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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Facebook boasting

FRAUDSTERS stole £30,000 from a Scots businessman after he boasted on Facebook about his wealth.

Thieves targeted the man because he bragged on the friendship website about his luxury car and boat and skiing trips to the USA.

He was sent an email, purporting to be from Facebook, asking him to confirm details such as his name, date of birth and email address. Crooks then raided his bank account.

Police sources believe the man made himself a target by talking about his lifestyle.

The Government and internet security experts fear that up to 11million Britons are putting themselves at risk of identity fraud by putting their personal details online.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said recently: "There are certainly hints that there are people fishing through Facebook and other social network sites to elicit personal information which could go towards identity theft."

And Stephen Trilling, of internet security firm Symantec, warned: "Today's criminal is focused on compromising legitimate websites to launch attacks."

In another recent ID theft case, a young woman from Dumfries was robbed of £3000 after revealing on Bebo that she was going to a school reunion.

A thief posing as one of the victim's old school pals got hold of her date of birth and the password she used on auction website eBay.

Within hours, £3000 had been withdrawn from the woman's bank account.

Extending the 28-days to a 42-day detention

Home Office minister McNulty has called on MPs to back extending detention without charge to 42 days amid growing signs the Government faces a damaging defeat on the issue.

McNulty said concerns over the proposals to upgrade from a 28-day maximum were "reasonable", but they were "proportionate" and would help with complex terrorism trials.

He insisted he was confident about steering the powers through Parliament, and stressed there was no intention of "locking people up and throwing away the key".

"I think (MPs) will buy it," Mr McNulty told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

McNulty, Minister of State for policing, security and community safety, said the longer detention period would be used "utterly sparingly", and Parliament would be required to renew the legislation on a regular basis.

Labour's Whips are believed to have warned Gordon Brown that the Government could be defeated by around 30 votes in the Commons, if there were a debate on the 42 days now, with dozens of backbenchers - and even potentially some ministers - siding with the Tories and Lib Dems.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald is among a number of senior figures - including Security Minister Lord West of Spithead and ex-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith - to have voiced misgivings about the plan.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith sought to bolster support for the proposals on Sunday by stressing the scale of the terrorist threat Britain faces.

Under the measures the Home Office would immediately be able to extend the limit to 42 days if a joint report by a Chief Constable and the Director of Public Prosecutions backed the move.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Harrow Times

McNulty tells the Harrow times about the issues he faces juggling local and governmental duties.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Abu Qatada will not be deported from the UK

McNulty was disappointed as the man, branded Bin Laden's right hand man, will not be deported.

Radical cleric Abu Qatada has been granted permission to appeal against a decision to deport him from the UK.

The government is attempting to deport the terror suspect to Jordan, but his lawyer's argued that he would be killed upon his return.

The Home Office has claimed it will challenge today's ruling and that Mr Qatada will remain in prison in the meantime.

McNulty, Home Office Minister said that he was "disappointed" in the ruling.
"I am disappointed that the courts have found that deportation to Libya can not go ahead for now,"

McNulty said."We will continue to push for deportation for people who pose a risk to national security, in the meantime we will take the necessary steps to protect the public.

"In the meantime, he will remain behind bars."

The controversial Islamic preacher has been referred to as Osama bin Laden's 'right-hand-man' and declared a "truly dangerous individual" and a "key figure" in al-Qaida-related terror activity.

Richard Reid, the failed 'shoe-bomber' and Zacarias Moussaoui, both of whom have been jailed for involvement in terrorism, are claimed to have sought religious advice from Mr Qatada at some stage.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A bit about McNulty

Tony McNulty MP is responsible for:
-The Police Service
-Crime reduction (including violent crime, guns, knives community safety and anti-social behaviour)

He was born in 1958, and was educated at Salvatorian College, Harrow and Stanmore Sixth Form College, before going on to gain a BA (Hons) in Political Theory and Institutions from the University of Liverpool and an MA in Political Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University.

Before becoming an MP, he was Principal Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at the University of North London.

His first Ministerial post was Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister from 2002 to 2003, with responsibility for neighbourhood renewal, housing and planning.

He had previously served as a Whip (member of a the British Parliament, charged by his or her party with enforcing party discipline and ensuring attendance) (1999-2002) following a period as Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Blunkett.

McNulty joined the Department of Transport in June 2003 as Parliamentary Under-Secretary with responsibility for aviation, local transport and London.

