Speaker to address Commons over arrest of MP

• Martin acts after Cameron sanctions all-out attack
• Cabinet unease at shadow minister's treatment

Michael Martin, the speaker of the House of Commons, is to make a statement to MPs about the arrest of Damian Green amid Tory suggestions that the parliamentary authorities were misled by the police.

As the former shadow home secretary David Davis prepared to lead an assault on the speaker for breaching parliamentary privilege by allowing the police to search Green's office, Martin announced that he would make a statement on Wednesday when MPs return for the Queen's speech.

"The house will always expect the speaker to inform MPs first," his spokeswoman said. "The speaker will be speaking to the house when the house returns."

The decision to make a statement came as Davis prepared to confront him on Wednesday over the decision by the Commons authorities to allow police to enter the palace of Westminster to search Green's office, seize his computer and disable his email account. Davis is so angry that he was prepared to delay the Queen's speech.

Martin's decision follows Tory claims that he may have been misled by the police. Police were allowed to enter the Commons after reportedly informing Jill Pay, the sergeant at arms, that the director of public prosecutions had sanctioned the arrest of the Conservative MP. This has been denied by theCrown Prosecution Service, which said the DPP, Keir Starmer, had simply been updated by police.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said he feared the authorities may have been misled. "One way of reading the contradictory explanations between the sergeant at arms and what the DPP has said is that the police misled her, and I think that's a very serious issue which needs to be looked into," he told Sky News.

The government responded to the anger on both sides of the house by saying that a review would have to be carried out into the rules governing police access to the Commons.

Harriet Harman, leader of the Commons, told Sky News: "I think the speaker may well want to review the processes by which authorisation is given to search the palace of Westminster. We have to ensure that whilst MPs are not above the law, they are able to get on with their job without unwarranted interference by the law."

Her remarks came as the Tory leader David Cameron sanctioned an all-out assault on the government over the arrest of Green, as the Tories attempt to exploit unease in the cabinet over the treatment of the shadow minister.

Cameron made his decision after a rigorous session with Green convinced him that the Tory immigration spokesman had done nothing wrong.

The aggressive Conservative approach was highlighted yesterday when the Tories accused Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of giving an "extremely unconvincing" account of the incident.

Smith said the police were attempting to uncover a "systematic series of breaches of security". The home secretary, who said she knew about the police investigation but did not know that Green was to be arrested, told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show that it would have been wrong for her to intervene. "I have been very clear that the police should have operational independence, they should be able to pursue investigations in the way in which their professional judgment suggests."

Profile: Christopher Galley

Christopher Galley, 26, the junior Home Office civil servant at the centre of the Damian Green affair, stood as a Conservative council candidate in 2004 and unsuccessfully applied for a job with the party's immigration spokesman, it emerged. Galley, who is now in hiding from journalists, was arrested on November 19. It was reported that he quickly implicated Green and allegedly told police that he had been "induced" to leak the Home Office documents. It was claimed Scotland Yard detectives believe Green was actively engaged in what they alleged may have been a political espionage operation targeting the office of the home secretary, Jacqui Smith. This was supported by Smith's references to the police inquiry examining a "systematic series of leaks" from her department.


Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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