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CJOHNSTONE

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Reply with quote  #76 

SEEMS A BIT OF A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL TO ME, THE CONSPIRACY SPLATTERED OVER THE FRONT OF THE FRONT PAGE OF THE INDEPENDENT SEEMED A BIT MORE "KEEPING IT REAL" , IT WOULD APEAR THAT THE REST OF THE MEDIA ARE AGAIN TRYING TO SMOTHER A TRUELY INTERESTING IMPLICATING STORY BY SUCH AN INSIGNIFICANT PISHY STORY AS CASH FOR TITLES, LIKE THE MCKIE CASE SMOTHERING THE AL MAGRACHEE (LOCKERBIE BOMBER'S TRIAL)  BUT HEY, WHO AM I TO JUDGE ANYTHING 


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New twist in 'cash honours' probe
Lord Levy in Downing Street
Lord Levy, Labour's chief fundraiser, has denied any wrongdoing
A Labour donor who loaned the party £1m may have been asked by the party's chief fundraiser whether he wanted a knighthood or peerage, it has emerged.

The BBC has learned notes made by Sir Christopher Evans about conversations with Lord Levy suggest he was asked if he wanted "a K or a big P".

Nothing other than the notes suggest that Lord Levy, who has denied any wrongdoing, made the remark.

Sir Christopher's spokesman denied the offer of an honour for cash was made.

On Thursday police asked Tony Blair about the notes of conversations between his Lord Levy and the Labour donor.

The prime minister's questioning was not under caution, meaning he is not a suspect.

Lord Levy wants everyone to understand that he has not been involved in any wrongdoing
Neil O'May
Lord Levy's lawyer

Sir Christopher, a successful biotechnology businessman who was knighted in 2001, was arrested four months ago by police investigating the cash for honours affair.

He gave the party £1m as a loan in 2005.

The BBC can now reveal that in the notes Mr Blair was questioned about - which were shown to several witnesses - Sir Christopher recorded that Lord Levy asked him if he wanted "a K or a big P".

This has been deemed to be an apparent reference to a knighthood or a peerage.

The note is understood to stem from the period in which Sir Christopher received his knighthood.

A spokesman for Sir Christopher denied that there was a record of an offer of an honour in return for cash, because he said such an offer was never made nor sought.

No charges

He said he had been told by police that neither his OBE nor his knighthood were under investigation.

The BBC put the allegations to Lord Levy, who refused to comment.

He has publicly vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement following the peer's arrest in July, his lawyer Neil O'May said: "Although any allegations remain unclear, Lord Levy wants everyone to understand that he has not been involved in any wrongdoing or assisted anyone else in any wrongdoing."

Privately friends of Labour chief fundraiser say he has never offered anybody anything.

BBC politics editor Nick Robinson said no charges have been made in the cash for honours investigation and there may never be any.

He said if charges were to be made "the police will have to find evidence and prove it in court of a link between cash offered or given and honours received or offered".

Interior of the House of Lords
Appointments to the House of Lords are under scrutiny

Referring to the latest note, our correspondent said: "Both men and their friends tell me... that this is the world that they occupy, that they live in a world where people talk all the time about honours - in part of course because they make substantial donations not just to political parties but to charities too.

"That's all this might be. It is up to the police to work out if it is more than that or if it's just an intriguing and extraordinary insight into an extraordinary world."

Meanwhile, Chancellor Gordon Brown has attacked any attempt to link him to the cash-for-honours affair as ''unfounded allegations and smears''.

His remarks follow suggestions that he proposed giving peerages to two political allies who had given Labour money.

And Mr Blair, who became the first serving prime minister to be interviewed by police pursuing a criminal investigation, has said it had been "perfectly natural" that officers had chosen to speak to him.


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Former Labour chairman Ian McCartney - Blair's...

Former Labour chairman Ian McCartney - Blair's favourite fundraiser - is understood to have been included on a 'final' list of witnesses deemed worthy of further investigation. Picture: Getty

 

Cash for honours inquiry homes in on Blair aides...

