Damian Green 'pleased' with Home Office leak decision

Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green pointed the finger of blame at ministers today after he was told he will not face charges in the Home Office leaks inquiry.

Mr Green, who was arrested in November, said he was "very pleased" with the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service.



He said the failed investigation reflected an "out of touch, authoritarian, failing government".









The decision raises serious questions about the decision to call in police, which was made at the highest levels of the civil service.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said neither Mr Green nor Christopher Galley, the civil servant who passed him a string of confidential documents, would face charges.



Mr Starmer said the material did not relate to "military, policing or intelligence matters" and was not in many ways "highly confidential".



His statements appear to contradict claims by senior civil servants relating to the decision to call in Scotland Yard.



In the letter to police which prompted the investigation, Cabinet Office director of security and intelligence Chris Wright said the leaks had caused "considerable damage to national security".



Sir David Normington, the most senior civil servant in the Home Office, told a committee of MPs "at least one" of the leaks related to national security.



Home Secretary Jacqui Smith defended the role of the Home Office in the leaks inquiry, saying it would have been "irresponsible" not to have taken action.











Ms Smith told Sky News: "I think it is right that we take our responsibilities to protect that information seriously and that is what we have done throughout this process.

"I think senior civil servants and myself in fact have a responsibility to keep information safe.



"The Director of Public Prosecutions has been clear that even in this case there has been potential for damage to the Home Office, to our business.



"My job is to protect the British people. It is also to protect the sensitive information about how we protect them as well and that is what we have done."











In a report released today, the Commons home affairs committee said frustration at the string of leaks may have led officials to give Scotland Yard an "exaggerated impression" of their seriousness.

The committee said the description of the damage done by the leaks was "unhelpful" and "hyperbolic" and questioned whether without it, the police would still have investigated.



Mr Galley was "extremely relieved" by the decision, his solicitor said.



Neil O'May from Bindmans said the information his client passed to Mr Green "did not involve any question of national security" and questioned whether the "lengthy and expensive investigation" could be justified.



Mr Galley, who was suspended on full pay during the police investigation, will now face disciplinary action by the Home Office, a spokesman said.











Former Tory frontbencher David Davis said the case had been brought in an attempt to protect ministers from political embarrassment.

The political culture in both the Cabinet Office and the Home Office had resulted in a "misuse of the law", he said.



Mr Starmer's statement made clear the case "should never have been brought", he said.



And he questioned how much ministers knew of the decision to call in the police.



He said: "The fact that this case was brought amounts to a massive misjudgment by the Cabinet Office and the Home Office and demonstrates only too clearly the political culture within these departments which encourages such misuse of the law to protect ministers from political embarrassment, since there was never any significant threat to national security.



"It is clear from the Home Affairs Select Committee Report and the Director of Public Prosecutions statement that there was absolutely no threat to national security, and that the claims made to this effect were exaggerated.



"This was true both in making the decision and in attempting to justify it afterwards."



He also backed the call by the Home Affairs Committee for whistleblowers to face criminal prosecution only if they release highly secret national security information.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Co-Ordinator / Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These leading independent prope...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative - South West England

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest manufacturer of UPV...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Supervisor

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well establis...

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer / Helpdesk Engineer

£16500 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy