Police accuse British government of using terror plot to divert press attention from "cash for honours" scandal.
Police investigating the alleged terrorist plot to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier in Birmingham have accused the UK government of exploiting their operation to divert the press away from the current investigation into the “cash for honours” scandal that has seen British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, interviewed twice by police.
Police sources in the West Midlands said yesterday they suspected the anonymous briefings may have been intended to deflect attention from the prisons crisis and the cash for honours inquiry, while counter-terrorism officials in London told the media that there was concern that the speculation generated is interfering with the investigation by the newly formed Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit.
One counter-terrorism official warned yesterday that "an awful lot of inaccuracies" had begun to appear in the media, to the alarm of West Midlands police. "As a result of some of the speculation, police feel they have been hampered in their evidence gathering," he said.
Paul Snape, vice chair of West Midlands Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: "The police force is asking the question, where did it all come from? There may be political reasons for it, such as what was going on at the Home Office and at Downing Street."
Tayab Ali, a solicitor representing one of the nine suspects, said the Home Office would be guilty of "the clearest hypocrisy and double standards" if it was behind the briefings.
"People in government are quick to complain that those involved in the cash for honours inquiry may not receive a fair trial, but there appears to be no such regard for ordinary criminal suspects or suspected terrorists."