In Prime Minister’s Questions today David Cameron advocated setting up a full-scale independent inquiry into continuous leaks to the press about anti-terror operations. The Head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, Peter Clarke, criticised those who leak at a Policy Exchange event last night, and also said that Muslims weren’t doing enough to help counter-terrorism:
"The people who do this either do not know or do not care what damage they do. If they do know, then they are beneath contempt; if they do not know, then let me tell them: they compromise investigations; they reveal sources of life saving intelligence; in the worst cases they put lives at risk."
Blair resisted the idea, saying that as far as he was aware the leaks weren’t coming from any ministers, civil servants or speciaI advisers – to which Cameron replied: "But if you haven’t had a leak inquiry, how on earth can you know?!". In his second round, Cameron called for Treasury loans that help people who lose occupational pensions to make payments. Blair’s response was typically crystal clear:
"The problem with a Treasury loan is that, having looked at it, we don’t think it’s a very suitable or correct way of trying to provide that help because in the end all of this has to be paid back."
Michael Howard called the planned break-up of the Home Office ill-considered, asking Blair to draw a comparison to how well it worked at the time he was Shadow Home Secretary. This just gave him the excuse to list unfavourable crime statistics.