LORD Levy and some of Tony Blair's closest aides face further questioning in the "cash-for-honours" saga as Scotland Yard detectives prepare to present their report to prosecutors.

Former Labour chairman Ian McCartney - Blair's favourite fundraiser - along with former party general secretary Matt Carter and a series of Downing Street aides, are understood to have been included on a 'final' list of witnesses deemed worthy of further investigation.

 

Their likely inclusion in the report to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), along with Blair aides Ruth Turner and John McTernan, raises the possibility that they might face charges under legislation banning the offer of honours in exchange for material gain.

But the report into allegations that honours were offered for financial support to Labour is expected to rule out further inquiries into Blair himself and a series of tycoons who lent millions of pounds to the party.

Detective Chief Inspector Graeme McNulty, who quizzed Blair in Downing Street last week, demanded further details of all the named individuals from the Labour party hierarchy late last week, as the police team finalises its report into the potential for further action.

"There is a list and it is about to be set in stone and sent to the CPS," a source close to the police investigation said last night. "Blair isn't on it, but it may be more interesting to focus on who is on it. These people have effectively got an asterisk against their names, suggesting that the police strongly believe it would be valuable to investigate their actions further. That is a powerful recommendation to put before the CPS."

A Downing Street insider last night said the figures at the centre of the inquiry had yet to be told whether or not they would be questioned again or reported to the CPS.

The source said: "They are not worried, as such. We don't feel they did anything wrong or criminal, so they feel rather robust about this.

"The investigation was supposed to be finished by the end of October, then it was December. Now it looks like they will pull it together in January."

The source added: "The fact that the cops are still interested in four or five people does not

mean that the CPS will be interested in pursuing them." Blair's allies had hoped that he was in the clear after nine months of inquiries, following a police decision not to interview him under caution, and his choice not to have a lawyer present during their session.

The Prime Minister insisted that the honours in question had been "nominated by me as a party leader for party service, in the way that other party leaders are entitled to do".

But any initial relief felt by Blair will be tempered by the knowledge that the prospect of further action against some of his closest aides might spark an unprecedented round of feuding within his inner circle.

Levy is believed to have made clear his intention to ensure he does not carry the can for the "cash-for-honours" saga, amid reports that the focus of the inquiry would switch back to his role following Blair's interview. It was claimed yesterday that Levy may have asked Sir Christopher Evans, who loaned the party £1m, whether he wanted a knighthood or peerage.

The BBC said notes made by about conversations with Levy suggest Evans was asked if he wanted a "K or a big P", although Sir Christopher's spokesman denied the offer of an honour for cash was made.

McNulty asked Blair about the notes of the alleged conversations. In an interview with Scotland on Sunday this year, former pop promoter Levy insisted that he, Blair and Carter had reluctantly agreed to accept secret loans from party supporters.

As the furore over alleged links between donations, loans and nominations for peerages has escalated, he is believed to have told friends that only the Prime Minister could sign-off honours.

The stance threatens a damaging rift, with Levy's word pitted against Blair's.

The destructive potential of the inquiry was demonstrated by Chancellor Gordon Brown's furious response to claims that he sought honours for two friends, businessman Sir Ronald Cohen and Wilf Stevenson, a director of the Smith Institute.

The Treasury accused others of trying to smear Brown by dragging him into the scandal. His spokesman said: "At no point, until loans were made public, did the Chancellor have any knowledge of any loans to the Labour party."

Off the hit-list

WITH one bound he was free. It is only three days since Tony Blair became the first serving British prime minister to be questioned by police during an investigation, but now it appears the humiliation is to be replaced by blessed relief.

Downing Street has maintained from the start of this affair that Blair had done nothing wrong and, finally, it looks like the police agree.

When the Scotland Yard report finally reaches the Crown Prosecution Service, it does not appear that they will be demanding Blair's presence in the dock.

After yet another of his 'worst weeks in politics', it appears that this lame prime minister's luck may at last be changing.

