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Investigation continues

Nick Robinson | 10:56 UK time, Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Gordon Brown is not about to be interviewed by police investigating the cash-for-honours allegations. He has, though, received a letter which has been sent to a number of other senior Labour figures asking them to declare what they knew about loans made to party funds in the run-up to the campaign and the subsequent nomination of lenders for peerages. Gordon Brown's answer will be "nothing" and that's why he's unlikely to be interviewed by police.

I can reveal though that Alan Milburn, who was Labour's election supremo, has already been interviewed by the police. This followed his interview with Andrew Marr in April who asked him "Did you know about any of these loans, I mean you were the man spending the money at the time. You were in charge at the time, weren't you?"

Milburn replied: "I was told in the middle of the campaign that the party had taken a lot out, I didn't know whether they were from my, my concern was more about spending money, frankly, than raising it." (Read the full transcript here.)

The officer in charge of the investigation, John Yates, has told MPs that "you go where the evidence takes you". Just like after a car crash the police interview everyone who might have seen what happened - whether, as one of those close to the investigation puts it, they are political leaders or billionaires.

It is for this reason that Gordon Brown and others are receiving letters. It is for this reason that the prime minister's friends expect him to be interviewed by police - possibly under caution - in the weeks to come.

Coming together with last night's election defeats for George Bush - which are bound to alter the course of the US's strategy on Iraq - it demonstrates how little control Tony Blair has over his current fate.


  • 1.
  • At 11:35 AM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • MikeA wrote:

Milburn effectively admits that he knew about the Loans "I was told in the middle of the campaign that the party had taken a lot out". A lot of what? The words are vague (and weaselly) but the implication from context is a lot of LOANS. So Milburn was aware...I thought Brown took over from Milburn when the 2005 Election Campaign got off to a bad start and he (Brown) rode to the rescue and ate ice cream with Tony. So is Browns denial credible? Can he seriously say he had no clue where huge amounts of money he was directing the spending of came from? Either Brown was aware of the Loans (cue politically difficult and embarrassing questions) or he was not (cue questions around credibility of statement and how could he run the election and not be aware of it's finances). This will run, Operation "Protect Brown" has some work to do

  • 2.
  • At 11:53 AM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Gary Elsby stoke-on-trent wrote:

Nick, where are you going with this?

It doesn't matter how much money was received by whom or spent by whom.

A loan is quite acceptable and within the rules.

Ask any Conservative Party Chairman or leader who made this an art form.

The case centres on whether Peerages were guaranteed for the loan.

I've yet to see any form of media link the two. Not even the BBC.

So come on Nck, point the finger at the man who guaranteed a peerage, got a loan and then spent that loan.
Name the Peer who shouldn't be there.

Verdict? No proof whatsoever. It didn't happen in the Labour Party.


  • 3.
  • At 12:24 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

This sounds a look like the words of No11 Downing street! Knows nothing...Hmm...indeed. Who also ran the last election campaign?

Point to note: If Yates doesn't succeed Lord Falconer gave no reason why a private prosecution couldn't proceed.

Very interesting article.

Corruption in the first world??

  • 5.
  • At 03:00 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • George Dutton wrote:

"Coming together with last night's election defeats for George Bush - which are bound to alter the course of the US's strategy on Iraq - it demonstrates how little control Tony Blair has over his current fate".

A popular misconception Nick in reality there is very little difference between Rublicans and Democrats as we all are about to see once again.This has always been the case as demonstrated last night when many commentators said the Democrat running was more right wing then the Rublican candidate they were running against.The main difference between them is only one of presentation the Democrats come across as more softly spoken but as history can testify they are for all intent and purpose just Rublicans under a different name.

  • 6.
  • At 03:16 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Derek Barker wrote:

Where did it all go Blair shaped,IRAQ or CASH FOR HONOURS, none of these i hear the legal pundits cry,just a simple case of MISJUGDEMENT,TO SUM IT UP IN THE WORDS OF A FAMOUS POLITICIAN "A SPECTACULAR O.G." i fear that this will only be the begining of a tortuous road for Tony...........

  • 7.
  • At 03:41 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Chris Wills wrote:

Pedantically speaking, nobody has any control over their fate or it wouldn't be fate. But it is interesting to see how weak Tony Blair has become. I might be imagining things but I get the impression that he no longer directs things and is just reacting to events as they happen. For example over the NHS or Iraq he seems worn down by the negative press. There was a time when his party machine would blitz the media with new initiatives and good news statistics (where is John Reid when you need him?) but Blair now seems to be a sad figure hanging on whilst he seaches for that elusive 'legacy'.

Nick wrote:

"it demonstrates how little control Tony Blair has over his current fate."

Eh????? We are talking Teflon Tone here, the man who gave us Iraq and who is capable of rigging every enquiry and every debate that ever threatens to mess with "The Legacy".

If he is losing control, as you suggest, then somebody important is about to jump overboard to save his skin.

Those of us who want to get him on something - anything, any thing that will rid us of this lying cheating administration - only dream about what you seem to know. Where are you getting your information?

  • 9.
  • At 07:14 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Alice wrote:

It looks a bit like Teflon Tony's warranty might be running out. No wonder he seems to have aged a lot in the last year or two. Still, this is a very interesting time in politics!

  • 10.
  • At 08:27 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • Victor wrote:

Oh yes.

But loans (to benefit from the caveat) need to be on commercial terms. Any analysis of the Labour Party's 2005 Accounts suggests that these were not.

The investigation is wider in scope than merely the 1925 Act.

Hmmm. Gordon Brown is happy to spend money absent the information that tells him where it's come from. Why doesn't that surprise me?

  • 11.
  • At 12:05 PM on 09 Nov 2006,
  • Paul Thacker wrote:

I am tired of arrogant politicians who think that the voters are stupid. Large sums of money come into their reach, but they knew nothing about it. They just spend it without asking questions. I am glad to see that David Mills is to be tried in Italy for corruption, and I hope that Ms Jowell suffers the consequences also. I look forward to British police laying similar charges in this scandal soon. Orwells classic metaphor of politicians beings pigs at a trough may be crude, but it is sadly the truth. Enough is enough.

Nick, I've been impressed, more or less, with your coverage of the loans for peerages business recently. Also, compared to some of your colleagues in the press you are reasonably polite to the PM. Can you keep that up please?

And, just for me, can you start a new blogline entitled - "Who polices the police?". I for one am not at all happy about the high profile of the police investigation and how it seems to be impacting on the government and in particular the PM. And according to your report today, the police are leaking stuff themselves! What's THEIR agenda, then?

It'd be laughable to many other countries that we spend the time, manpower and money trying to find out how the government party (and the opposition too) handle their finances in election campaigns. Meanwhile international drug syndicates and VAT swindlers are losing the talents of Yates and co. There isn't an element of recovering a tarnished reputation here, by any chance? No, I don't mean Blair's - but Yates - reference the famous earlier investigation where the Queen stepped in and spoiled everything for him. Just a thought.

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