 20 March 1984 informing him of the conclusions of the Director of Public Prosecutions about these matters.

In this same report, Mr Dickens thanked the Home Office for the way in which the information he provided was handled and said in a speech to the House of Commons on 31 March 1987: ‘I should like to place on record my thanks to the Home Office for following up the cases that I keep sending to it. I should also like to thank the Attorney General. They have been very helpful and a strength to me in my campaigns.'”

Rolf Verdict Referred to Attorney General as “Unduly Lenient”

Guido understands a member of the public has complained to the Attorney General’s Office that Rolf Harris 5 year 9 month sentence, of which he will serve three years, is too lenient. A spokesperson says:

“I can confirm that the sentence handed to Rolf Harris today has been referred to the Attorney General’s Office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme. 

“It only takes one person to trigger the process, and there is a strict 28 day time period, which means the Law Officers have until Friday 1 August to consider whether they wish to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.”

6 months per count…

JAKE THE LAG: Rolf Harris Jailed for 5 Years 9 Months

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Harris will serve 3 years. He’ll be 87 by the time he’s out…

Ruffley: “I’m Cheerful” After Caution for Assaulting Woman

Guido bumped into a tired looking David Ruffley at the Spectator summer party last night. Given the circumstances (he has accepted a caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend) it seemed polite to ask him how he was, “I’m cheerful,” was his surprising reply. Tension started to rise as the Tory MP then accused Guido of “inaccuracies” in our reporting, when pressed on what those inaccuracies were specifically he offered no specifics. He then went off in huff with the Sunday Times political editor. Ruffley later left Westminster’s Blue Boar bar with a leggy blonde around midnight…

Guido is reliably informed that Ruffley has gone into hack-schmoozing overdrive in the last two weeks, organising lunches with Lobby journalists, offering punchy and colourful off-the-record source quotes and briefing against fellow Tories. Indeed at last night’s bash he took journalists from several papers aside for one-on-one chats. Making himself useful to the papers is his cynically calculated way of making sure his own name stays out of them…

Coulson Jailed for 18 Months

Andy Coulson is sentenced to 18 months in prison. Could he be out in 9 in time for the election?

Greg Miskiw and Neville Thurlbeck sentenced to 6 months. James Weatherup gets a four month suspended sentence. Glenn Mulcaire avoids […]

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Report: Another Tory Guilty of Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend

Surrey Herald & News are reporting that Asif Ayub, Tory councillor for Ashford East in Spelthorne, has been found guilty of five counts of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Readers will remember Ayub as the Tory MP hopeful who described David Cameron […]

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Tory Police Boss in Suffolk Condemns “Inexcusable” Ruffley

Tories are turning on David Ruffley, with two senior local party figures in Suffolk speaking out to condemn him for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Tim Passmore, who is the Conservative Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, says “such behaviour is inexcusable” and […]

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Criminal at the Heart of Downing Street

Following the news that Nicolas Sarkozy has this morning been formally charged with corruption and influence peddling, will Ed Miliband be raising questions about a criminal brought into the heart of Downing Street by a former Labour Prime Minister? He […]

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Quote of the Day

Liz Kendall is asked by Tom Newton Dunn if she would ever ban the Sun from one of her press conferences:

“If you stripped naked and ran in front of me, Tom, I might have second thoughts about it, but apart from that, no.”

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