Damian Green: Arrest was legal

The police review into the arrest of Damian Green has found it was legal, but “raises concerns”.

The British Transport Police (BTP) will now hand their finding over to Scotland Yard.

Assistant commissioner Bob Quick, who headed the investigation into leaks from the Home Office, has welcomed the finding.

“I welcome his reassurance that the arrests and searches were lawful,” he said.

He said the review’s author, BTP chief constable Ian Johnston, “recognises that there are arguments, either way, regarding proportionality over the manner of arrest of a member of parliament but questions the method taken in this case”.

He continued: “He also raises concerns as to whether elements of the investigative approach meet current policy and best practice. These issues will be carefully considered.”

The review accepts that “police investigations can be especially challenging when faced with parliamentary rights and freedoms” and suggests guidance to “inform future decisions”.

A Conservative party spokesman said: “As we have said all along, we believe Damian Green has done nothing wrong.

“This statement shows that there were very serious failings in the police operation against him. We very much hope that this matter can now be resolved speedily.”

Party sources are privately optimistic the review’s caveats indicate the case against Mr Green will be wound up.

Scotland Yard are still keeping all options, however.

Mr Green, the shadow immigration minister was arrested following the questioning of a civil servant, Christopher Galley, over leaks emanating from the Home Office.

He was questioned for nine hours, and had his parliamentary and constituency offices and two homes searched.

The behaviour of the police has sparked a constitutional dilemma for the government, which has been facing outraged protests from both opposition parties.

Two Commons committees are investigating the matter, but a parliamentary inquiry into the arrest is in limbo following a joint Lib Dem/Conservative boycott.

The police review cannot be published while there is still the chance of a trial.