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Theresa May has taken the heat out of Home Office rows

4 November 2013

1:46 PM

4 November 2013

1:46 PM

Theresa May will give a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon on the disappearance of terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed. The Home Secretary has earned a formidable reputation over the past few years for emerging unscathed from a variety of Home Office rows, and Labour has struggled to lay a finger on her.

But this afternoon May will face a grilling from Yvette Cooper over the TPIM arrangements for Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed, and Labour wants to use this incident as a way of claiming that the Home Secretary’s own policy is flawed. Cooper said this morning that ‘given the long-standing concerns about the replacement of control orders, the limitations of TPIMs, and the pressures on monitoring and surveillance, the Home Secretary needs to provide rapid information about the extent and adequacy of the restrictions on Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed and ask the independent reviewer David Anderson to investigate urgently what has happened and the adequacy of the controls and powers in this case’.


Labour is asking two questions. The first is whether the TPIMs themselves are fundamentally flawed, which naturally Cooper wants to argue that they are. But the second is whether the specific TPIM notice in question wasn’t adequate. If that is the case, then it makes it much easier to stop this becoming a bigger row about whether the Home Office has damaged terrorism protection measures with a watered-down response to control orders.

This morning the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that while the priority was to locate this suspect, ‘we need to look at whether there are lessons that we can learn from this’, but that the Prime Minister’s view of TPIMs hadn’t changed. The key for May will be to suggest that if there was anything wrong, it was with the specific arrangements, rather than the overall policy.

But there is something quite extraordinary about the way May survives these rows. She might not be very good at humour in the Chamber, but she is extraordinarily effective on so many other fronts, often to the frustration of those who work below her. Part of her success seems to be down to a desire to micro-manage and to freeze out anyone she doesn’t trust, which is better than letting them mess something up further down the line. I reported that Jeremy Browne was one such victim, immediately untrustworthy because he was a Lib Dem (even though civil servants in his previous department had initially assumed he was a Tory), and while it might frustrate the individual minister, May’s technique does mean she is on top of problems, rather than being hit in the face by a row she didn’t see coming. She is also adept at gathering backbench support and at listening to the worries of those MPs who don’t support her. This means that even when they rebel against something she is introducing, Tory MPs don’t turn on the Home Secretary herself. Many of them are very keen to support her today in just the same way.

This means that May has succeeded in taking the heat out of many of these inevitable Home Office disasters when they come along. Today we’re unlikely to hear anyone (bar John Mann or Dennis Skinner, who both love a good resignation call) calling for her to consider her position.

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Show comments
  • Toby Esterházy

    Theresa May is a member of the “Sisterhood”, who thinks that it is alright for Mohammedan doctors to wear veils in hospitals. She is a secret Leftie all along.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh dear I see the Spotty boots fan club (all one of her) is out cheerleading again. Sadly poor Izzy in one sentence torpedo’s any chances that May should be respected:

    Part of her success seems to be down to a desire to micro-manage and to freeze out anyone she doesn’t trust,

    So May suffers from ‘Gordon Brown syndrome’. Enough said. They shouldn’t let her near the leadership of the Tory Party.

  • crosscop

    And whoever it was it who decided that this Mohammed creature was to be given British citizenship in the first place should be in the dock for treason.

  • James Strong

    ‘she is extaordinarily effective…often to the frustration of those who work below her.’
    I’m sure this is true, and it goes part of the way to explaining why I distrust and despise politicians.
    What sort of person in a junior ministerial role can be frustrated that the boss is effective?
    Only those motivated by self-serving ambition who view possible openings above them with more enthusiasm than the effective implementation of policy.
    I’m sure that most politicians are like that, and I despise most politicians.

  • James Strong

    We have heard many times about the way the RoP has been ‘misinterpreted’. We have heard that most adherents of the RoP want nothing to do with those who ‘misinterpret’ its teachings.
    Yet a man subject to a TPIM can walk into a mosque, disguise himself in women’s clothing and leave and no RoP er in the mosque chose to inform the authorities.
    Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  • futtruytuiuiy

    It is ridiculous we allow terrorist to walk around the UK everyone knows the muslim community has a massive problem and the government refuse to deal with it

    Please sign the Daily Express petition to stop EU
    immigration. Over 21,000 have signed online (thousands more on paper) in less
    than a week.

  • kyalami

    Fascinating that extremist Islamists, who exhibit profound mysoginist tendencies, are prepared to disguise themselves as women when in trouble.

  • Span Ows

    This morning the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that while the priority was to locate this suspect, ‘we need to look at whether there are lessons that we can learn from this’

    arresting and questioning everyone in that Mosque for a start…

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      Banning the burqa in public space.

    • McRobbie

      Maybe closing the mosque as a meeting place as it clearly is inhabited by people who are prepared to assist in illegal protection of terrorists.

  • neotelemachus

    Remind us, if you could, how many suspected terrorists absconded in the first few months of Labtard’s control orders? Also, who was it introduced the HRA into our legislation that makes it so difficult to remove both suspected, and convicted, terrorists. The admirable and redoubtable Ms May need take no lessons from the ladyboy Cooper or any of her lickspittle colleagues on Labtards front, or back, benches.

    • IanH

      … and it was the HRA that meant control orders had to be replaced with TPIMs after court challenges reduced the States ability to restrict those we couldn’t process.

      • neotelemachus

        Currently watching her. She gave Cooper a good, well deserved kicking, followed by Straw. What a star and especially compared to all the idiots in Labtard who preceded her.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Yes I enjoyed watching her smack around that sententious and disingenuous little bore Cooper. Every bit as odious as her loathsome husband little Ed.

          • HookesLaw

            Every bit as loathsome? You think so? I would have said a little bit more. She has some way to go to catch Flint though.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              I think there is now a strong case for adopting a kind of ‘Richter’ scale that grades precisely the utter loathsomeness of each member of Labour’s front bench. Clearly, on a scale of 1-10 Balls and Cooper are both 18s but how would you rate Flint, Reeves, Miliwimp, Hunt etc. This will be difficult work but it will certainly assist the electorate.

              • neotelemachus

                An almost total absense of idiots today. What on earth is going on? I miss them, especially Idiot #1.