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"Big Progress" In UK Honours Enquiry  
User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2448 times:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6155652.stm

Must be the government's nightmare. Complaint gets made and police take it entirely seriously and do a proper investigation.

Blair will almost certainly be interviewed, and if it's under caution, then that means he's viewed as a suspect - certainly the first time that's ever happened to a serving Prime Minister.


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2436 times:

The big problem is not with Labour - all parties are involved; this hasn't become the big political issue it would be if just one or two parties were being naughty. the big problem comes with the way political parties in the UK are funded.

If you don't allow public money (which you shouldn't), then you have to accept that donations will have to come from people with interests. All but the most ideological will expect something - tangible or not - back from the party.

A solution I guess would be to limit party spending. But then again, party spending isn't outrageously high - especially when compared to similar countries.

The only choices, according to Sir Hayden Phillips's interim report on party spending is to stick with the current system, increase the regulations on reporting gifts, restrict campaign spending and the level of donations or to extend state funding.

Take your pick. All are pretty rubbish.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2436 times:

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 1):
The big problem is not with Labour

It is in degree. As you go on to say, the problem of party fundraising is a thorny one (and personally I'm totally opposed to state funding), but with honours, it was always an unwritten rule that we all knew what was going on, just don't get caught - in other words, a little dodgy dealing was a damn sight better than us paying for it. The difference here, if matters are proven, would be that it was flagrantly corrupt selling of honours for funding, which hasn't happened since Lloyd George, and is the reason for the 1925 Act in the first place.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2409 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 2):
The difference here, if matters are proven, would be that it was flagrantly corrupt selling of honours for funding, which hasn't happened since Lloyd George, and is the reason for the 1925 Act in the first place.

Yes, and that's corruption, plain and simple. But the entire thing is deeper than that. I would think there would have to be very, very strong evidence to show conclusively that the donations directly resulted in a peerage. I suspect the whole thing will be a bit muddier than that.

Speaking of conflicts of interest, the bloke investigating all this is John Yates...deputy to Sir Ian Blair...who's trying to push for much tougher police powers, unpopular in the commons. Could we yet find MPs publically condemning calls for greater police powers (as is generally the case now), but with the whips working their magic in the background to ensure that the powers are past, Lord Levy is swept under the carpet and things can go on their merry way? Maybe a bit too cynical!

Quoting Banco (Reply 2):
which hasn't happened since Lloyd George, and is the reason for the 1925 Act in the first place.

At least he had the foresight to give peerages to newspaper owners!


User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2402 times:

Can you guys help out an ignorant colonial with this one? I'm watching the news here in Manchester and Honors to me must mean something completely different to us than you. Help me understand!


"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2393 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 4):
Help me understand!

What is it you want to know? There's a useful Q & A on the BBC site you might want to read through:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4812822.stm

The issue now is what happens next. If the Prime Minister is interviewed under caution (i.e. read his rights as a potential suspect) it's impossible to see how he could continue in office. Any head of a major company in a similar position would be suspended from his post. And if he was charged....Jesus.

Put it this way: You get acres of postings on here about whether Iraq would cost Blair his job and so on and so forth. Forget about that, it wasn't going to happen. This could. Yates of the Yard's letter seems to carry a latent threat in virtually every sentence.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 3):
I would think there would have to be very, very strong evidence to show conclusively that the donations directly resulted in a peerage.

I doubt they would go down that route. The whisper in Parliament is that any charges would likely be technical, but just as fatal. Blair has nowhere to go on this, because Jack Dromey, the Labour Party treasurer very publicly stated it was nothing to do with him and he didn't know anything about it. Blair is the one who approves the nominations, no-one else. And don't forget the Honours Committee then rejected many of the nominations.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 3):
Speaking of conflicts of interest, the bloke investigating all this is John Yates...deputy to Sir Ian Blair...who's trying to push for much tougher police powers, unpopular in the commons. Could we yet find MPs publically condemning calls for greater police powers (as is generally the case now), but with the whips working their magic in the background to ensure that the powers are past, Lord Levy is swept under the carpet and things can go on their merry way? Maybe a bit too cynical!

Can you be too cynical when it comes to British politics? Actually, I think it's gone too far for that now. The wheels of justice are grinding, and I have a suspicion it will be impossible for anyone to politically interfere with it.

This hasn't got as much interest and debate on here as it should have really. This is potential meltdown stuff, far, far more serious than Clinton's blowjob troubles.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2383 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 5):
There's a useful Q & A on the BBC site you might want to read through

I think I get it now. Honors are peerages which are how you get into the House of Lords? Blair is under suspiscion of "selling" those through the acceptance of loans to the party that never get repaid in exchange for favorable views on legislation. Am I on the right path here? I could see where that might pose just a wee bit of a problem.

I know we share a common ancestry and language but there are still so many differences between us. It's those little words that make it interesting. I'd say you talk funny but you would say the same thing about us.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2377 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 6):
Honors are peerages which are how you get into the House of Lords?

It can be at almost any level, from a humble MBE, via knighthoods to peerages. However, in this case, it is peerages that are at issue.

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 6):
Blair is under suspiscion of "selling" those through the acceptance of loans to the party that never get repaid in exchange for favorable views on legislation.

Well. This is where the can of worms opens. Is it Blair? Distinctly possible. And would he get favourable views? Also distinctly possible. Were they "sold" on that basis? Hard to prove. Is it more than a bit dodgy? Absolutely. Did the government expect the police to pay lip service to the investigation? Definitely. Are they shocked and horrified that it's turned into a full-blown criminal enquiry? Without question. Are we mightily impressed by the police? No doubt about it.