He was then promoted to Minister of State with responsibility for rail and London in September 2004.

In May 2005 he became a Home Office Minister with responsibility for immigration, nationality and citizenship.

In May 2006 he was appointed Minister for policing, security and community safety.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Easter vacation

*The Houses of Parliament are in their Easter Recess from 3 April until 21 April 2008*
-so you might catch McNulty in the T5 chaos, or abroad, or even in a cafe as you sip your coffee. Keep a look-out.
Its a bit late for an Easter recess though.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Former Al Qaeda agent faces investigation

A former British Al Qaeda fundraiser and recruiting agent turned anti-terror campaigner, who met McNulty last July to discuss ideas about tackling radicalization, faces police investigation after writing a book about his experiences as a terrorist.

A British Pakistani from Manchester, Hassan Butt, allegedly raised tens of thousands of pounds for terror networks but left Al Qaeda after the London Bombings of July 2005, saying he wanted to wean young people away from terrorism.

“I realised that the jihadi network was not killing for the sake of Islam, it was killing for the sake of causing terror and causing havoc,” Butt said.

Greater Manchester Police have won the right to force an independent journalist who has co-authored a book along with the 27-year-old former jihadist to hand over its draft manuscript and notes.

A court ruled last week that police could seize notes and documents from the journalist, Shiv Malik.

Butt, who used to travel between Pakistan and Britain as a terror agent, claimed the continued investigation threatens his counter-terrorism work and offered to speak to the police.

He said: “I’m saying, put me in prison, that’s fine, but think of the damage you are going to do to the effort to de-radicalise extremist Islam in this country.”

Having left the network in January 2006, Butt is said to have been working with some of his original recruits to wean them away from terror.

“It’s not easy being hunted by jihadis who want to kill you, moderate Muslims who think you have betrayed Islam, and the Manchester police who might want to prosecute me,” Butt said.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Control Orders in the UK

In a written ministerial statement on the 3 April '08, McNulty revealed that there are 11 control orders currently in force in the United Kingdom.

A control order is an order made by the Home Secretary, to restrict an individual's freedom for the purpose of "protecting members of the public from a risk of terrorism". Its definition and power were provided by Parliament in the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.

The latest information the Home Office holds suggests that eight of the individuals currently subject to control orders are currently in receipt of benefits that are administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Some individuals are in receipt of more than one form of the work and pensions administered benefit.
Of these individuals:
-Four receive incapacity benefit (Benefit intended for those below the Pension age who cannot work because of illness or disability)
-Three receive jobseeker's allowance (A form of unemployment benefit that is paid to people who are unemployed and seeking work)
-One receives a disability living allowance (A tax-free benefit for children and adults who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are physically or mentally disabled.)
-Three receive income support (Benefit for those on a low income)
-Two receive child tax credit (Benefit based on the number of children in a family)
-Five controlled individuals are currently living in Home Office provided housing.

This was an attempt to upgrade the government on the operation of the 2005 Terrorism Act.

Shailesh Vara, a North West Cambridgeshire, Conservative had asked McNulty to state how many individuals are subject to control orders; and how many of those are claiming benefits, broken down by type of benefit.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

High Potential Development Scheme for Police

McNulty yesterday released information on the revised Police High Potential Development Scheme.

The High Potential Development Scheme is designed to develop the very best leaders for the police service of the future. It is a performance driven and competency based career development programme which can be tailored to individual needs.

It is designed to develop the future leaders of the police service. On the scheme, police get training, support and opportunities needed to take their police careers to the top. They can achieve senior leadership jobs that need high levels of responsibility and bring comparable financial rewards.
[Derived from the Police Service Recruitment website]

McNulty said: "The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has responsibility for policy, selection and co-ordination for the Police High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS).

"The NPIA has finished a review of the existing HPDS alongside a wider process of developing the future strategy for police leadership that will be relaunched soon."

David Ruffley, from the Conservatives had a query on the 2 April regarding the career structure of police. He had asked McNulty what discussions he has had on the review of the Scheme.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Neighbourhood policing for every community

From the 31 March every community in England and Wales will have a neighbourhood policing team of police officers and Police Community Support Officers in place.
The teams are dedicated to working with their local communities, agreeing priorities for action and informing the public of their progress.
Home Office Policing Minister Tony McNulty visited County Durham Neighbourhood Policing Teams a few days ago. (28th March 08)
McNulty said: "Neighbourhood policing is central to making the police service more citizen focused. It is an integral part of the future of policing and it is what people want."

