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No charges

Nick Robinson | 22:52 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2007

Lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service met yesterday to finally conclude how this 16 month investigation into allegations of 'cash for honours' - that went to the very heart of Downing St - would end.

Their conclusion?

That there was simply not enough evidence to bring charges, in particular against the three individuals who came under arrest - Lord Levy (Tony Blair's chief fundraiser, his Middle East envoy, tennis partner and friend), Ruth Turner (the director of government relations when Mr Blair was in Downing St), and businessman Sir Christopher Evans (one of those who'd lent so much money to the Labour party - those secret loans that first produced this extraordinarily damaging investigation).

It's a reprieve* for Tony Blair, but of course, that won't reduce the anger of some of his supporters. I spoke to one of those close to the former PM in the last few hours, who said people cannot overstate just how much damage this did to Mr Blair in his final months in office - he was wounded at a time when he was already under attack, it led to an early exit from Downing Street, and all the while, Mr Blair felt quite unable to defend himself.

There is anger too, of course, from those who came under inquiry. But there is also anger from those who brought the original allegations. Angus MacNeil, the Scottish nationalist MP, has expressed his disbelief, and demanded to know exactly what the police recommendation was to the CPS.

All in all, this is sure to produce a monumental row. Assistant Commissioner John Yates of Scotland Yard will come to the defence of his officers tomorrow, after the announcement is made, insisting as he's always done, that they were simply doing their job - looking into the evidence, and taking so long only because some of that evidence had been concealed.

And let's be honest, there will criticism too of the media, for staging what some close to Tony Blair describe as a witchhunt. At the end of it all, I suspect, rather like at the end of the Hutton Inquiry, there will be no agreement as to whether justice has been done, or whether we are seeing a whitewash - or even, if this matter is truly at an end.

The only agreement that there might be is this - perhaps there needs to be a better way of investigating these sorts of serious allegations.

*Update, 6 December 2007: A reader has challenged the use of the word "reprieve" to describe the decision of the CPS not to bring charges on the grounds that it might have implied guilt. Given that Mr Blair was never questioned as a suspect there was no question of him being charged or, indeed, reprieved in the legal sense. My point was that it was a political reprieve that none of his staff were charged. This judgement from the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit explores this in more detail.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 11:32 PM on 19 Jul 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

The problem is that people like Angus Maceil, the trendy liberals, and, dare I say it, some in the media, is that terrorists are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, but Tony Balir, his advisers, and basically anyone in government, is guilty from the start.

This will be like Hutton all over again - Blair was guilty, someone's been got at, it's a whitewash etc etc. All of this with nothing substantial behind it. But that theory will be fed much more richly than the idea that charges should be proved, and that someone might actually not be guilty. The end result, the contiuing decline of our society into an ever greater state of ungovernabilty. Would you want to work in government? I wouldn't.

ps Nick, credit to you for recognizing that the media will deserve some stick for this. Unfortunately I doubt most of your collegaues, espcailly those off the political beat, will be similarly self-critical.

  • 2.
  • At 11:59 PM on 19 Jul 2007,
  • Frank wrote:

Well said Jack , typical media spin. Scotland Yard should send the bill for 1 Million quid to the SNP headquarters. No 1 Hypocrisy road !

  • 3.
  • At 12:03 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Rachel R wrote:

I agree with Jack.

But 19 months for a police enquiry? I assume it was a police political action designed to humiliate and undermine the government. Let them explain themselves.

And let the media apologise for the unstinting muck they dragged all concerned through.

  • 4.
  • At 12:03 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • iain smith wrote:

I pay compliments to all involved in the investigation.The outcome is in my opinion irrelevent.We can just be greatfull we live in a democracy where serious allegations like this are fully and impartially investigated by the police.Yes there will be anger by t hose who wanted a particular outcome,but at the end of the day I think the public has been well served.As for Tony Blair,I highly doubt that his political fate has been much altered by cash for peerages.He should also be greatful that there was a full investigation that has apparentely led to his name being cleared.

  • 5.
  • At 12:06 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

An attempt at 'a very British coup'. It was indeed trial by media and did huge damage to the government. The importance of this shouldn't be underestimated - we must never allow a situation where the media, or the police for that matter, can bring down an elected government on unproven allegations. In this case, the government was not brought down - though it could be argued Blair left early because of it. However, it is a very very dangerous precedent and we must not let anything like it happen again. The police have some very serious explaining to do, and the rules on this kind of investigation need to be tightened. The media have some apologising to so (not that they'll do so) And everyone should accept the decision. No talk of 'Hutton whitewash all over again'. That's just sour grapes for not getting what you wanted. Blair and the Labour Party have been utterly exonerated. We must accept that. Anyone who thought Blair, Levy etc were guilty must now say, if only to themselves, 'Actually, I was wrong'.

