Damian Green speaks to City journalism students

Photo: UK in Italy (Flickr)

Photo: UK in Italy (Flickr)

Damian Green, a Home Office minister until July this year, spoke to City journalism students this morning. Donald Macintyre of The Independent interviewed, before questions were taken from the floor. Here are some of the more notable points made…

Norman Baker’s resignation: “Not a huge blow…he was probably slightly worried about his seat.”

Drug legalisation: “Respectable arguments on both sides.”

Coalition: “Expect Coalition to hold out till polling day…but there’s an election coming up where we’ll be trying to kill each other.”

Home Office: “Left to my own devices I would recreate something like the old Home Office. But it’s not likely to happen.”

Police criticism: “If public attitudes turn negative against them [the police] then things have to change.”

2008 arrest: “The first person to call to help after the arrest was Tony Benn.”

RIPA: “Wasn’t designed for that kind of thing [accessing journalists’ sources].”

Conservatives leaving the EPP: “I wouldn’t have done it, but government to government relations are more important.”

Police commissioners: “A good idea…shame about the turnout. People didn’t know what they were, so haven’t got into the habit of voting. Some are doing really good work.”

Immigration public opinion: “If someone has formed opinions not based on any facts, they’re quite difficult to dislodge.”

2014 re-shuffle: “Not ideological…aged-based.”

European Arrest Warrant: “An extremely useful tool.”

Farage: “Clearly does pose a threat in some seats.”

Greatest threat to democracy: “Terrorism. There is daily anguish at the Home Office how we balance [liberty and security]. It’s both a direct and indirect threat.”

Sturgeon’s ‘veto’: “The UK is the member of the European Union, not its constituent parts.”

EU referendum: “A strong eurosceptic confessed to me last night that he thought Britain would vote to stay in.”

‘Benefit tourism’: “Not a phrase that ever crosses my lips.”

TV debates: “Personally in favour of having the Greens in one.”

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