Or maybe not. Blair will take a great deal of satisfaction if, as expected, he does not appear on the Yard's "hit list" of candidates for further inquiries, particularly given the pasting he has taken from opposition politicians over the last nine months.

But the names that are likely to appear on the list may give him more sleepless nights.

The prospect of so many of his closest aides facing further inquiries will ensure that the cash-for-honours saga will remain a live issue for the Prime Minister during the remaining months of his leadership - and perhaps beyond.

Who knows what the further investigations could reveal about life in the Blair bunker, particularly when the ultimate wildcard - Lord Michael Levy - is making it increasingly clear that he does not intend to carry the can for any wrongdoing.

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Comments:

1. Peter Cherbi, Edinburgh / 1:28am 17 Dec 2006

It's a wonder Blair hasn't closed down this inquiry like the Saudi bribes & slush fund investigation ...

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2. scottwebb.co.uk / 1:46am 17 Dec 2006

Peter, i bet he wishes he could do

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3. Ricky / 2:05am 17 Dec 2006

Let’s get Sean Connery to play the investigator and Christopher Walken to play the bad guy who goes down for corruption at the height of a countries Government for arranging preference to certain people for positions of privelage and power - Good Script - oops sorry - i thought I was on the arts page - See Ya !

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4. Guga, Rockall / 2:17am 17 Dec 2006

"But the report into allegations that honours were offered for financial support to Labour is expected to rule out further inquiries into Blair himself and a series of tycoons who lent millions of pounds to the party."

Well, that was to be expected. Bliar couldn't close down the inquiry directly, but you can bet that someone else has, or will. This will be yet another Whitehall whitewash, where nobody is to blame, and nobody is guilty.

Watch out for low flying pigs.

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5. Bill, Dunblane / 2:37am 17 Dec 2006

Do you think in the 'photie that wee McCartney is praying for his syrup no' tae fly aff?

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6. Peter Cherbi, Edinburgh / 4:20am 17 Dec 2006

5. Bill, Dunblane

.. either that or a bottle o' buckie

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7. Paul Voltaire, http://www.paulvoltaire.spaces.live.com / 6:38am 17 Dec 2006

It is more than a little ironic that Tony Blair's last days as PM are mirroring those of John Major, all sleaze allegations and the like.Mr Blair is gonna have to be dragged kicking and screaming from Downing Street and will leave Gordon Brown a rather difficult job to salvage any credibility.

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8. bill, england / 7:22am 17 Dec 2006

7. Paul Voltaire

What is ironic about it? These politicians are all at it; if the Gordon option is enacted he will be no different. Neither will Cameron; that's what they do - sell things for personal gain.

There's no credibility to salvage anyway, either for himself or for any of the New Labour mobsters.

But I would like to see Blair being dragged kicking and screaming all the way from Downing Street to Tower Hill.

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9. Harriet / 8:02am 17 Dec 2006

Is there a bookie giving odds on the various runners and riders in the "We're going to prison" stakes?

For the first time in my life I feel like puting a ton on a likely lad for 4.30 van to Brixton.

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10. Rubbersnap / 9:52am 17 Dec 2006

I don't understand WHY this is an issue!! The Tories sold these "honours" for years and years. Why haven't THEY been investigated??

As I said before, James VI started it when he went to England and became James I. Well, at least we KNOW he sold off titles like confetti at a wedding. No doubt others did before him. Richard I (Lionheart) needed funds for his crusading. Eddie I (the laughable Hammer of the Scots) was always after funding for HIS adventuring!

Disraeli and Gladstone did it with foreign dignitaries.

So why is New Labour being picked on for joining in with a Westminster tradition? Is someone being jealous ya think?? Hmmm??

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Reply with quote  #79 

Former Labour chairman Ian McCartney - Blair's... 

 

 

 

 

Bill, Dunblane / 2:37am 17 Dec 2006

Do you think in the 'photie that wee McCartney is praying for his syrup no' tae fly aff?


