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Reply with quote  #46 

The Times June 17, 2006

Honours row over shooting blunder policeman

A SENIOR police chief facing a disciplinary investigation over his involvement in the aftermath of the shooting dead of an innocent man after the July 7 bombings has been appointed CBE today in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terror chief who receives the honour for services to the police, was also in command of a disastrous raid in East London two weeks ago in which a man was shot and injured, but later released without charge.

Muslim leaders responded with dismay, saying that the timing of the honour was insensitive, coming just two weeks after the raid.

Sher Khan, chairman of the public affairs committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that the Government should have been more sensitive.

“The public are going to look at this and see a man who is responsible for very terrible events being honoured at such a high level and it's going to make a lot of people not very happy.

“The Muslim Council of Britain are trying to make sure there’s good co- ordination between community and police and clearly some people feel the raid was a backward step in that.”

Asad Rehman, chairman of the anti- racist Newham Monitoring Project said that the people of Forest Gate were still waiting for a full apology from Mr Hayman, who this week said sorry for “any hurt caused”.

“Many people in London would be surprised at the timing of this honour,” said Mr Rehman. “It is rather premature, given Andy Hayman is yet to give evidence to the inquiry into the (Jean Charles) de Menezes shooting. There are also many outstanding questions on the Forest Gate raid which I hope he will answer. I think the community of East London will be very shocked when news spreads out.”

The Liberal Democrats said that although the award was planned for some time it should have been postponed. Nick Clegg, the party’s home affairs spokesman, said: “These are exceptional circumstances and there is a case for changing the timing of this honour, given the unprecedented levels of anxiety in some communities, especially in East London.”

But John Denham, Labour chairman of the Commons Home Afffairs Committee, said that the decision to give the honour could have been made many months ago and to withdraw the award would have been very difficult. “Honours at this level of policing are routine and would have been set in train many months ago.”

Several weeks ago the Independent Police Complaints Commission served a Regulation 9 notice on Mr Hayman, which is a formal warning that he is under investigation and might face a disciplinary charge. A source close to Scotland Yard said yesterday that the allegations involve a briefing to journalists on the afternoon of the shooting about the identification of the dead man and his links to terror suspects.

Mr Hayman is said to have impressed the Prime Minister with his handling of the attacks on July 7 and his performance in the Cobra committee called to deal with the emergency.


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Reply with quote  #47 

Hi Magpie... thanks for your post with regards to 'Can Money Buy You Respect', and the article in  relation to 'honours row over shooting blunder policeman'.


I find it absolutely disgraceful that the Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, the Met's anti-terror chief, is to be awarded a CBE.  Quite frankly, I cannot imagine why the aforementioned award is to be given due to the recent events involving Jean Charles de Menezes and the more recent botched raid in London in which an innocent man was shot.  Not to mention that the timing of such an award is, quite frankly, a little sick, and extremely disrespectful to the families of the victims.


But wait a minute... picture the scene.  Here's a prestigious award for you, and in return, you keep your mouth shut, retire gracefully, move on, and keep the probably very substantial pension that we'll provide you with.  That seems the more plausible reason for the awarding of the CBE to a man, who, in my opinion, has not been doing such a great job as the Government seems to think he has been doing. 


As I'm sure the families of the INNOCENT victims won't either.

I'd rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I am not".

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Reply with quote  #48 

Tycoon 'was asked to hide loan'
Sir Gulam Noon
Sir Gulam Noon made a £250,000 loan to the Labour Party
A millionaire businessman has confirmed he was asked to keep a £250,000 loan to the Labour Party a secret.

It comes after The Times reported Sir Gulam Noon was advised by an unnamed senior Labour figure to hide the loan.

However, Sir Gulam declared the cash in his nomination - since withdrawn - for a seat in the Lords.

Police are conducting an ongoing investigation of the Labour and Conservative parties after allegations of so-called "cash-for-peerages".

Interim report

BBC political correspondent Sean Curran said: "Following a report in The Times Sir Gulam Noon, who lent the Labour Party £250,000 in the run up to the last election, confirmed that he was asked to keep his loan secret."

Downing Street and the Labour Party have refused to comment on the reports.

Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates will meet the Commons Public Administration Committee next week to update them on the progress of the police investigation.

MPs have agreed not to interview some of the millionaire businessmen who had made loans to the Labour Party but will publish an interim report next Thursday.

The police investigation was launched after four millionaires who loaned the Labour Party money before the last election - Sir Gulam, Sir David Garrard, Chai Patel and Barry Townsley - were nominated for peerages.

The probe has since been widened to the Conservatives who, like Labour, insist all undeclared loans in last year's general election campaign complied with the rules covering party funding.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #49 


Straw pledges Lords reform vote
There should be a vote on the future make-up of the House of Lords around the "turn of the year", new Commons leader Jack Straw has told MPs.

Mr Straw said the government was about to begin talks with opposition parties about the next stage of Lords reform.

Recent newspaper reports have suggested the Cabinet favours a 60%-elected House of Lords in the reforms.

Most hereditary peers were removed from the Lords in 1999 but 92 were allowed to remain ahead of further changes.

But when seven options for reform - ranging from a fully elected to a fully appointed chamber - were put to MPs and peers, they were all rejected.

'No veto'

Mr Straw was giving evidence to the new committee examining the powers and conventions, but not the composition, of the Lords.

Under a long-standing convention, peers do not vote down government manifesto promises but ministers have complained that the Lords have been more troublesome in recent years.