  • 6.
  • At 12:09 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • GCS wrote:

After a week that saw Alastair Campbell's Diaries ridiculed by the 'babble industry', here we have a classic example of the Me-ja at their most toxic. Who among them will now apologise to Blair and other officials caught up and embarassed by all this? Actually, I am starting to think AC let them off lightly. And if they trot out the line about protecting the public will someone point out that not all of us like being patronised? Better off covering ourselves in nuclear waste than accept the Me-ja as our only chance of accountable government.

  • 7.
  • At 12:12 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • edwardbenson wrote:

Brilliant reporting tonight, Mr Robinson. It's a murky business and you're right to suggest there will be blame and recrimination on all sides. But I thought you hit all the right notes and your various reports were a model of even-handedness in very difficult circumstances. Top work.

terrorists are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty

Think under Labour you got that the wrong way around. 90 detention for corrupt politicians anyone?

  • 9.
  • At 12:19 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mo wrote:

"cannot overstate just how much damage this did to Mr Blair in his final months"

"he was wounded at a time when he was already under attack"

"led to an early exit from Downing Street"


Well even if there are no charges brought against anyone, at least we can console ourselves with it having caused the man a great deal of discomfort

  • 10.
  • At 12:20 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Margaret Layden wrote:

so - no charges were brought - what a surprise - I think not? Did we expect anything less that those in high positions of the government would be made accountable - surely not! Of course, I am speaking as an 'ordinary member of the public' with no assumptions on titles or suchlike - 'Oh what a tangled web we weave......' Is it any wonder that communities do not come out to vote at elections when we can clearly see the corruption involved - why hundreds of thousands were ignored when they protested against the war in Iraq (i am sorry to say that I was not present at that time) The death of Dr Kelly has a question mark over many many people. Which also broaches on the subject of the 'Alistair Campbell' diaries - why do we give this person the exposure he is desparately seeking - after all he was implicit in many of the aspects of the 'new labour'administration he claimed to serve - and despite the fact that I hold no loyalties to any particular part - is this just not not morally wrong to maintain a diary and then sell it for profit - what kind of man is he - and certainly it is not a subjective account - apologies as i digress from the original posting - however there is perhaps a link somehwere !!!

  • 11.
  • At 12:32 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Anthony wrote:

"At the end of it all, I suspect, rather like at the end of the Hutton Inquiry, there will be no agreement as to whether justice has been done, or whether we are seeing a whitewash - or even, if this matter is truly at an end."

There won't be that sort of agreement because that would involve the media admitting they were wrong and - with a couple of broadsheet exceptions + the BBC - that's something they've never known how to do.

As someone said higher up, Labour politicians are always guilty for the press: even if Ł1m has gone into showing that they aren't.

  • 12.
  • At 12:39 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Steven Palmer wrote:

It would have been better if Ł1m had been spent on dealing with with real crimes. The police were in an almost impossible position; forced to investigate a complaint from the SNP which was concerned more with political advantage than with a concern for justice and the media just jumped in. Politically the investigation has certainly damaged Tony Blair, perhaps even more it has damaged people's view of politics and politicians. Lest we forget, peerages have been given as political awards to party supporters for many years, including to people who have made substantial donations to political parties. Is this a good thing? Probably not, but to be honest this is not something to lose sleep over.

  • 13.
  • At 12:48 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Scottish Politics wrote:

I believe that justice has to be done and to be seen to be done. Nobody should be above the law. There is a latin phrase which translates as "Let justice be done though the heavens fall" which sums it up nicely. Whether justice has indeed been done is now very much a matter of public debate and it will be interesting to see what the police recommendations to the CPS were and whether these were acted upon adequately or arbitrarily swept aside. To many, this will seem like the establishment protecting their own.

  • 14.
  • At 12:50 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Gary Gatter wrote:

No mention of the Tories at all in any of this, the loans idea was a Tory invention. We still don't know the full list of those who loaned money to the Tories because they were paid back the money so that their names would not be revealed. We never hear any of this is the news, why not?