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Reply with quote  #80 
22 January 2007
COMPUTER SEARCH BY PEERAGE QUIZ COPS...

DOWNING Street computers were searched before police arrested a key aide to Tony Blair, it emerged yesterday.

Ruth Turner's arrest, as part of the ongoing cash for honours probe, came on the back of fresh information obtained from the computer system in No10.

An independent IT expert retrieved emails and other information after police got permission for the search.

Turner, 36, director of government relations, was quizzed on suspicion of perverting the course of justice before being released without charge.

Her arrest sparked claims that police are looking into a cover-up as well as initial complaints that wealthy Labour donors were later nominated for peerages.

Yesterday, the row between Labour and senior police officers over Friday's arrest continued.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and former cabinet colleague David Blunkett said they were "bewildered" at the move. Others accused the police of "theatrics".

But Glen Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, has accused them of trying to "influence the inquiry" and applying "undue" pressure.

Turner is the fourth person - and the first salaried government official - to be arrested in the cash for honours inquiry.

Labour's chief fundraiser Lord Levy, major donor Sir Christopher Evans and headteacher Des Smith have also been arrested.

The Prime Minister was questioned before Christmas but was not arrested or cautioned.


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Jack McConnell
Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell was quizzed by police in connection with the cash-for-honours inquiry.
 
 
 
 
***************************************************
23 January 2007
MCCONNELL QUIZZED BY CASH-FOR-HONOURS COPS.

FIRST Minister Jack McConnell has been quizzed by cops in London investigating the alleged cash-for-honours scandal, it has emerged.

Officers from Scotland Yard spoke to Mr McConnell in London last month as a witness.  The First Minister was not under caution when police interviewed him.

The inquiry officers are believed to have asked Mr McConnell about his nomination of Lord Boyd of Duncansby for a peerage in 2004.

He is the latest high profile member of the government to be quizzed by the police over the cash-for-peerages row.

The news emerges just days after Ruth Turner, the director of government relations at Downing Street and a close aid of Tony Blair, was arrested and released on police bail in connection with the investigation into peerage nominations being made in exchange for political donations.

The Prime Minister was interviewed by police in December, but was also not under caution.


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26 January 2007
SECRETS 'WIPED'.

DOWNING Street last night denied claims that cash-for-honours police discovered that emails were deleted from a "secret" computer network in No10.

The allegations were made by ITV news, who said the computers led to the arrest of Tony Blair's aide Ruth Turner last week.

ITV also said the emails were "indiscreet" and referred directly to "Ks and Ps" suggesting the letters would stand for knighthood and peerage.

A Downing Street spokesman said last night: "This story is untrue."


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Police ready to search No 10 in honours row... 

DETECTIVES are set to demand access to Downing Street and Labour Party headquarters in a bid to prove there was a potentially illegal deal at the centre of the cash-for-honours inquiry.

Metropolitan Police officers are expected to seek search warrants for both premises at the heart of Westminster in a significant acceleration of their bid to establish that honours were offered in return for huge cash donations to Labour.

 

Detectives want to remove computer hard drives and paper files relating to contacts between senior Labour figures and some of their most generous benefactors.

The nine-month investigation is believed to be concentrating on an alleged "arrangement" involving some of the major witnesses in the inquiry, amounting to an agreement to give at least one of Labour's big-ticket supporters a high honour as a "reward" for a huge contribution to party coffers.

Senior sources last night said at least one benefactor could face prosecution for allegedly soliciting an honour under 80-year-old legislation.

The 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act outlaws the offer of money or other gifts as an "inducement" in the award of a title.

The investigation is alleged to have taken a new turn following alleged inconsistencies in communications between Downing Street, party supporters - and possibly Labour HQ.

Downing Street has denied claims that detectives had uncovered a "hidden" computer network within Number 10, from which crucial e-mails appeared to have been deleted.

But the investigation team is expected to return to Downing Street in the next few days to remove computer hard drives, amid concerns that the messages in question may have been "scraped" from the network.

