If the Screws’ story is correct, the game is up for the Blairites.
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. He left the fruit and veg and proceeded to the champagnes. Well why not…
“the once-formidable Blair-Levy double-act has been closed by the Metropolitan Police’s investigation, soon to be handed to the Crown Prosecution Service. It will not, I understand, end in charges for Tony Blair or any of his senior lieutenants.”
UPDATE :Fraser Nelson has been in touch and the bet is on. He warns “I have an expensive taste in wine!” Excellent, so he won’t mind Guido’s choice…
The Blair Foundation is going to be TB’s main post-No. 10 vehicle for
self-publicity21st century. Think Clinton Foundation/Clinton Global Initiative. First main focus is planned to be the Middle East – mainly Israel/Palestine, but watch this space for quick focus switch to Syria, even Iran. Funding is targeted to be coming from big donors/businesses in the US. And the connection to Cash4Honours?
Well, when TB needs lots of money for a big project, who does he turn to? Of course, Lord Cashpoint. Levy was asked to be chief fundraiser some months ago. The plan was for him to go fundraising in the US, later this year, say about the same time that Blair finally decides to pick up his congressional medal, with the accompanying press coverage, goodwill etc etc.
Last I heard plans have not changed. Lets just hope Levy gets out of the country before they make him do the perp walk.
Quite spookily Finkelstein was damn close in this article.
Guido thinks such a ruse to bankrupt Blair et al unlikely to succeed, the money was spent by the Labour party, Blair was party leader and Carter general secretary. Would be fun to see them wriggling in court.
Guido has however heard Tory-inclined lawyers contemplating over their brandies the prospect of bringing a private prosecution in the event that the CPS fails to take action. Guido is good for a grand towards costs and suspects many, many others would willingly do the same.
Presumably it was Matt Carter who authorised the £500,000+ payment for the slogan “Forward, not back” to the same Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates in the run-up to the election. Shortly after the election he joined Penn’s polling organisation in the UK. Typical feather-bedding by a politician at other people’s expense – nothing special.
According to the Sunday Herald:
The theft from the Bloomsbury offices of Penn, Schoen & Berland, the Washington DC-headquartered consultancy where Matt Carter is managing director, was reported to police in Holborn on October 9. It is not known what data was kept on the stolen computers.
He was one of only three people said to know the full details of secret loans worth GBP14 million made to the party. The others were Tony Blair and Lord Levy, Labour’s most high-profile fundraiser.
Officers at London’s Holborn police station revealed details of the theft from Carter’s office… The four computers went missing over the weekend prior to October 9… Carter’s office is only one of a number of subsidiary firms owned by the international WPP agency which share an address at 24-28 Bloomsbury Way. Only Carter’s office reported a theft. No other firm at the address reported anything missing, according to the police file..
Carter has made no formal admission that he has been questioned by Yates’s team, but sources close to the investigation maintain he has been questioned on “more than one occasion” on what he knew of the GBP14m raised by Labour from private backers before the last general election.
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?
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.
“Tony Blair said that he understood members’ concerns and took full responsibility for everything done in the name of the party. Anyone giving to Labour was trashed in the media and so potential donors preferred the confidentiality of a loan.”
The Standard says Sir David Garrard and Barry Townsley would have been happy to be named. They claim the only reason the arrangement was kept silent was because the letter confirming the loans stated: “You do not need to disclose this.”
It is already known that property developer Sir David, who lent Labour £2.3million, and stockbroker Townsley, who lent the party £1million, were both nominated by Blair for peerages. Chai Patel has said he offered £1.5million as a donation but was told by Sleazy Levy that Labour would prefer the money as a loan. He was later nominated for a peerage. Sir Gulam, who lent Labour £250,000, also offered a donation but was advised to make a loan. “My position is that I was very happy to contribute as a donation but that I was asked to give a loan”.
Combined with the above denials by donors that it was their idea to disguise donations as loans, what Blair told the NEC is an admission of guilt, he would be guilty of an offence in disguising a donation as a loan. Expect Ann Black’s account of the March 2006 NEC meeting to be trashed by Downing Street.
Blair says he accepts full responsibility for the Loans for Lordships scam, if Ann Black is telling the truth he and others in Downing Street are open to being charged under Part 4 of the PPER Act 2000:
Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
PART IV, CONTROL OF DONATIONS TO REGISTERED PARTIES AND THEIR MEMBERS ETC
Evasion of restrictions on donations
Offences concerned with evasion of restrictions on donations. 61. – (1) A person commits an offence if he-
(a) knowingly enters into, or
(b) knowingly does any act in furtherance of,
any arrangement which facilitates or is likely to facilitate, whether by means of any concealment or disguise or otherwise, the making of donations to a registered party by any person or body other than a permissible donor. (2) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he knowingly gives the treasurer of a registered party any information relating to-
(i) the amount of any donation made to the party, or
(ii) the person or body making such a donation,
which is false in a material particular; or
(b) with intent to deceive, he withholds from the treasurer of a registered party any material information relating to a matter within paragraph (a)(i) or (ii).