Sunday, 30 March 2008

McNulty's on YouTube

In charge of the security, counter-terrorism, crime and policing departments, McNulty tells YouTube viewers about the governments' Respect Agenda.
Posted in 2007, it can be viewed at
McNulty talks about how the Agenda attempts to works alongside neighbour hood policing, local councils and communities, reiterating the idea that we live, work and socialise together, and should respect each other.
The preventative work in place, to try and restore Respect, includes improving parenting skills, keeping families together.
McNulty says: 'If young people are going the wrong way' as a last resort anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) are issued.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Policing Debate

McNulty hit back at the a few opposition Conservative members who he claimed, had ‘crossed that line’.

Instead, McNulty put forward a united front. He said: “There is enough to unite us when it comes to crime in London, because it is not going to disappear overnight on anybody's watch.”

The debate, based on policing in London, was on Thursday 27 March.

McNulty congratulated the police forces. He said: “I want to congratulate the Metropolitan police on all the work they do for us in London and Sir Ian Blair on the leadership that he has brought to the success of policing in London.”

With the elections looming, it seems that the parties are neck and neck.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

McNulty alongside Brown in Stevenage

McNulty was spotted with Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Stevenage yesterday, as Brown launched Labour's local election campaign for the May 1st council elections.

At the launch, Brown promised to boost community policing

He said: "What people want to see and what we want to see all over the country is visible policing, policing on the ground, policing where you can see your policeman and woman on the street."

Affordable housing, services for young people and education are also priorities for the PM and he said in the next few years every secondary school across Stevenage will have been refurbished.

What do you Stevenage people think? Possible or impossible?

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Cyber security

In response to an ICT related query by conservative Mark Pritchard, McNulty revealed on the 19th March 2008 the steps that have been adopted to improve cyber security and resilience across the government departments.

McNulty claimed that constant monitoring and upgrading of government networks, including the GSI – the government’s intranet, were measures in place to protect cyber security.

GCHQ (the Government Communications Headquarters) – a British intelligence agency, also provides assurance to the UK government through warnings, alerts and emergency response.

MP attends Hindu Holi Festival

MP Tony McNulty attended a Hindu spring festival celebration on Saturday [22nd March 08], accompanied by Councillor Navin Shah, leader of the Labour Group at Harrow Council, and fellow MP Gareth Thomas.

McNulty said: "We get to celebrate the spring. The weather may not be spring but in peoples hearts it is."

Harrow's Hindu community celebrated the religious festival of Holi Dhamaka at the Shree Kutch Leva Patel Community India Gardens, in West End Road, Northolt, where guests threw coloured powder and dye over one another, ate Indian food and listened to live music.

The festival is based on the story of Holika and Prahalad, who worshipped his God, Vishnu, against the wishes of his father Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap demanded his son say he was superior to God and, when Prahalad refused, he decided to try and kill him. He asked Holika, his sister, who had been made immune to flames by the Gods, to kill Prahalad by sitting with him in a fire. But when she did so her magic powers were taken away and her nephew was saved, while she burned to ashes.

A bonfire was made at the event in celebration of the story and offerings of coconuts, dates and popcorn were put on it.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Tasers to discipline

Back in July 2007, McNulty gave his approval for firearms officers (experienced police officers entitled to carry firearms such as pistols or rifles) to carry Tasers – weapons which stun and pacify a target from a distance.

This was an attempt to reduce the need for officers to carry firearms, but still have some form of defence in violent situations.

Figures revealed by McNulty on 18 March 08 show that Tasers have been used in such circumstances.

McNulty said that figures on Taser use will be published in May, August and November on the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) website.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Recording crime has stepped up a notch

McNulty explained today how changes have been made in recording crime. Thus the term ‘violent crime’ is no longer used; instead figures for the ‘violence against a person’ offence have been developed.

Does the common use of guns, knives even in violence come under the 'violent against the person offence'?

Are the so called ‘violence against a person’ offences a vague, rounded off definition which you have difficulty understanding… just more political jargon to add to the list?

Reworked crime statistics, to adhere to this new type of offence, show that 'violent against the person’ offences recorded by the police in Harrow, dropped between 2005/6 (3,028 offences) and 2006/7 (2,870 offences).

As a Harrow boy, a Harrow girl, or just a Harrow inhabitant, did you feel safer, less likely to be battered, smacked or violently attacked than you did in 2006?

