Sources have confirmed to me that Rebekah Brooks is the latest person to be arrested in connection with inquiries in to phone hacking and corruption.
We should always remember that an arrest does not mean someone has done anything wrong - but rather allows people to be formally questioned as per provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 - however, whatever the substance, or lack of it, this will undoubtedly have consequences for the planned Evidence session to John Whittingdale's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Tuesday when Brooks, and the two Murdoch's are due to appear.
I understand that the CMS Committee Members had different views on whether Tuesday's Witnesses should be made to give Evidence under Oath or not, but in my view, this is a total non-issue, since any false Evidence to Parliament is punishable under Contempt provisions - but the CMS Committee, in light of the ongoing and numerous inquiries involved, were and are being advised legally by Clarks.
So what will today's arrest mean for Tuesday's Evidence Session? Well strictly speaking, it shouldn't mean much in terms of Brooks having to appea. Parliament could of course decide that it would be wrong to ask Brooks to appear in the circumstances, but it seems unlikely that Parliament will miss this early opportunity to quiz all three main players in the ongoing saga.
My understanding, through well placed sources is that the CMS Committee were advised legally that any attempt on the part of either of the three Witnesses to refuse to answer on the grounds of multiple inquiries would have been stonewalled by MP's since no arrests had been made.
This has now changed, and with it, in all probability, so has the CMS Committee's ability to insist on uncomfortable answers, at least on the part of Rebekah Brooks.
And so finally, one must look at the timing of today's arrest. It is staggaring that police have chosen now to make today's arrest since they will know that this could impede Parliament's questioning power on Tuesday. A suspicious person might even think that this was the intention - of course I couldn't possibly suggest such an unfortunate line of thinking. One might even think that the Police and Parliament felt they were on different sides here. Interesting!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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