Mr Straw said there should be an agreement on the Lords' conventions before moving onto arguments about the membership of the Lords.

The Lords must be able to scrutinise legislation effectively "but not to a point where they delay it so much that they are effectively seeking to veto".

Mr Straw, who was moved from foreign secretary to Commons leader in the recent reshuffle, has previously joined Tony Blair is voting for an all-appointed Lords.

But he said that had been in a free vote and he now had new responsibilities to find a solution to the issue.


Mr Straw refused to put a figure on the future mix between appointed and elected peers.

He told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "I cannot say for certain but my own sense is that a mixed elected-appointed chamber... is probably where the consensus of agreement is likely to lie.

"But I'm soothsaying here."

It would mean electing peers in a different way to MPs and phasing in the reforms over time, he suggested.

Labour promised in its manifesto to make the Lords more representative.

Mr Straw said: "If it's possible to avoid partisan disagreements, so much the better in order to get a new constitutional framework established."

He hoped there would be votes on composition around the "turn of the year".

'What's our sin?'

The Conservative Lords leader, Lord Strathclyde, said he looked forward to the free votes on the make-up of the Lords.

But he warned ministers that MPs and peers would resist weakening the Lords' powers "so they can sneak in some sort of elected house with minimal powers that they will be able to control".

Lord McNally, Liberal Democrat leader in the Lords, was also critical of plans to change the Lords' powers.

"I'm still not clear what sin we are guilty of which needs to be put right," he said.

"The government has lost no legislation, there is no manifesto commitment which has been deferred by the House of Lords, and I still don't understand why - other than the convenience of the government machine - why there needs to be changes."

MPs asked to delay honours probe

House of Lords, with peers in their ceremonial dress
                           for the State Opening of Parliament

A committee of MPs has again been asked to delay part of their inquiry into claims peerages were offered in return for loans to political parties.

Scotland Yard's Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates made the request at a Westminster meeting.

The police are worried public committee hearings could unwittingly undermine their inquiry.

Mr Yates said he had made significant progress in the ongoing investigation into the alleged scandal.

This is the second time MPs have been asked to delay the parliamentary inquiry into the allegations.

The Public Administration Committee wanted to interview some of the millionaire businessmen who had made loans to the Labour Party as well as Tony Blair's chief fundraiser, Lord Levy.

But in March they agreed to postpone their inquiry at the request of Scotland Yard.

The BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson said MPs would be concerned about what to do next and he added the prime minister would also be worried.

He said the police have suggested their investigation may not finish until September, which, if correct, "could not be worse" for Mr Blair.

That could mean the investigation is not completed until just before the Labour Party conference, which will be a critical one for Mr Blair, Nick Robinson added.

On Monday evening the MPs met Mr Yates and lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The MPs are taking legal advice and are expected to make a statement on Tuesday.

Proper aim

In a statement Mr Yates said he recognised the "proper aim" of such inquiries but warned: "We are seeking the continued cooperation of all interested parties that their inquiries do not unwittingly undermine the criminal investigation."

Despite the warning, the MPs later decided to press ahead with plans to question Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell on Tuesday.

They will also quiz Lord Stevenson and Lord Hurd, both from the independent Lords appointments commission which voiced concern about some of the Labour lenders nominated for peerages.

Mr Yates said the police had received a wide range of allegations since their inquiry began.

'Worth investigating'

But the investigation remained focused on whether peerages were offered in exchange for loans to political parties or sponsorship of the government's flagship city academies.

"Significant progress has been made in the inquiry to date, although in many ways the investigation is still at a relatively early stage," said Mr Yates.

"A large amount of documentation has been provided to us and it is a major and ongoing task for the investigation team to examine it all.

"We have already identified a number of issues that merit further detailed examination."

The police have interviewed some people under caution and others as witnesses without caution.

Loans rules

Last month, Des Smith, a head teacher from East London was arrested by detectives under the 1925 Abuse of Honours Act which forbids the sale of peerages.

Mr Smith was the first person to be interviewed under caution as part of the inquiry. He was later released on police bail. Mr Smith has categorically denied the allegations and says he will be contesting them vigorously.

Both the police and the MPs launched their inquiries after it emerged that some people who had been nominated for peerages by Tony Blair had given Labour large loans before last year's election.

The investigation has been widened to include loans to the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

The rules on political funding meant that all large political donations had to be declared - but details of large loans did not have to be published.

Lords block assisted dying bill
The progress of a controversial bill which would allow terminally ill people to be helped to die has been blocked by the House of Lords.

Lord Joffe's bill would give doctors the right to prescribe drugs that a terminally ill patient in severe pain could use to end their own life.

But peers backed an amendment to delay the bill by six months by 48 votes.

Lord Joffe said the move was intended to end the debate, but pledged to reintroduce his bill at a later date.

The bill will be back and the campaign has not stopped
Mark Slattery
Dignity in Dying

The government has said it will not block a further hearing of the bill.

Peers had spent the day in a passionate debate on whether or not it was right to allow people who were terminally ill to be given drugs they could then use to end their life.

'Message to the world'

Lord Joffe had told the house that patients should not have to endure unbearable pain "for the good of society as a whole".

The crossbench peer said: "We must find a solution to the unbearable suffering of patients whose needs cannot be met by palliative care."

But Lord Carlile said the bill would end with doctors giving lethal drugs.

The Lib Dem peer said: "Everybody in your Lordships' house knows that those who are moving this bill have the clear intention of it leading to voluntary euthanasia.

