Don’t abuse the civil service

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I wrote yesterday about George Osborne and my suspicion that he was receiving leaked documentation. I did so before knowing of the arrest of Damian Green.

I do not know sufficient of the circumstances of Damian Green's arrest to pass much comment, but I do reiterate what I said yesterday. Many people, including MPs of all parties who are not members of the government, receive information in the course of policy discussion which they are trusted not to use in public debate. If that trust is breached then government becomes more secretive, not less.

And those with a particular viewpoint do on occasion receive information which is sensitive, which the sender did not have authority to disclose. It has happened to me. But, unless the information indicates criminal conduct requiring investigation I think the obligation is quite clear: you do not use what you have received. At least you don't if you respect the process of government and the importance of civil service integrity.

It is not clear that Damian Green does that.

I am not confident that George Osborne does either.