David Davis has written a very good article for this morning’s Times on the "blunders" that may have contributed to 7/7. We now know, for example, that MI5 had information about Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks, but did not follow up on that information. The ringleader was certainly not a ‘clean skin’ as had been first suggested. David Davis wonders if MI5 failed operationally in its failure to keep tabs on Khan and his associates or whether there are overriding issues of adequate resourcing and use of resources. The Shadow Home Secretary believes that it’s time for "an independent inquiry into the attacks of July 7 and 21, and their implications for our security strategy":
"John Reid has refused to allow a “public inquiry”. We do not want a public inquiry, we want an independent inquiry, which, far from being a distraction, will be an essential tool in improving our security services. At a time when the head of MI5 has publicly cautioned that we face an unprecedented threat from 30 terrorist plots, 200 terrorist groups and 1,600 suspects, the British public – especially the bereaved and the survivors of 7/7 – deserve no less."
David Davis asks lots of good questions. One question for him in return: "Why hasn’t Patrick Mercer been replaced as Shadow Homeland Security Minister?" It’s been nearly two months since his forced resignation and keeping such an important position unfilled does not send out the right message. John Reid has already sought to exploit the situation. At the end of last week David Cameron suggested that there could be room in a Conservative Government for Mr Mercer. Perhaps he could return to the frontbenches and to his old job? Few are better equipped to fill it. A short three month suspension is also probably a proportionate response to what were his politically insensitive – but not racist – remarks.