"That has always been the aim and it remains the aim now."


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Reply with quote  #50 

Ministers quizzed in donor probe
Lord Sainsbury and Ian McCartney. Photos: PA/Getty Images
The two ministers were not cautioned, say their spokesmen
At least two ministers have been questioned by police as part of the "loans for peerages" inquiry.

Neither Science Minister Lord Sainsbury nor Trade Minister Ian McCartney was cautioned before the questioning, say their spokesmen.

Supermarket millionaire Lord Sainsbury is one of Labour's biggest donors and lent the party £2m before the election.

Mr McCartney was Labour chairman before the election and signed nomination forms for the party's new peers.

He was reportedly in hospital at the time, recovering from a triple heart by-pass operation.

Blair's response

Questioned after talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Tony Blair said he was not going to comment on the ongoing police investigation.

He insisted his work at this weekend's G8 summit in Russia would not be compromised by the inquiries coming close to Downing Street.

Instead, he would concentrate on problems in the Middle East, climate change, and energy security, he told reporters in Downing Street.

Mr McCartney's spokesman said the minister had spoken voluntarily to the police in the past few weeks. He had not gone to a police station and was not interviewed as a suspect, the spokesman added.

It was part of the "process of co-operation" with police, he said.


Lord Sainsbury was cleared of breaching the ministerial code in April after failing to disclose a £2 million loan to the Labour party.

He apologised and said he had confused the loan with a £2m declared donation he had made.

Meanwhile, Labour fundraiser Lord Levy has called his own arrest unnecessary and "entirely theatrical".

Lord Levy, was questioned on Wednesday and Thursday. He denies any wrongdoing.

Police are investigating all the main parties to see whether people have been given honours in return for making financial donations.

Blair interview?

The investigation was launched after it emerged that some people nominated for peerages by Prime Minister Tony Blair had given large secret loans to Labour last year.

All concerned deny any wrongdoing. The rules on political funding meant that loans on commercial terms did not need to be disclosed publicly.

On Thursday, Met Police deputy assistant commissioner John Yates privately told the Commons public administration committee his team had so far questioned 48 people, 13 of them under caution as part of the investigation.

Committee chairman Tony Wright told journalists he thought Mr Yates "would not baulk at interviewing anyone else".

That has increased speculation that police could investigate Prime Minister Tony Blair.

A Labour Party spokeswoman would not say whether other ministers had been questioned.

She said: "The Labour Party has and will continue to co-operate fully with this police investigation, and because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, we will not be commenting further."

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #51 

Times Online July 12, 2006

Lord Levy and Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, during talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in June at the Savoy Hotel (Gill Allen/The Times)

Lord Levy defiant after cash-for-honours arrest

Times Online logo
They will be in meltdown in Downing Street this afternoon. Lord Levy is personally identified with the Prime Minister. He bankrolled him, is his Middle East envoy and tennis partner
Andrew Pierce, The Times
arrow Read analysis in full

Lord Levy, the Labour fundraiser and one of the Prime Minister's closest allies, has been arrested and questioned over the cash-for-honours scandal.

The peer was held this morning by Scotland Yard detectives investigating claims that wealthy donors were asked to lend rather than donate money to the Labour Party and were then recommended for honours.

He was bailed this evening, after more than six hours in custody. Lawyers for the peer tonight issued a statement saying that Lord Levy had denied any wrongdoing, and accusing the police of using their arrest powers "totally unnecessarily".

"Lord Levy has made it clear that he is ready at all times to co-operate with the police investigation," said the statement.

"He therefore complied with a request to attend today at a police station where the police used their arrest powers, totally unnecessarily, apparently in order to gain access to documents that Lord Levy would quite willingly have provided without this device.

"He has not been charged and does not expect to be, as he has committed no offence. He vigorously denies any wrongdoing."

The arrest follows allegations - first revealed in The Times on Saturday - that a senior Labour Party figure told Sir Gulam Noon he did not need to inform the committee vetting his Lords nomination about a £250,000 loan to the Labour party. The BBC has since identified the Labour figure giving the advice as Lord Levy.

He allegedly offered the advice to the Indian food entrepreneur in a telephone conversation last October, after Sir Gulam had declared the loan in papers to the committee.

Sir Gulam subsequently retrieved the papers from Downing Street and submitted them again without mentioning the loan. His peerage was later blocked when the loan came to light.

The businessman says that he had "done nothing wrong" and maintains that he had declared the loan in his nomination papers.

Lord Levy plays tennis with Tony Blair and is also Mr Blair's special envoy to the Middle East.

He is nicknamed Lord Cashpoint for his central role in raising funds for Labour, a role at the centre of allegations that major Labour financial backers were rewarded with nominations for peerages and other honours - something the party strongly denies.

Police have asked two parliamentary committees to postpone evidence sessions with the peer in order to avoid prejudicing their own inquiries.

Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party, which reported its concerns over cash-for-honours allegations to the police, said: "The water is lapping up the beach, it's round the ankles of the Prime Minister.

"This is Tony Blair's personal friend, bagman and fundraiser. I think we can say that Tony Blair's personal pack of cards is starting to tumble down."

David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said that the arrest meant that the Prime Minister himself would almost certainly have to be interviewed by detectives.

"I’m quite sure Scotland Yard will have to question Tony Blair because he is at the top of the honours process," said Mr Davis. "The police are clearly taking this seriously, quite properly in my view. It must be pretty worrying for the top ranks of the Labour Party."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "The Labour Party has and will continue to cooperate fully with this police investigation, and because of the ongoing nature of the investigation we will not be commenting further."