I didn't think so.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The future of Warwickshire bobbies is in his hands

MCNULTY has called Warwickshire county police bosses to Westminster to discuss a possible 12.9% tax increase, to cover the funds for the police’s slice of council tax bills.

If the council tax rise is not accepted, bobbies (policemen) in Warwickshire, among the smallest police force outside of London, may be lost due to inadequate funds.

The showdown will take place on April 2.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Tax money to be put to effective use. Or so we hope.

As a result of allegations that our tax paying money isn't being utilised effectively, Tony McNulty and other MPs will have to submit receipts for all expense claims over £25.
Currently, only receipts for expenses over £250 pounds have to be kept, but from April 1 things will change.
This move stems from the recent discovery that Conservative MP Derek Conway paid his son for office work.
Will this deter MPs from claiming unnecessary expenses?
Let's hope that our tax paying money will be brought to some use.

Monday, 10 March 2008

A rather DOGmatic response

McNulty rejected the proposal to create offences for the ‘grooming’ and ‘radicalisation’ of vulnerable people by terrorists/extremist organisations on the 5 March 2008.

In a response to the request, littered with words often coupled with dogs, by Labour MP for Luton South, Margaret Moran, McNulty said: “There are no current plans for additional legislation to create specific offences of ‘grooming’ and ‘radicalising’.

“The 2006 Terrorism Act introduced offences regarding the encouragement of terrorism which we believe are sufficient in this regard.”

Under the 2006 Terrorism Act, an individual found guilty of an offence for training for terrorism shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or to a fine.

Is this harsh enough though?

And will it do the trick of deterring a similar action in the future?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Parliament at your finger tips.. if you like?

Did you know that from your couch or computer chair, you could be in Parliament at the click of a button? Well not exactly inside Parliament, but near enough.

You can see scripts in the form of an official report of the proceedings and debates of the UK Parliament.

Hansard is the name of this record. Hansard contains a word for word report of all speeches, questions and answers, and statements.

There are separate volumes for the House of Commons and House of Lords.

It takes its name from Luke Hansard who succeeded William Cobbett shortly after he began the reporting of the House of Commons in 1807.

In addition to the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the UK's devolved institutions, a Hansard is maintained for the Parliaments of Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago.

Origins of Hansard

Before 1771, the British Parliament had long been a highly secretive body.

The official record of the actions of the House was publicly available, but there was no such record of debates.

Publishing remarks made in the House became a breach of Parliamentary privilege, punishable by the two Houses.

As more people became interested in parliamentary debates, more individuals published unofficial accounts of parliamentary debates. Editors were at worst subjected to fines.

In 1771 Brass Crosby, who was Mayor of London at the time, brought before him a printer called Miller who dared publish reports of Parliamentary proceedings. He released the man, but he was subsequently ordered to appear before the House to explain his actions. Crosby, when brought to trial several judges refused to hear the case and after protests from the public Crosby was released.

Parliament ceased to punish the publishing of its debates, partly due to the campaigns of John Wilkes on the behalf of free speech.

There then began several attempts to publish reports of debates.
Among the early successes, the Parliamentary Register published by John Almon and John Debrett began in 1775 and ran until 1813.

William Cobbett, a noted radical and publisher began publishing Parliamentary Debates as a supplement to his Political Register in 1802, eventually extending his reach back with the Parliamentary History.
Cobbett's reports were printed by a member of the Hansard family from 1809 and in 1812, with his business suffering, Cobbett sold the Debates to Hansard.
From 1829 the name ‘Hansard’ appeared on the title page of each issue.

So Hansard takes its name from a member of the Hansard family who succeeded William Cobbett shortly after he began the reporting of the House of Commons.
You can view the most recent goings on in Parliament at

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Ban YouTube and similar sites to prevent the internet being used as a tool for terrorism?

To combat terrorism, McNulty is attempting to reduce the potential for the internet to be used by extremist groups.

He is, according to a meeting on the 4th March: “Working with law enforcement and industry partners to target extremist use of the internet and where there is illegal material we are working to remove it.

“Under the Terrorism Act 2000/2006 this includes material that encourages terrorism”

McNulty will be “talking to industry, and those in the community, about what more can be done to protect communities from extremist exploitation of the internet.”

Would an easier option be to ban websites such as YouTube where potentially extremist material can easily be posted i.e. Saddam Hussein’s execution was never broadcast on television but was readily available on YouTube.