*Blair has created an unprecedented 292 peers.
“I have had a peerage for eight or nine years, so there is no question of buying a peerage.”
Is he saying he got his before Lord Levy started stacking ’em high and selling ’em cheap?
Labour sources have gone from believing “it will all blow over” to an unspoken group-think that they would spin their way out of it, to now hoping they can quash the CPS. There is a realisation that this is now the last chance to stop charges.
You can’t spin a detective easily, every criminal claims he is innocent, but coppers, unlike some of our finest political journalists, work on the assumption that their interviewee is a lying wrong ‘un.
The CPS is Downing Street’s last hope. Nigel Griffith’s bit of wishful thinking spoken aloud on air was the premature hope of the guilty party. To the frustration of the attorney general, the police have not given the CPS much of substance yet because they don’t trust the political independence of the CPS. They will give the CPS the full goods only when the investigation is complete and they are sure that they “will be taking the case to the Old Bailey“. Be assured that is the intention of the police.
Don’t pay any attention to the spin from New Labour – they are shitting themselves. “The Fix” is falling apart. Inside the CPS they are not happy at it being taken for granted that they will be a patsy for Downing Street.
Look at the arse-covering manoeuvres going on in certain quarters – a sure sign that those in the know, know “The Fix” is not in. Sir Ian Blair, our most politicised policeman has taken himself out of the decision making – citing his relationship with the PM. Ken MacDonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has done the same. The CPS has turned outside its own ranks to David Perry QC to advise. That leaves only the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, batting for Blair. It is up to the political classes to see to it that he is prevented from quashing charges or just plain interfering. This discredited lawyer (his flip-flop advice over the legal basis for Iraq was made at Blair’s bidding) should not be permitted to block the course of justice. Shadow Home Secretary David Davis and the Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve have Goldsmith in their sights.
Downing Street is not going to be allowed to whitewash this…
So far nothing that you have not read already on Iain Dale’s blog earlier. Guido believes that the weepy man was none other than Nick Bowes, formerly the Labour Party’s Head of High Value Fundraising. Nick is a reader of this blog from his desk at the metal bashers and widget makers trade association the EEF, he is up in Manchester on their behalf.
Guido has emailed Nick to corroborate this piece but has as yet no reply to his questions. Let us hope the detectives got more answers out of him…
Sunday Opening Session : Welcoming words from Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, Renewing the Party for the Future, Party Chair Hazel Blears MP, Scottish Report : First Minister Jack McConnell MSP, Welsh Report : First Minister Rhodri Morgan AM
Monday Prosperity and Work : Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling MP Warm up act for.. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, John Hutton MP (He who said Brown would be “a fucking disaster as PM”
The Future of Party Funding : NEC Submission to the Hayden Phillips Review GIVE US YOUR TAXES! WE ARE BROKE! LEVY IS GOING TO BE NICKED!
Tuesday Britain in the World : Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett MP, Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne MP
Creating Sustainable Communities : Cabinet Office Minister for Social Exclusion, Hilary Armstrong MP
The Future for Britain’s Communities : Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly MP, Leader of the House of Lords, Valerie Amos
Wednesday : Tackling global poverty : Q&A with international guest speakers – (Clinton is the surprise. Err, was…)
Sustainable Communities : Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, David Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for Scotland, Douglas Alexander MP
Improving Health & Education : Secretary of State for Education and Skills MP, Alan Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt MP
Thursday Northern Ireland Report : Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain MP
Sustainable Communities : Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell MP
Crime & Justice : Home Secretary, Dr John Reid MP
Closing Session : Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott MP
Wot no Blair? See for yourself.
Hat-tip : Marc Shoffman
UPDATE : Guido stands by his story, despite the leaked Mark Townsend and Antony Barnett story in the Observer this morning. Guido’s source is adamant that the investigation will not be over by mid-October. This “leak” in itself has an air of wishful thinking about it bordering on spin. Reading between the lines of their story it looks like somebody either in the CPS or the Attorney-General’s office is their “leak” source. If it is either legal source somebody is improperly spinning the investigation for political purposes – the law is supposed to be above politics. When we are governed by sleazy law-breaking law-makers it is essential that the criminal justice system is not politicised.
UPDATE II : Oh look, Mark Townsend has also written a puff piece for the Attorney-General today, what a coincidence. No point really asking the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, to initiate a root and branch leak investigation is there?
Sources “close to” Lord Goldsmith wouldn’t be trying to pre-empt the investigating officers’ final report?
“Michael Abraham Levy, I am arresting you under the terms of the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 and the Political Parties, Election and Referendum Act 2000.”
Detective Superintendent Graham McNulty
It is going to get even bigger quicker than you might think.
Levy should have taken Guido’s advice when he had the chance, shouldn’t he?
So, where was Nick Robinson, the pundit who told us the police would go through the motions and the investigation would go nowhere, when the story broke? In Sheperds restaurant having a leisurely lunch…