The high profile investigation is being led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, one of Scotland Yard’s most senior detectives. The force has said it hopes to make an initial submission to the Crown Prosecution Service on the allegations this autumn.

Scotland Yard said that a man was asked by officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate - which is responsible for the cash-for-honours inquiry - to attend a Central London police station this morning.

A police spokesman said: "Officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate requested a man to attend a London Police Station this morning where he was arrested in connection with alleged offences under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 and Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 2000."



The Times July 14, 2006

Looming date with police overshadows Blair's holiday

Sources tell The Times that the Prime Minister will be questioned about 'cash for peerages'

TONY BLAIR will fly off on his summer holiday knowing that on his return he will be the first serving British prime minister to be interviewed by police in a corruption investigation.

Downing Street publicly denied again yesterday having been given any indication that the Prime Minister would be interviewed by the Scotland Yard team of detectives leading the cash-for-peerages inquiry. But The Times has learnt that Mr Blair and Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff, will be interviewed over the summer before the party conference at which his leadership was already certain to be an issue.

They will be questioned about what they knew of peerages that were offered to four millionaires who lent more than £5 million to the Labour Party before last year’s general election.

They will also be asked whether they knew that the curry magnate Sir Gulam Noon was asked not to declare his £250,000 loan to the House of Lords appointments watchdog and whether the terms of the loans were changed this March.

The last occupant of Downing Street to be interviewed in a corruption inquiry was David Lloyd George in the 1920s. His sale of peerages led to the 1925 Act that makes it an offence to offer honours for cash.

Other key Labour figures to be questioned include Matt Carter, who was party general secretary at the time that the loans were negotiated, and Ruth Turner, the Downing Street director of government relations, who visited Ian McCartney, who was then chairman of the party, in hospital around the time that he signed peerage nomination forms confirming that the candidates had no financial links with Labour.

Lord Levy, the personal fundraiser of the Prime Minister, was interviewed again yesterday by officers at a North London police station.

While he was being questioned the police officer leading the inquiry was briefing MPs about the state of his investigation. John Yates, an assistant deputy commissioner at Scotland Yard, revealed to the Public Administration Committee in a private session that 48 people had been questioned, 13 under caution, the majority of them Conservatives.

Three Labour donors have declined to be questioned. The Times has learnt that one of them was the clothing tycoon Richard Caring, who is worth £300 million. Mr Caring, who lent the party £2 million, is the owner of The Ivy, the fashionable London restaurant.

In a statement Lord Levy, whose questioning by the police was cut short on Wednesday after the police station was evacuated because of a nearby fire, indicated his continuing anger at the arrest. The statement said: “Lord Levy remains deeply disappointed that the police decided that they should use their powers of arrest for the meeting.

“Lord Levy has always been ready and willing to co-operate and to meet the police at any time of their choosing. He has always been only too willing, also, to provide the police with any documents that they might have needed, and he continues to do so.

“This underlines that the arrest was unnecessary, disproportionate and, as has been described by others, entirely theatrical. The only result has been a media circus, which has distracted from the issues under consideration. We hope the police will concentrate on the investigation and bring it to a swift conclusion.”

But Whitehall sources have told The Times that Lord Levy had been arrested because of a failure of senior party officials to disclose correspondence relating to the secret loans from wealthy businessmen in 2005.

The arrest was deemed necessary to ensure that certain questions arising from missing documentation would be answered, the source added. “His arrest by no means means that he will be charged. It just ensures that the process of law will take place smoothly,” said the source. “There has been a distinct lack of transparency. It appears that the voluntary process has not worked.”

The Prime Minister will be spared the political embarrassment of the interview, with Mr Yates taking place in Downing Street. It will be held either in Mr Blair’s Commons office or an alternative premises.

The timing has uncomfortable echoes of the summer of 2003 when, within days of returning from a family holiday in the Caribbean, Mr Blair was interviewed in the Hutton inquiry into the death of the government scientist David Kelly.

The questioning of Mr Powell will maintain the pressure on Downing Street as he is the longest-serving and most trusted adviser of Mr Blair, with longstanding links to Lord Levy. The two men set up and managed the blind trust that funded Mr Blair’s private office in opposition. The use of “blind trusts” for political purposes was in effect outlawed in 2001 after it was revealed that they had been used to channel millions of pounds into the private office without the identities of rich benefactors being disclosed.


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Reply with quote  #52 

Downing Street panics as Levy points finger at Blair...

DOWNING Street was last night plunged into panic amid claims Lord Levy had pointed the finger of suspicion at Tony Blair following his arrest over the 'cash-for-peerages' inquiry.

In an emergency summit with party chairman Hazel Blears following his arrest last week, Levy insisted he would tell everything he knew about Labour's secret loans operation, even if his revelations propelled the Prime Minister further into the spotlight.


Scotland on Sunday understands Levy's police statements will make clear Blair was central to the campaign to secure multi-million-pound loans from supporters, and that he was well aware the transactions could look politically questionable.

The party hierarchy is now terrified Levy's evidence will bolster attempts to establish a crucial link between the operation to sign up 10 secret loans worth £14m for party coffers, and the decision to nominate four of the lenders as Labour peers.

Levy's response last night ratcheted up the pressure on Blair as he faced attacks from all sides over his role in the affair.