Scotland on Sunday revealed last month that one of Tony Blair's closest aides, Ruth Turner, his fundraiser Lord Levy, former party general secretary Matt Carter and director of government relations John McTernan were on a list of senior Labour figures facing further questioning.

Turner, 36, was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice last week. McTernan was questioned under caution last week. Levy was arrested and questioned at a police station last July.

News of the new visit brought a heated response from within the Labour high command. "There should be no need for this," one senior Downing Street aide said. "Number 10 and Downing Street have co-operated fully with everything the police have asked them to do."

The response hinted at the growing tension between No 10 and Scotland Yard over the investigation.

The simmering discontent erupted into the public domain last week after a series of senior Labour politicians condemned the "theatrical" early morning swoop on Turner at her London home.

The complaints provoked a remarkable riposte from police chiefs, who warned the government was not "above the law".

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Comments:

1. http://www.scottwebb.co.uk / 1:49am 28 Jan 2007

Quote: DETECTIVES are set to demand access to Downing Street and Labour Party headquarters in a bid to prove there was a potentially illegal deal at the centre of the cash-for-honours inquiry...........................He He nice one......but i think they have left it a tad late.....the phrase ...Shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted, comes to mind

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2. Paul Voltaire, http://www.paulvoltaire.spaces.live.com / 2:45am 28 Jan 2007

This is all becoming mighty boring now.
I am sure the trail is very cold now.
If the police had anything substantial, they would have acted on it before now.

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3. Flabskin, Mbra' / 6:33am 28 Jan 2007

"Number 10 and Downing Street have co-operated fully with everything the police have asked them to do."

Then they've nothing at all to fear, and no reason to voice any objection...

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4. Guga, Rockall / 8:09am 28 Jan 2007

This is another joke. Any evidence will have been well and truly removed or destroyed by now. It looks as if by not doing searches at the time, and now by telegraphing their intentions, they are conniving in a cover up.

Anyway, while they are at it, why are the police not arresting Bliar and his lot for their conspiracy to steal money from dormant bank accounts?

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5. Heidegger, Fife / 8:17am 28 Jan 2007

One thing they won't find is a man fit to
be Prime Minister!

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6. Porry, The Continent / 9:03am 28 Jan 2007

The senior Downing Street aide is absolutely right, "There should be no need for this", i.e. a new search. Too bad there is!

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7. Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD, Dar-Es-Salaam Tanzania / 9:19am 28 Jan 2007

Please take you time to read the two storis.
May be they are from the same force or farce.
THOUSANDS of thieves are being let off scot-free because shopkeepers do not believe police will turn up to deal with crimes on their premises.
DETECTIVES are set to demand access to Downing Street and Labour Party headquarters in a bid to prove there was a potentially illegal deal at the centre of the cash-for-honours inquiry.
This was a long time history. The two articles are so meticulously married that I am prepared to believe that there is something very wrong with the Police or the ministry of Home Affairs.

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8. Alexander, edinburgh / 9:27am 28 Jan 2007

If Ruth Turner is as competent as Tony claimed she has had plenty of time to clean up before the police arrive!

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9. Cadgers, Perth / 10:08am 28 Jan 2007

#1 Scottwebb. Not so much bolted as shredded me thinks.

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10. Bibendum / 10:20am 28 Jan 2007

Is it not the case that when e mails are sent then even if they are deleted from the sending and receiving computers the service provider can retrieve the e mails ?

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11. Scaramouche / 10:34am 28 Jan 2007

Where are the papers?
The ones we don't see
Filed? Forgotten?
"Top Secret" maybe??

In a drawer?
Or under a bed?
Sorry Officer .....
In fact they've been shred!!!

The phrase containing the words, horse, door and bolted spring most nimbly to mind!


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Downing Street has denied reports a handwritten note by Tony Blair is among evidence uncovered by police probing "cash-for-honours" allegations.

The Sunday Telegraph said the note was understood to acknowledge efforts of 12 Labour backers who secretly loaned the party £14m.

