Look Who Flew in to Say Goodbye to Blair

Yates of the Yard is still chasing down evidence and statements to tighten up the case against Sleazy Levy.
Police flew in Ms Courtney Coventry yesterday to question her again about her dealings with Blair and Levy. In April 2004 she was canvassed by Jane Hogarth, the Labour party’s former head of high-value fund raising who supposedly has been made redundant – but is actually still working as a “consultant” to the party.

Lord Levy introduced Courtney, as a potential donor, to Tony Blair. The police want to know what Levy promised in return for a donation.

Innocent Drinks

Last night at the House, on the terrace, a co-conspirator spied John McTernan, drinking with Bridget Prentice. They moved on to the Strangers bar later that night. She is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice with responsibility for legal services. John was, you will recall, very helpful to Yates of the Yard with his enquires. Clearly they had much to discuss…

Politicians are Feral Spinners

Blair must reap what he sowed. The culture of New Labour is a culture of rapid rebuttal, the set “line”, the vicious rubbishing of enemies, the off-the-record briefing all backed up by armies of government media handlers and Special Advisers. 24/7 rolling spin…

Remember, for example, what they told us about the Women’s Institute member who led the slow-hand-clapping of Blair – that she had a National Front past. That was feral spin, vicious and untrue. Do you remember Alastair Campbell’s plan to “fuck” David Kelly? That was feral. Do you remember Alastair Campbell’s foul mouthed tirades? They were feral. The old woman mistreated at an NHS hospital during an election campaign? “Racist” they smeared, without any evidence. The Brownite pack’s undermining of Blairite colleagues like Ruth Kelly and John Reid? Wasn’t that feral?

Blair’s treatment by the media got rough only after he was completely found out. It was the dodgy dossier, and the false prospectus for war that did for him, his spin was until then more than a match for the media pack.

UPDATE : The IPPR has just emailed out a piece (on the back of the Blair speech) by Sir Michael White where he blames everyone else for the “gross tabloidisation of national journalism” including of course the “unmediated internet”. He repeats his claim that the Loans for Lordships investigation is just political opportunism by the SNP and Blair’s political enemies. Michael White has spent 30 years covering politics close-up, he is no longer able to see that selling seats in the legislature is just plain wrong. He basically says “everybody did it”, why the fuss now?

The better question is, why only now has there been a fuss? Well if a young new MP had not stumbled upon the corruption legislation, if a less determined detective had not been given the case and the story wasn’t pushed relentlessly by “unmediated” voices, there would have been no fuss.

Just as well the likes of Sir Michael White and Nick Robinson were ignored and some kept on at the story in an unmediated and grossly tabloid way, eh?

Operation Ribble Closes :When Will Levy Be Charged?

The CPS got the final tranche of the Operation Ribble files on Friday.* The Met let the press know in no uncertain terms that they expected charges against the Sleaze Master General himself, Ruth Turner and Sir Chris Evans. If Powell faces charges too, it will be a devastating denouement to the Blair era. Blair himself is widely expected to escape without being charged, the documentary evidence being too weak.

The CPS could make a decision as soon as June, at a time when many expect the Blair-Brown handover to be in process. Guido has long believed that the police would not be fazed by dealing with powerful political figures, that Levy would inevitably face charges and is now convinced that senior figures at the CPS will not find it possible to sweep things under the carpet. Lord Goldsmith may not even be in office when the decision to prosecute is made, it could well be a Brown appointee. If Brown’s Attorney General were to block charges the prospect of a private prosecution being brought remains. Soundings have already been taken by interested parties at the Inner Temple about this possibility.

If the Attorney General were to then enter a plea of nolle prosequi, claiming it would not be in the public interest to put Blair’s lieutenants on trial, Brown’s administration would forever be tainted with covering up his predecessor’s corruption. Something Brown is unlikely to countenance.

One way or another, this is going to go all the way.

*Guido was at the time supping champagne at Pascal Aussignac’s Club Gascon.

Yates Writes to Public Administration Select Committee

Doesn’t really say a lot, does say he has enough staff and an “extremely secure environment” (just round the corner from Scotland Yard).

Download the letter here.

McTernan Documentation

The Law Report for Attorney-General v British Broadcasting Corporation contains a little nugget Guido hadn’t noticed before. The three categories of documentation identified were:
A Material relating to policy strategy in conducting their future investigations. As to that, the judge said that the real concern of the police was that they wished to put the document to several individuals who might be suspects. They considered that there was a risk that if information about the document was published, that would give potential interviewees the opportunity to frustrate the investigation.