But Labour maintained there was still no suggestion that the Prime Minister or any other party figure was involved in criminality, specifically the award of honours, in return for cash.

"There is a high degree of panic," one senior Labour insider conceded of the reaction to Levy's conversation with Blears, the day after his second visit to Colindale police station in north London. "Michael cannot be expected to do anything but tell the truth.

"We understand he went through the process by which the loans were decided upon, who arranged them and what the motivation was. There was some unease about taking loans instead of donations and I understand he covered that.

"The very strong feeling in the party is that no one has done anything wrong, but the thought of him giving every cough and spit is unsettling."

Reports of Levy's response to police questioning come four months after a Blair confidant insisted the Prime Minister had known all about the loans operation but authorised it in an attempt to save the party from bankruptcy. Blair is expected to be interviewed by Metropolitan Police within the next month.

The police investigation exploded into life with Levy's arrest on Wednesday, and the subsequent revelation that 48 people, including at least two ministers, had been interviewed during inquiries so far.

The net closed tighter around Blair last night when it emerged that the former head of Labour's "High Value Donors Unit", dedicated to attracting wealthy supporters to the party, had also been questioned.

Nick Bowes sparked alarm at Labour headquarters when he said: "The whole peerages thing is corrupt. It is still one of the biggest forms of patronage in the hands of the PM."

The Prime Minister is expected to launch a counter-offensive against his critics when he gives a live interview to the BBC's Politics Programme, live from the G8 summit in St Petersburg later today.

In another interview due to be broadcast today, former deputy Labour leader Roy Hattersley will urge the Prime Minister to resign in September.

Related topics


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Reply with quote  #53 

'Hackney Boy' Lord Levy:"I won't be cash-for-honours fall guy"


So who is Lord Levy?



Lord Levy: Labour's fundraiser
Lord Levy at No 10 Downing Street
Lord Levy says he and the prime minister are "like brothers"
The Commons public administration committee is to ask chief Labour fundraiser Lord Levy to answer questions on his role in arranging unpublicised loans of millions of pounds from businessmen nominated for peerages.

Born in rundown Hackney, east London, to immigrant parents of modest means, Lord Levy now lives in a mansion in Totteridge, north London, complete with swimming pool and tennis courts.

But Michael Abraham Levy, now 61, has never forgotten his working-class Jewish roots or lifelong commitment to the Labour Party.

Educated at Fleetwood primary school, where he was head boy, and Hackney Downs grammar school, he went on to become an accountant.

But he made his money as an impresario in the 1960s and 1970s, managing singers including Alvin Stardust and Chris Rea, and as the founder of Magnet Records who gave the public Bad Manners.

Having sold the company to Warner Bros for £10m, he met Tony Blair at an Israeli diplomatic dinner in 1994, the year he became Labour leader.

Alvin Stardust on Top of the Pops
Lord Levy made his money managing Alvin Stardust

The two soon became tennis partners, and Mr Blair made him a life peer - Baron Levy of Mill Hill - after Labour's landslide election victory in 1997.

Lord Levy has told David Osler, the author of Labour Party plc: New Labour as a Party of Business, he and Mr Blair, are "like brothers".

In 2000, the prime minister made Lord Levy his personal envoy to the Middle East, with an office inside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The same year, the multi-millionaire came under fire when it was revealed he had only paid £5,000 in tax during the financial year 1998-99 - equivalent to that paid on a salary of £21,000.

Lord Levy told BBC News: "Over the years I have paid many millions of tax. And, if you average it, each year it comes to many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

'Lord Cashpoint'

"In that particular year, I was giving my time to the Labour Party and the voluntary sector, and I just lived off of capital."

Lord Levy also hit the headlines as the Labour Party's chief fundraiser - or, as the press dubbed him, "Lord Cashpoint".

Many of those he tapped for money were not Labour supporters and they were often highly controversial.

It was Lord Levy who secured the £1m donation to Labour from Formula One millionaire Bernie Ecclestone.

The money was repaid by the party to avoid accusations that it had been used to "buy" policies.

Lord Levy lives in a mansion in Totteridge, north London, complete with swimming pool and tennis courts
He will invite people to his home and maybe invite them to play tennis on his private tennis court and say, 'Well, Tony might just turn up'
Labour Party plc New Labour as a Party of Business author David Osler

Dr Henry Drucker, whose company Oxford Philanthropic was brought in by the Labour Party to advise on gaining large corporate donations, told the Guardian about a meeting at Lord Levy's mansion.

Apologising for not offering him a cup of coffee, Lord Levy had said: "I'm afraid you'll have to do without as none of the servants are about, and I don't know how to work the machine myself," Dr Drucker told the Guardian.

But potential donors received more lavish hospitality.

Mr Osler told BBC News how Lord Levy used "charm and schmooze" to secure donations.

"Lord Levy is famously a very good host. He will invite people round for dinner.

"He will invite people to his home and maybe invite them to play tennis on his private tennis court and say, 'Well, Tony might just turn up'.

"Tony does turn up, they play a round of tennis, Tony leaves.

"Twenty minutes later, he will be sweet-talking them into making a donation, and many people are only too happy to cough up."

Not all visitors to his home are as amenable, though. In 2003, Lord Levy was hit over the head with a shovel and handcuffed by burglars who escaped with cash and jewellery.

Jewish charities

Currently president of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Lord Levy has said he will stop fundraising for Labour when Tony Blair goes.

He now thinks political parties should be funded by the state.

