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Another piece in a jigsaw

  • Nick
  • 1 Feb 07, 12:59 PM

More information emerges. It is another piece in a jigsaw. The BBC has learned that Lord Levy - Labour's chief fund-raiser - was asked by police about notes of meetings at which he's believed to have discussed honours with senior staff at Downing St. The notes of meetings, which the BBC understands were obtained by police from within No 10, were put to Lord Levy on Tuesday for the first time.

Lord Levy's refused to comment after his arrest on Tuesday but, he's always protested his innocence telling friends that "only one person can nominate people for honours and it isn't me". I think we know what - and who - he's referring to.

That statement

  • Nick
  • 1 Feb 07, 12:27 PM

Here is that statement from Scotland Yard:

"The prime minister has been interviewed briefly to clarify points emerging from the ongoing investigation. He was interviewed as a witness, not as a suspect and co-operated fully.

We requested the meeting was kept confidential for operational reasons. We are not prepared to discuss further."

So we still don't know the reason for the police's request for confidentiality. Could it have been to avoid tipping off Lord Levy who the police questioned four days later? On the other hand, the interview with Levy was fixed with his agreement so this explanation would only hold if the police booked the appointment the day before they arrested him.

PS. What it does show is that for all the talk of leaks, both the police and the politicians kept this one firmly under their hat.

Secret interview

  • Nick
  • 1 Feb 07, 11:30 AM

"Nothing has changed." That's what journalists have been told each and every day when we have asked whether the prime minister has been interviewed by the police.

At this morning's Lobby briefing, a grim-faced Tom Kelly - the prime minister's official spokesman - revealed that, in fact, Tony Blair was questioned as a witness by police for the second time last Friday morning.

Had Kelly misled us? He insisted that he and the entire Number Ten media team were themselves unaware of this news until late yesterday, and therefore he had never knowingly misled journalists. The interview had been kept secret, he said, at the specific request of the Metropolitan Police. We await a statement from them with interest.

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