B Material of a factual nature: The police regarded the document in question as a key document in the investigation into the perversion of the course of justice, whose deployment was a matter of real interest and concern and the police were for that reason concerned about it receiving advanced publicity in the media. The document was not an email, it ran to several pages and contained far more information. There was a real question mark as to whether Mr Powell, the addressee, ever received it and the investigating officers were very interested to discover whether he did so or not.

C Material related to Mr John McTernan, director of political operations at Downing Street.

Most of Westminster thinks he has grassed or cut a deal to save his skin. The whole Loans for Lordships affair has, at the very least, cost him his much desired safe seat.

No doubt John will take precious time out from overseeing the decimation of the Labour party in Scotland to post again in the comments telling us how he is in the clear and Guido gets it all wrong. We shall see…

Levy On the Edge

It was a year ago that Guido said Levy would be charged (and started taking bets) it has taken the press and the Lobby a long time to fully come around to Guido’s way of thinking.

The Indy reckons Levy ‘feels let down and is about to turn on the Labour Party, the Sunday Times says Blair aides ‘plotted’ to foil police.

If (as is widely believed around Westminster) McTernan has grassed about the alleged cover-up, then Powell, previously perceived as too clever to get caught, could also be in trouble and dodgy donor Chris Evans can expect his day in court as well.

Here is Guido’s advice to Levy…

Sleazy Levy Complains of “Trial by Media”

Levy’s lawyers have just released a statement complaining, wait for it, of “trial by media”.

Well perhaps he should stop ringing up political editors and briefing them in that case? All those unnamed “friends” quoted in the press are him, briefing…

UPDATE : 13:30 The Metropolitan Police have released a statement effectively accusing the Guardian of undermining their case.

UPDATE : 14:00 “There has been a regular stream of leaks to the media during this year-long investigation, all of which have presented a prejudiced and distorted view” say Levy’s lawyers. Of course Lord Levy’s off-the-record briefings to journalists are not prejudiced or distorted in the slightest.

Robinson Hints Source Not Necessarily Downing Street

Beware of source speculation says Robinson, reading between the lines he is saying it was a blend of sources “In my experience of journalism it is rarely as simple as one side or the other handing you a story or a document on a plate.”

How can an email have multiple sources Nick?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Cui Bono: Is Downing Street the Leak Source?

Guido is very wary as we enter the closing straights of the investigation. Downing Street is in serious trouble and the only defence advanced so far is that the peerage nominations were for “party peerages”. That is a non-existent class of honour and the admission in itself was effectively a confession, not a defence.[…]

+ READ MORE +

++ SKY : RUTH TURNER WAS QUESTIONED AGAIN ++

UPDATE : She reported to the police yesterday under the terms of her bail. She was re-interviewed, which technically is re-arrest methinks.

+ READ MORE +

Sleazy Levy Shaky

Reports are reaching Guido from different directions as to the increasingly erratic personal behaviour of the man at the centre of the Loans for Lordships scandal.

Well the mental pressure must be immense, what will his defence be? Guido fears it may all get too much for him in the way that it did for Ernie Saunders.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Funny Turner

Variations on these are going round Westminster:

Q. What do you have to be get off Loans-for-Lordship’s charges?
A. Ruthless.

Q. What do you call Labour Party HQ without Loans-for-Lordships?
A. Roofless.

Levy isn’t laughing…

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Loans for Lordships : Still Taking Bets

The news that Catholic school headmaster Des Smith will not face charges suggests that we are entering the endgame for the investigation. Guido is still good for bets.

If anybody wants to step up to the plate and bet that nobody will be charged, do email Guido.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

McTernan Grassed

According to the News of the World, Downing Street’s Director of Political Operations, John McTernan, has grassed on Ruth Turner, Lord Levy, Tony Blair and his chief of staff Jonathan Powell. The Screws’ story is a tale of deleted emails, and secret meetings about enobling donors.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Let’s Do the Perp Walk Again!

Levy really should have taken Guido’s advice when he had the chance, shouldn’t he?

This is not the end, but it is the beginning of the end…

Can’t wait for the PMOS’ explanation tomorrow. “There is no Lord Levy in Downing Street, there is no other email system, from which nothing was deleted, no honours were sold etc…”

Guido was in the supermarket when he heard the news.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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