The peer has also worked for Jewish charities, consolidating several into Jewish Care.

He and his wife Gilda have a son, Daniel, who used to work for former Israeli justice minister Yossi Beilin, and a daughter.



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Reply with quote  #54 

Even if this arrest does not lead to a prosecution, let alone a conviction

(and I am still willing to wager that it will not), it is a development

that transforms a murky affair that much of the public probably

regarded as business as usual.


(“Affluence buys influence. So what? Always has, always will.

They’re all the same”) into a new category of story.


There were comparisons made yesterday with the Watergate scandal,

which drove Richard Nixon from the Oval Office.


In one sense, this is ludicrous: Watergate was a third-rate burglary.

Lord Levy, it is implied, may be linked to a third-rate bribe.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #55 

'Want to be a Labour peer? £1m should swing it'
By George Jones, Political Editor, Telegraph

(Filed: 21/07/2006)

A peerage costs an average of £1 million in donations or loans to the Labour Party, but a contribution of just £50,000 brings a 50-50 chance of receiving an honour, according to a study published today.

More than half the individuals who have given more than £50,000 to the Labour Party have received an honour.

The study, published by the Bow Group, a centre-Right think-tank, shows that large Labour donors are more than 1,000 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor, and nearly 7,000 times more likely to get a peerage.

The detailed analysis of the link between donations to Labour and the award of honours has been sent to John Yates, the Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, who is in charge of Scotland Yard's "cash for peerages" investigation.

Chris Philp, a former Bow Group chairman, analysed all donations over £50,000 to Labour since 2001, which he found showed that a knighthood "cost" £750,000 and a CBE £675,000, while the average for a peerage was £1,065,000.

His survey suggested that gaining a seat in the House of Lords is cheaper than it was in 1922, when Lloyd George, the former Liberal prime minister, was selling honours.

Then, becoming a lord cost £50,000 or £1.9 million in today's prices. But other honours are more expensive - a knighthood costs £747,683 compared to £15,000 (£571,923) in the 1920s.

Most donors awarded or nominated for peerages over the past five years gave between £1 million and £2 million.

Mr Philp accused Labour of a "blatant abuse" of the honours system. "Large Labour donors are 1,657 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor and 6,969 times more likely to receive a peerage," he said.

Statistical analysis showed that 58.54 per cent of all donors giving more than £50,000 to Labour received an honour, compared to just 0.035 per cent of non-donors.

"It is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Labour Party has been selling honours, including places in the House of Lords," he said.

In future, conferring honours should be handled by an independent commission for honours, which should not include any current or former politicians or anyone who had donated more than £5,000 to any political party, he said.

All financial transactions by individuals or companies to the value of more than £5,000 of any nature should be disclosed by those nominated for honours.

This should include loans or benefits in kind, Mr Philp added.

Tony Blair, who is expected to be questioned by the police next month, has denied that the Labour Party has sold honours. But he has stressed that he is entitled to nominate Labour supporters as "working peers" to bolster his party's representation in the Lords - and that people who donated money should not be barred from receiving peerages.

Lord Levy, Mr Blair's chief fundraiser, has already been arrested and questioned by police. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing. The police are expected to present their report to the Crown Prosecution Service in October.

Fresh questions were raised yesterday about the role of Lord Levy in the honours system after it was disclosed that his former secretary was awarded the MBE for working for charities he heads.

Norman Lamb, the chief of staff to the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, wrote to the Cabinet Office demanding to know whether Jean Cobb received "preferential treatment" when she received the award in the Birthday Honours of June 2002 for services to charity.

Mr Lamb questioned whether the work she performed merited such recognition. He demanded to know who put her name forward for the honour, after Channel 4 News reported last night that the nomination came from Lord Levy personally.

Mrs Cobb said she understood that her MBE was in recognition of her work with three charities headed by Lord Levy - Jewish Care, Jewish Free School and Community Service Volunteers.

At the time Mrs Cobb received the MBE, nominations for Birthday Honours were presented to the Queen after being approved by the Prime Minister. Since then, the Prime Minister has been removed from the process and a committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary is responsible for putting forward a list to Buckingham Palace.

16 July 2006: The key figures
15 July 2006[Opinion]: No nods, no winks - just pure spivvery
13 July 2006: Cash for honours scandal reaches No.10
13 July 2006: MPs condemn Blair's peerages for donations


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Pete Lacey






I don't want Government anywhere near the Internet. They will screw it up, tie it up and charge us more for it. It must be kept as near free from interference as possible. There are enough anti-hackers to suppress the morons and criminals that 'piss us off'. I agree they are not terrorists they are inconvenient annoyances. Peers should not labour the word to get funding. Try sorting out their own business not ours.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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The Times July 24, 2006

Cash-for-peerages inquiry puts Blair interview on hold

POLICE are expected to postpone plans to interview the Prime Minister over “cash for honours” allegations because Lord Levy has refused to answer their questions.

Detectives, who had hoped to interview Tony Blair by the end of September, could stall their plans because Lord Levy has read them a written statement and said “no comment” when they probed further.

As a result, Whitehall sources claimed yesterday that plans to interview Mr Blair by the end of September could be put on hold, forcing the cost of the inquiry to spiral.

The disclosure will prompt speculation that Downing Street or the Labour Party may be behind the stalling tactic, hoping that the police inquiry will shudder to a halt.