  • 15.
  • At 12:56 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

Mr McNeil "demanding" to know the police's recommendation to the CPS obviously does not understand how the modern justice system works. The police do not recommend, they are the investigators, the evidence) or lack of it) gatherers, the poor blokes who have to follow up any and all allegations with equal weight and gravity. They do not make decisions on charging this is entirely up to the CPS. That kind of comment is just another reason why the police are unfairly vilified, an easy scapegoat with no voice to answer back.

Check your facts and don't be so quick to pint the finger of blame when things don't go the way you think they should.

  • 16.
  • At 12:57 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Howard wrote:

If there are to be no charges then why not publish the evidence? let us make our own minds up. Left as it is, its open season now for the conspiracy theorists and the 'Tony Blair is a liar, its all a whitewash' brigade.

Lets face it, 'Cash for Honours' is, of course, a loaded tag, born out of wishful thinking from the media. Perhaps after the new truth regime has swept through the BBC the affair will be given the new title of 'The 2006 attempted slur' - unlikely? yes biased? yes but no more so than 'Cash for Honours'

  • 17.
  • At 01:08 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Dick wrote:

Not enough evidence to bring charges doesn't mean there is no evidence.

  • 18.
  • At 01:09 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Stuart Geoffrey wrote:

It is way past time for ALL honours awarded to Politicians by Politicians to be abandoned.
It should not be within the remit of Politicians to decide whom the Queen or reigning Monarch chooses to award an honour.
Certainly the Monarch (should the system be retained) be advised, but not compelled to accept that advice.
The whole system has got completely out of hand.

  • 19.
  • At 01:18 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Robert Carnegie wrote:

What are national honours for, but to be sold, for cash or for political support? Regularly for decades before Tony Blair's premiership, the Tory, Labour and Liberal parties all put up for honours their particular friends. But of all things that could be sold, letters after the name are most harmless. National industries, the education system, the railways, the free press - if these are sold then real damage is done.

  • 20.
  • At 01:21 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Euan wrote:

Well I'm sure we will get the usual cries of whitewash and so forth come tomorrows papers. However, on a slightly more sour note, it does seem like an awful lot time and effort has go into this from all parties involved (or not), only for the outcome to be a draw. In fact, it's a bit like cricket.

  • 21.
  • At 01:27 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Joseph wrote:

The cash for honours fiasco has done unimaginable damage to politics in this country. Thanks for Yates and his bandy of snarling men, every little police officer now thinks it's their job to crucify politicians of all levels in this country - encouraging disgraceful trouble makers like the SNP and the Fib Dem party. McNeil should be charged with wasting police time. Let this serve as a warning to crack pot political parties who can't win their fights in the polling station and the debating chamber.

  • 22.
  • At 01:29 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Ali C wrote:

Can't Brown get anything right? Cameron could have been crushed by the Ealing Southall result - yet they put out what is going to be seen by everyone as a whitewash on the same day. Not great news management Gordon.

Look at the Hutton inquiry, a great triumph for the forces of right - but all people think is that the government chose a biddable Ulster judge to say that black was white. As If!

That Diana she really fancied me, you know. I'm off for a cry now.

  • 23.
  • At 01:36 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Thomas K.Munn wrote:

The initial premise of the inquiry was doomed from the start. The Honours System is for rewarding those making contributions to the benefit of the nation. Naturally the Government of the day should be able to thank those who helped keep it in office or put it out of office if not deemed satisfactory.
What is of far greater concern is the farce of Metronet and PPP's in general where huge sums are creamed off at the start of a contract for payment to so called shareholders of the Thatcher type. Originally, a shareholder was somebody who put capital into a business at startup and therefore ran great risk of not getting a return on investments. The thatcher system seems to guarantee a return even if the firm fails.

  • 24.
  • At 01:57 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Alan Girvan wrote:

Jack, please don't blame anyone other than the current Regime, everything they have touched has turned to dust. Air Traffic Control System over budget, CSA useless, epidemic of MRSA, BAE inquiry squashed, cushy little contracts given out to Capita and EDS (like the Tories did) for hopeless IT, not to mention Inland Revenue, Tax Credit Fiasco, WMD's missing in action, Afghanistan, Military living in run down housing, increased Taxes, out of control immigration, surrender to the EU...don't think I need to go on.