Mr Blair had made his comments in ink on internal government papers and initialled them, the paper said.

No 10 said: "This is completely wrong. There isn't any such document."

Mr Blair's comments were among a batch of Downing Street papers obtained by detectives, the newspaper claims, adding it is the first time the investigation's "paper trail" has led back to the prime minister.

It says detectives believe Mr Blair had intended to give working peerages to most of the 12 lenders, rather than the four previously thought, but was advised against this.

On Friday, Downing Street denied allegations it had a hidden e-mail system from which messages were deleted after the cash-for-honours inquiry began.

ITV News said police had been alerted to a second network in Downing Street.

But a Number 10 spokesman said there was no second system containing details of party donors.

Police are investigating whether money was donated to political parties in exchange for peerages - all those involved deny any wrongdoing.

In an interview earlier with BBC One's Politics Show, Mr Blair repeatedly declined to answer questions on the police investigation.

"Let the thing run its course and then we will see," he told interviewer John Sopel.


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31 January 2007
CASH FOR HONOURS COPS NICK LORD LEVY.
 
Lord Levy in Downing Street
Lord Levy, Labour's chief fundraiser, has denied any wrongdoing.

TONY Blair's personal fundraiser Lord Levy has been arrested on suspicion of covering up cash-for-honours deals.

The dramatic move confirms detectives fear a conspiracy of silence within the PM's inner circle.

Ruth Turner, Blair's gatekeeper, was arrested on the same grounds two weeks ago.

Turner, 36, was the first Labour figure to face accusations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Levy, dubbed Lord Cashpoint because of his ability to get money from Labour backers, was arrested as he answered bail.

He was first interviewed by officers last summer.

But, until now, the 62- year-old peer, who is Blair's tennis partner, has not faced suggestions he tried to obstruct the inquiry.

A spokesman for Levy said he "completely denies any allegations of wrongdoing whatsoever".

Now Jack McConnell's election campaign chief John McTernan could face another grilling.

The Record revealed that officers interviewed McTernan, Blair's top political aide, under caution.

Music impresario Levy's arrest comes after days of denials that a second email system operates in No 10.

Officers were alleged to have discovered that emails from the "secret" system had been wiped. The "indiscreet" messages were claimed to have referred directly to "Ks and Ps" - knighthoods and peerages.

Yesterday, Blair's official spokesman again insisted yesterday that only one system operates in No10.

But Angus MacNeil, the Nats MP who sparked the inquiry, said the pace of the "crisis" appeared to be quickening.


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Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell
McConnell disappointed over involvement in cash-for-honours inquiry

First Minister cash-for-honours video report in Windows Media format 

The First Minister Jack McConnell says he is disappointed to have been dragged into the Cash for Peerages controversy. Scotland's Labour leader was questioned by police on his nomination for the House of Lords as part of their ten month long inquiry into the alleged sale of honours by leading politicians for money. 

The First Minister emerged from Bute House this afternoon and into the media glare after

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell
being caught up in potentially one of the biggest scandals in British politics for decades. He said: "I would want to say this morning first of all that I'm happy to help the police with their inquiries;  secondly, that I am disappointed that Colin Boyd, as Lord Advocate then, and his very normal, straightforward nomination to the House of Lords was caught up in this investigation. I will not be allowing this minor distraction to divert me from winning the debate over the next few months." 

Mr McConnell was questioned by Scotland Yard detectives for 15 minutes as a witness and not under caution in December about his only nomination for a peerage; that of his Lord Advocate Colin Boyd. 
Colin Boyd
Colin Boyd


It is standard practice for Lord Advocates to be given peerages, but in the current climate, where the Prime Minister has been questioned and four people, including Labour's key fundraiser, Lord Levy, have been arrested, police are taking nothing for granted. 