A senior Whitehall source said that the police could not proceed quickly without Lord Levy’s responses. “Lord Levy’s decision to take up a ‘no comment’ position has put police in a difficult place,” the source said. “The cost of the investigation will inevitably climb because they will have to seek other ways of obtaining information they believe he has access to.

“They hoped to interview the Prime Minister before Labour’s conference, but that will almost certainly be changed now,” the source added.

Police arrested Lord Levy 12 days ago, when he was questioned at a North London police station. They searched his London home and seized documents and computer files. He was quizzed by officers over his role in securing £14 million in loans for Labour from four millionaire donors who had been recommended for peerages.

The source said that Lord Levy, who is also the Prime Minister’s tennis partner, “read from a prepared statement and then said ‘no comment’ to everything he was asked”.

The Times revealed 16 days ago that Sir Gulam Noon had been asked by a Labour official to hide a £250,000 loan to the party by omitting details from an official House of Lords nomination form. Two days later, it emerged that Lord Levy was that official. Two days after that, he was arrested.

Lord Levy denies any wrongdoing in his efforts to raise money for Labour. His spokesman yesterday declined to comment because of the on-going police inquiry.

Prosecution sources have previously said that detectives planned to interview Mr Blair before the political conference season, and his closest advisers concede that after the arrest of Lord Levy, an interview is inevitable. Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s chief of staff and longest-serving adviser, is expecting to be interviewed at the same time.

The Prime Minister’s supporters had hoped that the conference in Manchester would help to drive up the party’s sluggish opinion poll ratings. “The last thing we need is for police to turn up and to question us just as we are returning to Westminster,” one official said.

MPs loyal to Mr Blair are eager to portray the arrest of Lord Levy as a theatrical stunt. They fear there will be a temptation for the police to stage a similar event with the Prime Minister.

The Tories may also face a police investigation over allegations that they secretly banked a “soft” loan provided below bank interest rates, it emerged yesterday.

A company controlled by Malcolm Scott, a treasurer for the Scottish Tories, loaned £200,000 to the party with interest payable at a quarter of 1 per cent per annum.

Legislation introduced in 2001 states that any loans not on commercial terms are deemed gifts and must be publicly declared to the Electoral Commission.


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THE Tories are facing the threat of prosecution over allegations that they secretly banked a “soft” loan provided below bank rates in breach of electoral laws.

The party also received loans from other supporters who did not expect them to be repaid as they would be converted into donations — another potential breach of the law.

The disclosures come as police investigate allegations that both the Tories and Labour secretly borrowed money that was not provided on a commercial basis. Officials admit that the Conservatives have received up to 150 loans.

Legislation introduced in 2001 states that any loans not on commercial terms are deemed gifts and must be publicly declared to the Electoral Commission, the watchdog for party funding. Failure to make the necessary declarations is a criminal offence carrying a maximum prison sentence of one year or an unlimited fine.

Police launched their inquiry after The Sunday Times revealed in March that Labour had secretly taken loans from four businessmen who were then nominated for peerages by Downing Street.

After Labour complaints over the arrest of Lord Levy, its chief fundraiser, earlier this month, police were keen to point out that of the 48 people so far interviewed, more than half were Tories. If charges are now laid against the Tories, it is likely to increase pressure for similar action against Labour.

According to new evidence, a firm controlled by businessman Malcolm Scott, a treasurer for the Scottish Tories, loaned £200,000 to the Conservatives last year with interest paid at less than the Bank of England base rate.

Accounts for the firm, Philip Wilson Grain, show that it “made a non-trading loan of £200,000 which bears interest at base rate less one quarter of one per cent per annum and is repayable on 1 May 2010”.

The accounts do not disclose to whom the loan was made. However, after the cash for honours scandal broke, the Conservatives came under pressure to disclose the details of its financial backers and lenders.

In the party’s statement in March, it said it had received a donation of £210,000 from Philip Wilson Grain, which was reported as a gift that included money converted from a loan.

The Electoral Commission says the “overall test” that parties should use to determine whether a loan is commercial is the “extent to which similar terms would have been available at the time of the loan from a commercial lender”. Commercial unsecured loans being offered at the time by the main banks all had rates at least 1% above the base rate.

Lord Harris, a carpet millionaire worth £285m, converted a £200,000 loan into a donation which was declared by the party after the cash for peerages scandal became public. Harris is one of David Cameron’s biggest financial backers who was also a party treasurer ennobled under John Major.

Last week he said: “My loans are not really loans, they are donations and I just convert them.”

Parties are also advised that a loan should be declared if it is made “under the clear understanding that it may be converted into a donation at a later stage”.

Harris said that the loan had a rate of interest equal to the base rate which was “added to the loan”. Such a deal may not be regarded as commercial as it would not normally be offered by a bank.

Official party declarations do not reveal that Harris converted his loan to a donation after Cameron was elected leader last December — or a previous £525,000 loan, which may have been converted in 2001 before new disclosure laws were introduced. Harris’s £200,000 loan was disclosed as a donation only on March 31 this year after the Tories revealed details of all financial backers.

The party is understood to have been receiving loans for more than a decade and there is no suggestion that the lenders have broken any laws.

Yesterday a Tory spokesman declined to comment on the detail of individual loans but said: “There has been conflicting advice over the years as to what ‘commercial’ applies to; whether a loan has to be commercial just for the lender or for the borrower as well. One per cent below base rate is commercial for the lender: it’s more than he could get if he deposits it at the bank. The act refers to commercial terms, not rates.”


