The Home Secretary, reporting to the PM, is responsible for MI5.

There are no circumstances, without their permission, in which MI5 would pass to the Speaker a high profile warning about foreign agents active in Parliament.

Nor would MI5, if instructed by them, refuse to./1.
More specifically, if MI5 advised it shouldn’t be done, the Home Secretary/ PM could direct them nonetheless to do so. And MI5 would have to.

If MI5 thought it illegal, they would have to refuse. But that looks irrelevant in the current Chinese agent case. /2.
MI5 “self-actuates”, within its mandate, on much of its work.

Any security expert would tell you it has to be that way, for very good practical reasons.

But not on political matters. Least of all on high profile public announcements. /3.
In short, the decision & timing lie with the Home Secretary & PM.

At which point, we really do have to say “go figure”.

Not about a Chinese espionage threat.

But about the politicisation of, & escalating damage to, UK national security, by an increasingly desperate PM. /4. End

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More from @AndrewPRLevi

14 Jan
If you were truly sorry, @katejosephs, you’d have said this two years ago. And you’d resign. Now.

Your Twitter profile says you’re a “proud public servant”.

The pride many thousands of us have felt, at all levels of seniority, serving our country, is sullied by your misconduct. Image
For anyone thinking this is all a storm in a teacup, or a minor transgression, you’re entitled to your opinion. I strongly disagree with you. Here’s a brief, extra bit of context👇
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
The level of desperation emanating from Downing Street today is off any normal charts.

First MI5 (see short 🧵, attached 👇).

Now HM The Queen.

I’m talking about Prince - no longer HRH - Andrew, of course.

Let’s clear this up, shall we?

Another🧵 /1.
Under the UK’s peculiar constitutional arrangements, The Queen is required (or assumed by convention to be required) to heed, & act on, the advice of her PM.

She is considered, under the same conventions, to have the right to be consulted, to encourage & to warn./2.
In the case of Prince Andrew giving up his military ranks & roles, his patronages & use of “HRH”, that means:

(a) The Queen is required to agree to those steps if the PM advises them

(b) the same goes for the timing

(c) she can’t take them without the PM’s agreement

Read 11 tweets
13 Jan
You have to feel for Sue Gray. She wants to retain her integrity & conscience. There’s only one way. Force out the Prime Minister.

And to do that, she has to be ready ruthlessly to confront him with the fact she’ll resign in a manner devastating to him if he doesn’t go first./1.
She has enough of the receipts already.

By confronting him with the fact they’re with a trusted third party ready for publication if he doesn’t do what she requires, on the spot, he’s cornered.

“Sign this ready-drafted resignation letter, Prime Minister”. /2.
He can try to have her fired, or to ignore her & brazen it out.

If he does, she’ll have her own ready-made resignation issued instantly, alongside the publication of detailed, damning evidence, including multiple breaches of the Ministerial Code. And worse. /3.
Read 8 tweets
12 Jan
Bring your own brain, part 4.

The PM’s parties.

Good grief!

In case you’d like better to understand the Downing Street & Cabinet Office layout, this short 🧵 will, I hope, help. All from the public record, BTW.

First, Google Maps satellite image of the No 10 site. /1.
The red-roofed, L-shaped, mini mansion at the back is part of “No 10”. You can’t see it, or imagine it, from the front door view in Downing Street. The ground floor plan👇is a historic document. Some details of usage, or even non load-bearing walls, may have changed slightly. /2.
Here is the corresponding first floor plan 👇/3.
Read 9 tweets
12 Jan
Bring your own brain, part 2.

My earlier 🧵 addresses the peculiar case of the Downing Street parties👇

That was before PMQs.

Now we know a bit more about Mr Johnson’s defence.

A 🧵 to follow that.

TL;DR only Clouseau would fall for the latest blithering & babbling. /1.
Mr Johnson’s defence appears to be:

- he attended the drinks party

- he didn’t realise it was a drinks party rather than work

- it was work

- the Downing Street garden is private, so it wasn’t work

- the garden is part of the office space, so it was work /2.
Or, any combination of the above. As long as it gets him off the hook.

It’s clear massive misjudgements were made.

By Martin Reynolds, No 10 Principal Private Secretary (a very senior, key official at the centre of govt). It pains me to say so, because I respect him. /3.
Read 13 tweets
12 Jan
Bring your own brain.

Most have no idea what the 10 Downing St set up is. Of course not.

Only a tiny minority of us do, from first hand experience.

I’m going to share a bit with you, because clearly we’re starting to hear a torrent of lies & misdirection.

A 🧵/1.
For years at a time I spent countless hours working in No 10: office work/meetings, conferences, dinners, receptions, having a cup of coffee with colleagues …

The (relatively) modest house you see on the news is just the front. A terraced house. With office space. /2.
The larger part is a small mansion, behind, with a walled garden behind & to the side of that, & containing the Cabinet Room, & numerous handsome rooms, some grand.

The terraced house at the front & the mansion at the back are interconnected. It’s one, integrated entity. /3.
Read 28 tweets

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