Campaigning for nursery care, it was difficult for Alex Salmond to keep the smile off his face today. It was the SNP who raised the initial complaint that led to this far-reaching inquiry and Labour's current difficulties.  He said: "That they've take in 80% of their personal funding and then people like the Prime Minister has then either ennobled them or given knighthoods to them, and that campaign money has financed campaigns in England and Scotland. As far as Mr
Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond
McConnell's concerned,  he's probably the bystander in this, maybe he's...given where we are, he's Little Jack Horner sitting in the Corner." 

However, the Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen backed his coalition colleague Jack McConnell. He said: "As I understand, everybody on a certain list has been interviewed, so it's been very much a routine interview. I think that's the way it should be treated. There's no sense of any wrongdoing, and I think it's very important to emphasise that."

However tenuously, Jack McConnell has now been dragged into the cash for peerages controversy. Once again, like Iraq, like the Blair-Brown leadership battle, a Westminster issue has landed on his doorstep in Scotland, and while there is very little he can do about it, it gives the Opposition parties ammunition and could damage Labour's chances in May's elections.


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Who would want a gong anyway?
The Saturday Essay by Ian Bell: You know you’ve arrived when the Special Branch place that special call. My moment came on a late-Monday shift, back in Edinburgh, a very long time ago. Rain fell, tediously. Then the phone rang.
Defiant Blair vows: ‘I’m going nowhere’ over honours row


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Ford offered peerage - allegation...
 
Alliance leader David Ford is concerned over "on the run" legislation
David Ford was interviewed by police.
Alliance leader David Ford has revealed he was interviewed by police about an alleged offer of a peerage before the last Westminster elections.

In 2005 Mr Ford claimed the then Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble told him he could get a peerage if his party stood aside in four constituencies.

At the time, Lord Trimble said such appointments were made not by him, but by the government.

Mr Ford was speaking on the BBC Inside Politics programme.

He was asked if he has been drawn into the latest probe into Downing Street's role in handing out honours.

"I was talked to by the police about those specific allegations some time ago," he said.

"As far as I am concerned there are all kinds of political questions to be asked, but there was no legal question which really involved the police."


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Met to investigate its own cash for peerages probe.


12th February 2007



Sir Ian Blair

Metroploitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.


Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair is set to launch an internal probe into his force's investigation of the cash for peerages affair.

Minister: No crime in cash-for-peerages affair
Key Blair aide faces second police quiz on cash for peerages

In a bid to underline his support for Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, Sir Ian has decided that an examination of the conduct of the inquiry will prove that his officers acted "by the book" at all times.

The internal probe will take place once the current investigation is complete, the Standard has been told.

Crucially, it will focus on the constitutional implications of the case, pointing up the difficulties involved in allegations that relate to an incumbent Prime Minister.

It is also expected to clear the police of claims that they have been leaking material to the media.

Sir Ian's latest move came as it emerged that Tony Blair had personally telephoned his chief fundraiser Lord Levy the day after his last arrest.

Mr Blair phoned to offer his support during a news blackout imposed to keep secret his own second round of questioning by police at Downing Street this month.

It is understood that Mr Blair believes he did not breach the terms of his confidentiality agreement with the Met.

The news blackout agreement prohibited-Mr Blair from talking about his own evidence session and as a result he did not refer to it, Whitehall sources said.

Downing Street refused to confirm this weekend whether police had been in contact about a third interview with Mr Blair or whether his chief of staff Jonathan Powell had been questioned again.

The internal Met inquiry follows widespread anger in Labour ranks at the conduct of the police probe into claims that businessmen were nominated for peerages after making huge loans to bankroll the 2005 general election campaign.

It will look at the implications of the whole affair for relations between the elected government of the day and Britain's biggest police force.

Sir Ian is expected to be willing to publish its findings once the question of any pending charges is resolved.

In a further development, biotech tycoon Sir Christopher Evans was said to have revealed recently that honours were indeed "mentioned" to him in conversations with Labour party figures in the past.

Sir Christopher has told friends that he did discuss honours but only in a "general" sense. Police are looking at notes of a meeting which discussed the idea of a "K or a big P".

Sir Christopher is the only one of the businessmen linked to the allegations to have been arrested by police.


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