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Hi All... thanks for your posts with regards to 'Can Money Buy You Respect'.  The scandal that continues to go on within our very own Government never ceases to amaze me.  The mere fact that they also seem to get away with it, is perhaps more of an amazement, until I remember that they are our Government - the leaders of our country.  And can therefore do what the hell they like.  Or so it would seem.


Money can buy you lots of things - the best cars, the biggest houses, the best clothes, but I have always firmly believed that there are some things that even money couldn't buy.  Like respect, for example.


How bloody wrong I was.  For an average (albeit financially unchallenged) person, I still maintain that money cannot buy you respect.  On the other hand, if you are part of the Government, I believe that money can indeed buy you respect, as well as unlimited Jaguars, immunity from prosecution for smacking innocent bystanders in the face and bits on the side, however unattractive they may/may not be.  Delete as you find appropriate...


Look at John Prescott for example, and his latest exploits, and still Tony Blair refuses to launch an investigation.    Democracy?  I don't think so.


Police investigate Prescott claim
John Prescott
Scotland Yard is examining whether John Prescott broke the law
Claims John Prescott could have broken anti-corruption laws by staying on US billionaire Philip Anschutz's ranch are being investigated by Scotland Yard.

The deputy prime minister may have breached the 1906 and 1916 Prevention of Corruption Acts by accepting hospitality from Mr Anschutz.

The American was bidding to turn the Millennium Dome into a 'super casino'.

The allegation is understood to have been made by the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker.

The law states ministers should not accept "hospitality or consideration received from a person or organisation which has obtained or is trying to obtain an official contract".

Mr Prescott has already fallen foul of Parliamentary watchdogs for not immediately declaring his overnight stay at Mr Anschutz's Colorado ranch last July.

MPs on the Standards and Privileges Committee also expressed the view that he had breached the Ministerial Code, but Prime Minister Tony Blair decided not to launch an investigation.

The Deputy Prime Minister has denied having any involvement in licences or planning issues for super casinos.

A Met spokesman said: "We have received an allegation of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1906 and 1916, and we are considering its content."

I'd rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I am not".

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Hezbollah's £80m aid...

VERY much intact, despite being pummelled for five weeks, Hezbollah yesterday moved to entrench its popularity in Lebanon by handing out bundles of cash to people whose homes had been wrecked by Israeli bombing during the war that ended on Monday.

Hezbollah's move came as an embarrassment to the Lebanese government, which has yet to mount similar reconstruction efforts, and it dealt a blow to Israeli hopes that the Iranian-backed Shiite fundamentalist group would lose public support and be blamed for triggering the war and devastation because of its kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.


One man who lost his home, Ayman Jaber, held a wad he had just picked up from Hezbollah officials of their standard payment, $12,000 (£6,333) in US banknotes. "This is a very, very reasonable amount," he said. "It is not small."

Hundreds of residents of the southern suburbs of Beirut, the area known as Dahiyeh, turned out at makeshift registration centres to sign up for the aid. Hezbollah members called people by phone to come and collect their money.

At the Shahed school, a poster of the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with the words "Congratulations on the victory" adorned the wall of one classroom.

A Hezbollah official said 900 people had been compensated so far, adding that he expected thousands more to come forward in the next few days.

There were some complaints from those whose homes were demolished that the money was not sufficient.

Hezbollah has not said where the funds are coming from to compensate people from an estimated 15,000 destroyed homes. The scheme appears likely to cost at least £80 million and speculation is pointing to the movement's traditional backer, Iran, as the source.

Lebanon's reconstruction chief, Al Fadl Shalaq, yesterday said Israeli bombardment had inflicted a "disastrous" £1.9 billion-worth of damage on Lebanon, from which it would take years to recover. Mr Shalaq, head of the council for development and reconstruction, said the devastation exceeded that caused by the 1975-90 civil war.

More than 1,000 Lebanese, most of them civilians, and 157 Israelis died in the fighting.

In southern Lebanon, 29 people, including children who were killed in an Israeli airstrike on 30 July, were buried during a mass funeral in Qana village. "These people are heroes, they woke up the world," a banner proclaimed.

Meanwhile, the plan of Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, to unilaterally withdraw settlers from parts of the West Bank, while annexing large settlements there, became the latest casualty of the war, with Israeli media reports saying he had dropped the idea because he could not sell it to the public.

Many Israelis are blaming the army's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, which allowed Hezbollah to build up its strength, for the rocket barrage that paralysed life in the north of the country. Haaretz newspaper quoted Mr Olmert as saying it was no longer "serious" to talk about the withdrawal.

Mr Olmert's dropping of the West Bank plan creates a political vacuum likely to be exploited by Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the hard-line Likud party.

Israeli drones and warplanes crisscrossed above Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley last night near the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek. They said there had been anti-aircraft fire to drive off the aircraft but no weapons fired by Israeli aircraft.

Lebanese army troops yesterday also moved to the Israeli border a day after they took positions south of the Litani River for the first time since 1969. In keeping with UN security council resolution 1701, passed last Friday, 15,000 Lebanese troops are to be joined by 15,000 UN peacekeepers to form a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah.

However, hopes of forming a strong UN force were dealt a blow when France announced it would send only a symbolic contingent of 200.

In Rome, Italy's centre-left government yesterday formally approved the deployment of troops. A cabinet meeting did not specify the numbers, but officials say Rome is ready to deploy up to 3,000 troops, one of the largest contributions.

Deployments by Italy, Spain and Belgium are key because they can move into Lebanon quickly to meet a 15-day UN deadline.

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