Levy Makes An Admission

Martin Bright has been all over the Loans for Lordships story. In this week’s New Statesman he recounts a recent conversation he had with the Sleaze-Master General himself.

The exchange took place at this year’s Labour Party conference during a reception hosted by the GuardianObserver, where Levy took it upon himself to act as an unofficial “meeter and greeter”.

Levy and I started talking, particularly about a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on the “cash for honours” affair which I had presented and had been broadcast that same night.

Levy was his legendary charming self. Disarmingly, he told me that his wife had watched the programme and found it very fair. I was delighted, but said there was one matter I felt I had to raise with him. What did he make of the general point I made in the programme: that the loans from wealthy party supporters were not intended as loans, but were to be converted into donations?

He gripped my arm like a long-lost friend and said, by way of answer: “Only some of them.” I asked him what he meant and whether he could point to any specific loans. He volunteered the name of Lord Sainsbury, the billionaire former science minister who had lent the party £2m.

The point is that large donations, under this government’s own legislation, had to be declared, but loans did not. So what exactly was Levy saying to me? Did he misunderstand my original question? That is possible, but he had gone on to give me an example. Was he joking? Again possibly, but it’s an odd matter to joke about. Or was he merely expressing his hope that the loans would be converted into donations?

Guido thinks that this is an admission of some guilt. If Sainsbury’s loan wasn’t really a loan and the intention was always to turn into a donation at some point, that is an offence. A false loan which disguises a donation is surely an evasion of the legally required reporting of donations under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000?

UPDATE : According to an impeccable source who has just emailed me, the Yard’s attention has been drawn to the Martin Bright story in this week’s New Statesman.




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Hammond Re-Announces Existing Tory Housing Policy Hammond Re-Announces Existing Tory Housing Policy
Stanley Early Favourite to Win I’m A Celeb Stanley Early Favourite to Win I’m A Celeb
Sunday Show Highlights Sunday Show Highlights
Royal Mail’s Tweets Deliver Truth About Nationalisation Royal Mail’s Tweets Deliver Truth About Nationalisation
Jez “Doesn’t Do Dinners” Jez “Doesn’t Do Dinners”
New Tory Slogan: Building a Britain Fit for The Future New Tory Slogan: Building a Britain Fit for The Future
Unilad Deleted From Facebook Unilad Deleted From Facebook
Disgraced Gay Times Editor Is Labour Member Disgraced Gay Times Editor Is Labour Member
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: “I’d Rather Be Mugabe Than May” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: “I’d Rather Be Mugabe Than May”
Corbynista Rulebook Saves Lansman’s NEC Dream Corbynista Rulebook Saves Lansman’s NEC Dream
70 Million Reasons BuzzFeed Won’t Go Public 70 Million Reasons BuzzFeed Won’t Go Public
Sun Coffee Run to Broadcasting House Sun Coffee Run to Broadcasting House
Teething Problems for Salmond’s RT Show Teething Problems for Salmond’s RT Show
Hammond to Deliver “Real Action” on Housing in Budget Hammond to Deliver “Real Action” on Housing in Budget
Dods Shard Offices Infested With Maggots Dods Shard Offices Infested With Maggots
Nelson’s Back Nelson’s Back
Nasreen Khan Resigns Nasreen Khan Resigns
Young Liberals Condemn Cable For Defending Rennard Young Liberals Condemn Cable For Defending Rennard
Brexodus Was Bogus Brexodus Was Bogus
McDonnell Now Sure There Won’t Be a Run on The Pound McDonnell Now Sure There Won’t Be a Run on The Pound