Evan Harris’s blog on #nuttsacking

On Monday, Helen brought you news from the Guardian of the dispute between Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris and Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

Over the last two days, Dr Harris’s blog has been unmissable as he has been posting details of the correspondence on his blog, along with the consequences.

A fisking of Alan Johnson’s speech in Parliament

I was amazed to hear what the Home Secretary said, under privilege, in parliament about a distinguished scientist and sent Alan Johnson the letter below demanding a retraction and apology.

A fisking of Alan Johnson’s reply

The Home Secretary has now responded to my letter. It is set out below, interwoven with my original letter, and accompanied by comments from me, after consultation with Professor Nutt and Richard Garside

Three more resignations from AMCD

The latest resignations represent a deepening in the crisis of confidence of scientists in the Government – in particular, in the Home Secretary. That they come after Alan Johnson met the ACMD demonstrates that he just doesn’t get it when it comes to the importance of respecting the academic freedom and integrity of independent, unpaid, science advisers.

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12 Comments

  • Andrew Suffield 11th Nov '09 - 11:56am

    My goodness. So in summary: Alan Johnson made the whole thing up. That’s fairly damning.

    Why is every Labour Home Secretary a power-grabbing megalomaniac?

  • And let’s not forget the Tories were 100% backers of Johnson’s position. Cameron ( the drug hypocrite) & Grayling fell over themselves to back David Nutt’s sacking, as did David Davis,supposed right wing libertarian.

    Pathetic. Well done Chris Huhne & Evan Harris & the LibDems.

  • What’s interesting is that the Home Office announced the three resignations before at least one of them had actually resigned.

    Dr Simon Campbell mentioned in an interview on Five Live this morning (about 7.45, for those who want to listen again on iPlayer) that the press release announcing the resignations was issued in the time it took him to travel home from London on the train (which I don’t think was particularly far.) He had decided to resign by then, but hadn’t actually sent the letter or formally informed the Home Office.

    I’m actually surprised that the press / news hasn’t really picked this up in any strong way. Johnson has made some huge errors in his statements here, and is simply getting away with it.

    BTW, has anyone from the party approached David Nutt about becoming an adviser? The day after he resigned, he did more or less issue a “come and get me” invitation during another interview with Five Live (on Drive, I think, with Phil Williams.)

  • KL – yes he said the LibDems were the only grown-up party on drugs & he’d be happy to work with them.

    C’mon Chris Huhne.

  • David Heigham 11th Nov '09 - 6:46pm

    Mark Easton of the BBC has the next installment of the story; the note of Johnson’s meeting with the ACMD members.
    I think that note translates as:

    “The ACMD mebers told Johnson that if he did anything like the way he sacked Nutt again, he could expect to be without advisors; and if they did not get his promise to behave in writing, it would be ‘Goodbye’ immediately. Next, he must sign up to whatever guidelines Beddington and Rees come up with. Further, they would not accept a new Chairman unless they sat in on the selection.

    The Home Secretary agreed.”

  • KL, I think that given the party’s criticism of the Tories hiring Gen. Dannatt as a defence adviser, it might seem hypocritical for us to hire David Nutt as a drugs adviser…

  • Every time I see this headline I think (in a rather juvenile, Finbarr Sanders type way) “sounds a rather unwholesome practice” 🙂

  • Terry Gilbert 12th Nov '09 - 6:13pm

    Why is every Labour Home Secretary a power-grabbing megalomaniac?

    Thanbt’s a bit unfair – I’m old enough to remember Roy Jenkins was quite a liberal Labour Home Secretary! Though its true that was a while ago….

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