…Mr Clarke believes such an inquiry is not justified because it would duplicate work that is already being done by MPs, and could drag on for years.
Hang on, lets look at the powers that the Safety Elephant now has over inquiries under the provisions of the Inquiries Act 2005:
1. Decide whether there should be an inquiry. – (or not, as Safety’s doing here)
2. Set its terms of reference. – (this would include setting of timescales for the inquiry so it doesn’t drag on for years, which rather fucks that part of the argument)
3. Amend its terms of reference – at any time before or during its proceedings.
4. Appoint its members.
5. Restrict public access to inquiries – at any time before or even during its proceedings.
6. Prevent the publication of evidence placed before an inquiry
7. Prevent the publication of the inquiry’s report – all inquiry reports are now to be submitted to the Minister who then decides whether to submit it to Parliament. Previously inquiry reports were automatically submitted to Parliament, Minister had the right only to access in advance of any debate on the inquiry’s findings.
(5,6 & 7 takes care of any issues which might arise out of the sensitivity of intelligence information or information relating to active investigations, which can be heard in camera – such information may provide useful contextual information even if not heard in public or included in the final report)
8. Suspend or terminate an inquiry.
9. Withhold the costs of any part of an inquiry which strays beyond the terms of reference set by the Minister.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are involved in a murder investigation, that is a very active investigation. Secondly we are looking at potential future threats … and that is a very important thing not to be distracted from.
Err… Safety? I hate to say this but the guy who did the bombing on 7 July are all dead, and the one’s from 21 July have all been arrested.
You may still be looking for a few accessories who supplied equipment/information. You may even be trying to ascertain whether the bombers were acting under orders and looking for the source of those orders, but the main body of any murder investigation kind of died with the suicide bombers who blew themselves up – I hate to be tautological about this but by definition a successful suicide bombing tends not to leave behind anyone to put on trial.
And in any case, you seem to have forgotten about powers 5,6 & 7 (above) which can be used to prevent the public disclosure of information that might compromise on-going investigations.
“Thirdly, the time factor. I have always been a sceptic … of the length of time that inquiries of this kind do actually take and the distraction which they offer. And finally, of course, a number of committees … are [already] looking at various aspects of this.”
It’s reassuring to know that you think that public inquiries, one of the few methods available which offer any prospect of bringing/holding the government and/or state to account are such a ‘distraction’
Yes, I’m aware that there are Parliamentary Committees looking at aspects of this issue already but…
I would like to introduce into evidence here, this transcript of the formal minutes of the meeting of the Joint Committee on Human Rights on Monday 14th November 2005, at which it considered amendments to a final draft of its own report on “Counter-terrorism policy and human rights: Terrorism Bill and related matters