Birmingham MP Andrew Mitchell has expressed fury at the treatment of the Conservative colleague arrested in a police leak inquiry.
The shadow cabinet minister and MP for Sutton Coldfield said the arrest of Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green left Jacqui Smith (Lab Redditch), the home secretary, in “a very difficult position”.
Mr Mitchell’s wife, Sharon, was on the telephone to the Green household as the police raid was taking place.
Police detained the Tory immigration spokesman and held him for nine hours last week, while his homes and offices, were searched and documents seized.
Mr Mitchell said: “I was aware he had been arrested before it became public knowledge, because he is a close friend. My wife spoke to his, while four policemen were searching his house and possessions were crated off, and his daughter was in tears. I thought it was incredibly cack-handed of the police to behave in this heavy-handed way, deploying counter-terrorist police to arrest him, when they could well have said they wanted to talk to him and simply arranged a time to see him. The way it was done was completely unnecessary.”
Ms Smith has insisted she knew nothing about the arrest before it took place. But Mr Mitchell said this suggested she had lost control of her department.
“I completely accept that Jacqui Smith is a lady who has good and noble instincts. But if she was not told by her officials what was going on, then that was absolutely appalling.
“Ministers are part of the executive, they are accountable for what happens.
“If there was a culture which says that officials don’t tell ministers, that is terrible – and makes her position very difficult.”
MPs have debated the decision to let police enter Mr Green’s House of Commons offices.
Officers seized computer and telephone equipment.
Michael Martin, the Speaker, last week appeared to lay the blame for what happened at the door of the serjeant at arms, Jill Pay.
But his position was eroded over the weekend when a survey found that of the 90 MPs who responded, 32 said that they had lost confidence in him over his handling of the affair.
At the same time a series of senior figures from across the political spectrum lined up to criticise his failure to stop detectives entering Parliament even though they did not have a search warrant.
The government, at the Speaker’s request, will set up an inquiry. The Liberal Democrats have already said they will boycott it, complaining that it has effectively been “neutered” by ministers.
Ms Smith offered her support for Mr Martin, during a visit to east London. Asked whether the Speaker enjoyed the full support of the government, she said: “Yes.”
Conservative leader David Cameron pointedly said he “wanted” to have confidence in the Speaker.
He said: “I want to have confidence in our Speaker, in the individual in the office.
“But you have to accept that big mistakes were made and we need to see the mistakes corrected, we need to see those mistakes acknowledged.”