U.K. Lawmaker Will Not Be Charged Over Government Leaks

A British opposition lawmaker who received leaked government information will not be charged with any offense, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said Thursday.

Damian Green, a legislator with the main opposition Conservative Party, was arrested in November over a series of leaks from the Home Office, the country's interior ministry.

The case sparked outrage among lawmakers after police made a rare raid inside Britain's House of Commons to search Green's office. Police are usually forbidden from entering Parliament without the consent of legislators.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there wasn't sufficient evidence to lay charges against Green, his party's spokesman on immigration issues. Christopher Galley, a Home Office employee who was arrested after leaking government papers to Green, also won't face prosecution.

"One of my jobs as Conservative immigration spokesman is to expose the many failings of government immigration policy," Green said, following confirmation of the news. "That is precisely what I was doing in this case and that is why ministers were so embarrassed."

Government officials had called in police to investigate the leaks, which included memos that revealed illegal immigrants had been granted security guard licenses and a document about a case in which an illegal immigrant was employed as a House of Commons cleaner.

Another leaked document was a memo by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith warning the economic downturn could lead to rising crime levels.

Lawmakers on Parliament's Home Affairs Committee said in a report published Thursday that frustration about the leaks may have led government officials to give an "exaggerated impression" of the potential damage the disclosures could cause.

Assistant police commissioner John Yates said officers were told the leaks "potentially involved national security and the impeding of the efficient and effective conduct of government."

Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said that prosecutors had ruled out laying charges against Green or Galley because the leaked information was not secret, did not affect national security, and was of legitimate public interest.

Smith said she had asked for a review on how the investigation was carried out, but defended the decision to call in police.

"Knowing there were a series of leaks and knowing that we deal with some of the most sensitive information in government — about terrorism, about serious and organized crime — it is our responsibility to have that investigated to make sure we protect the information that is sensitive in the same way that we protect the British people," Smith said.