Such user generated content is difficult to monitor, and could be used as the basis for a terrorist attack.

Does this mean that all user generated content such as blogging sites and websites where members could easily be recruited or approached, such as Facebook should be removed too?

Are we being given too much freedom to express ourselves, such that it has the potential to damage our own security?

Is McNulty attempting the impossible in trying to track the internet, which is so vast and so readily accessible?

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

MPs declaring the gifts, benefits and hospitality they receive - a step [toward invasion] too far?

Are MPs having their lives invaded upon?

The fact that most of their lives are tracked – their speeches in parliament are posted on the internet and they are often followed by the ever hungry press, suggests that this may be the case.

I mean, most of this blog is based on what I can scramble together from the Internet.

To worsen the matter, even aspects which you could consider ‘social’ or ‘personal’ matters, of the MPs lives are being exposed in the Register of Members' Interests

Reading entries into this makes me feel as if I am spying on McNulty.

As he logs his movement, it’s like your travelling in his back pocket.

For example, on the 5th June 2007, McNulty wrote in the Register of Members' Interests: ‘I received travel, tickets and hospitality for the FA Cup Final in Cardiff in May 2006; tickets and hospitality for the FA Cup semi-final in Birmingham in April 2006, and occasional hospitality and tickets at Upton Park for home games, all as a guest of West Ham United Football Club. (Registered 13 May 2006)’

Thankfully he doesn’t give the exact dates within the months specified, or else I would feel like a stalker-beyond-a-stalker.

Does he not sound like a prisoner as he seems to declare his life to a mere Register?

You can gather from the information posted that McNulty may be a West Ham football club fan.

The Register is apparently not intended to be an indicator of a Member's personal wealth. While it may not indicate McNulty’s personal wealth, the word personal should be given special focus.

To what extent should McNulty be accessible?

Should aspects of his personal life not be kept separate from his working life?

Apparently not.

The compulsory Register of Members' Interests was established in 1974, voted for by the House of Commons.

Please note the word compulsory- it was enforced, so poor McNulty probably has little say in the matter.

MPs are required to declare in the register the sources of any extra income or gifts which they receive so that there can be no suspicion that their behaviour in Parliament is unduly influenced by outside interests.

The purpose of the Register is to encourage transparency. It is "to provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a Member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken in the capacity of a Member of Parliament" (Code of Conduct and Guide to the Rules relating to the Conduct of Members, HC (2005-06) 351, paragraph 9.)

'Entries made in the Register aim to give a clear description of the nature and scope of the interests declared. Subject to the Rules, however, each Member is responsible for the content and style of his or her own entry' – a sign of a wee bit of freedom then?

On a general level, McNulty, according to, voted very strongly against a transparent parliament. Would you not feel like prey if you were McNulty?

The register is published annually and is available for public inspection.
I guess you could argue that seeing as its been around for so long, it’s the status quo, and wont be changed. But then again, is it fair?

Thursday, 28 February 2008

And so we begin...

Consider how concerned the young individuals of the UK today are about politics. You may reach the same conclusion as I did: most are either keen bean, know-it-alls (the people to whom “right winger” may mean something), or not bothered and simply haven’t a clue.

I fall into the latter category.

Almost utterly politically detached from the world around me, this is my attempt to connect with the wise.

Seeing as McNulty, Labour MP for Harrow East, is probably far too busy to blog about what he does, what decision he made a few seconds ago, which votes he gave etc, I will be his secretary and do it on his behalf.

Forget the ‘political talk’ of big words, posh talk and language which is difficult to understand, I will post the most relevant information straight from parliament (via the helping hand of, and from my own research) with McNulty in mind.

Maybe this could be an effective noise maker for mothers dropping their children to school, or even a blog overlooked because its considered ‘boring’ by a fellow politically detached person.

Inept in this world of “politics” I will try to inform the people whom McNulty’s decisions affect.

Doing this should mean that I have better knowledge of political issues.

Also, for those just as clueless as myself, the blog will be accessible via search engines so the true McNulty can be accessed from any home, school, college or organisation.

Recent, perhaps ‘hidden' information will be more readily available, and the ‘fish wrapper mentality’ – the idea that yesterday’s news is good enough for wrapping our fish in today, will be reduced.

I’ll be your personal servant, serving up your political news, hot off the parliament.

Sounds like a plan?