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 6):
I could see where that might pose just a wee bit of a problem.

Just a touch. The thing is, as with the US, where political parties have to raise their own funding, there are always going to be some fairly iffy goings on. It's kind of the contract with the devil we all sign in order to avoid having to pay for it ourselves. The question is exactly how iffy it all is, and whether they've crossed the line. It seems the police think they might well have done.

If you read Yates' letter to Parliament, it absolutely oozes with threat in every sentence.

Thank you for your letter of 7th November 2006.

I have now had the opportunity to consult with the CPS on this matter and I am writing to provide you with some further information that I hope will go some way to meeting the needs of your Select Committee.

Before I go into any detail, I thought it appropriate to comment on some of the publicity surrounding this investigation in recent days.

Speculation about the outcome and progress of this inquiry is not something we welcome.

It would seem perverse to suggest (as some commentators have) that it is the police inquiry team who are responsible for placing matters in the public domain.

I say this in view of the very significant time invested by us in persuading you and your Committee to do precisely the opposite, firmly believing, as we do, that this may undermine the investigation.

I have, however, conducted a further review of our own operational security.

I am confident that this remains very tight.

This is endorsed by the fact that the major developments in this inquiry are not in the public domain.

You can be assured that I will continue to monitor matters very closely.

You can also be assured that this case is being closely monitored at the most senior levels of this organisation.

I will now turn to the further information required by your Committee. I would emphasise that what may appear to be the lack of detail I am able to provide at this time is purely a consequence of the overriding need to keep confidential operational matters which may be the subject of future criminal proceedings.

I intend no discourtesy to either you or your Committee and, as I have indicated to you previously, I will be prepared to discuss all relevant details of the investigation when I am in a position to do so.

The inquiry continues to work within the parameters I outlined to you when I appeared before your Committee in May 2006.

That is we are focusing on the 2005 Working Peerages List and any offences in that period relating to the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuse) Act and PPERA 2000 Act.

This, you will recall, was in order to keep the inquiry in manageable proportions and is where the best and most recent evidence is likely to be found.

These parameters are also set in the interests of timeliness.

There is clearly a great public interest in resolving these matters as soon as possible.

By keeping the parameters narrow and focusing on where the evidence, if it is available, is likely to be, we will then be best placed to report our findings to the CPS at the earliest opportunity.

None of the above prevents us from widening the scope of the inquiry should this be necessary or considering any offences under other legislation should these come to light.

We continue to liaise with the Electoral Commission in relation to the PPERA 2000 and that we have also received excellent co-operation from both the Cabinet Office and the House of Lords Appointments Commission in relation to our enquiries.

To date, my investigative team have conducted 90 interviews. They can be broken down as follows:-


Labour Party - 35 interviews

Conservative Party - 29 interviews

Liberal Democrats - 4 interview

Non-Party - 22 interviews
It is my view that considerable progress continues to be made. The investigative team have and continue to adopt a thorough, methodical and impartial approach to the investigation.

This has resulted in the acquisition of significant and valuable material in relation to the development of the inquiry.

Due to the possibility of future criminal proceedings and the need for further inquiries to be undertaken, I do not believe it would be appropriate to comment further on the current status of the inquiry.

As I enter what I consider to be the final stages of the investigation, I understand fully the Committee's desire for a timescale.

Assuming the co-operation of the Parties and individuals involved, then I hope to be able to forward a file to the CPS in January 2007.

I would emphasise that this is dependant on a number of factors that are beyond my control.

It will also be subject to any additional lines of investigation that may result from the inquiries I am about to undertake.

I would also emphasise that any submission to the CPS will then involve careful consideration by them of what are likely to be complex and sensitive legal issues.

There may then also be the need to undertake further inquiries as proposed by the CPS.

I remain available to you should you wish to discuss any issues regarding the investigation.

John Yates

T/Assistant Commissioner

Metropolitan Police Service


It implies that any leaks are coming from Downing Street, not the police, and that they're not very happy about it. It says that the most important evidence isn't in the public domain, which should really set alarm bells ringing, because what has already come out looks, shall we say, problematic. Where he talks about receiving excellent co-operation from the Cabinet Office and the Lords, the clear implication is that he isn't getting it from anyone else.

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 6):
I'd say you talk funny but you would say the same thing about us.

No, sorry. I just can't understand you. Speak English.  Wink



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2370 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 5):
This hasn't got as much interest and debate on here as it should have really. This is potential meltdown stuff, far, far more serious than Clinton's blowjob troubles.

That's true, and I wonder why not. All three parties are probably involved, which is why they're all staying pretty quiet about it, but it's not like the press to send stuff like this to page 94.

Quoting Banco (Reply 7):
If you read Yates' letter to Parliament, it absolutely oozes with threat in every sentence.

Whilst at the same time the rest of the Met is putting more and more pressure on Parliament to give it more powers, resorting to scary hyperbole to scare the public. I was being a bit facetious before, but maybe this entire thing is part of a Met drive to have a bit more influence in the House.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2352 times:

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 8):
All three parties are probably involved

They are, but the difference the opposition parties have is that they're current leadership are not, and Labour's is. Equally, the party in government have the power. It's not going to be good for Tory or Lib Dem, but it's going to be disaster for Labour.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 8):
I was being a bit facetious before, but maybe this entire thing is part of a Met drive to have a bit more influence in the House.

Doubt it. The Labour leadership already back the Met on this, it's the backbenchers and opposition who don't. Besides, the Assistant Commissioners tend to be real live coppers, and the Commissioner more of a quasi-politician.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
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