Oh hold on Smith Institute, Postal Vote Fraud "like a Banana Republic" as the Judge said, this really has been the most incompetent traitorous Government in History and its shameful that the British (and more so the English) are too spineless and cowed by Political Correctness living on "illusionary" money that will all come crashing down when the Pyramid collapses.

  • 25.
  • At 01:59 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

"Perhaps there needs to be a better way of investigating these sorts of serious allegations".

Better than a police investigation led by a very senior officer?

The only issue with this investigation is that it has been polluted by a media beat-up from start to finish. In my view journalism does far more damage to the fibre of the country than politics does. Let's remember, politicians have actually got to go to the trouble of getting elected every few years. All journalists need to do is to keep churning out "news", whatever the consequences.

  • 26.
  • At 02:07 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Chris Blore wrote:

Is it just me or does anyone else find it very convenient that this was released after the polls had already closed in today's by-elections?

My RSS feeder link to this post was the first source I had on this news. My initial reaction is; sixteen months and no charges?
What have they been playing at?
This sentiment can be applied to either the police in their investigation, or the CPS in their conclusion - one of the two must be at fault.

  • 28.
  • At 02:34 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

Believe it or not, this matter was investigated as thoroughly as possible, by people who are completely independent of "politics"... The end result: there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute. Simple as that. No cover up; no conspiracy theory; no whitewash. All involved in the investigation were thoroughly decent, honest, professional people who were simply doing their job. Thankfully they did their job well. We can all sleep easy, knowing that those we have elected to power are not above the law and, on this occasion, they have been subjected to the utmost scrutiny possible.

  • 29.
  • At 02:56 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

If I was working for the BBC, I'd give stories of deceit and corruption a wide berth for the next week or two, don't you think?

  • 30.
  • At 03:55 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I would very much like to see the SNP investigated for wasting police time.

I also wonder about the integrity of the Brownites of the Labour Party.

Is it a coincidence that the investigation closed just a few weeks after Blair's enforced departure?

As for the media ... dirty.

All should be ashamed of themselves.

Apologise.

  • 31.
  • At 04:09 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Woah, Jack! In case you hadn't noticed, terrorists /are/ assumed to be guilty and held without charge. The Hutton enquiry /did/ turn out to be a whitewash after all, after it was too late to save those booted out.

In case you hadn't noticed, Blair was presumed to be guilty because him and his government have shown us that they probably are - who, except you Jack, could forget the F1 fiasco, the super-casinos, the Mitals, the Saudi bribes, the cynical character assasination of the old lady protesting about hospitals, using terrorism laws to deal with harmless hecklers...

Blair is merely reaping what he's spent far more than 45 minutes sowing.

  • 32.
  • At 04:18 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Lee Braddock wrote:

I hope we get apologies from those in the media, yes you the Daily Mail, the Sunday Times, Mr Robinson, for your false, misleading & dis honourable claims. But I doubt it. They will claim whitewash etc because its not the result they want. Thank god they will never have any power or say.

  • 33.
  • At 04:24 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Debbie Davies wrote:

Looking for the positive, the government has had first hand experience of the powers the police have. Hopefully they'll remember this when the police ask for more powers, as they generally do. Nick, I notice you keep saying in your reports that evidence was concealed from the police. Isn't that an offence?

  • 34.
  • At 05:09 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • brian wrote:

Whilst all concerned are apparently not guilty of any criminal charges.One has to remember that this was an exercise in keeping donors names secret.The fascinating sight of a political party turning down donations but accepting loans instead.

As TB came in promising to be "whiter than white" he cannot be surprised at the cynicism of certain section of the general public.

So lets not have too much of the claiming of the moral high ground here.

Once again the media is under scrutiny,a familiar tale of late.Not the biggest villan in the piece-but an easy target in the forthcoming blame game.

  • 35.
  • At 05:33 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Gordon wrote:

I agree with Iain on the point of Tony Blair's political fate, he hung on for far longer than was expected or indeed beneficial for the country, whatever his allys say.

  • 36.
  • At 06:00 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • John Francis wrote:

"Angus MacNeil, the Scottish nationalist MP, has expressed his disbelief"

The police have looked impartially into cash for honours for nineteen months. There was no evidence as there was no crime and thus no charges will be brought.

MacNeil obviously presumed guilt on no evidence and now cannot accept the outcome of the inquiry. This reflects badly on his judgement.

  • 37.
  • At 06:09 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • David O'Leary wrote:

Why did the Ten O'Clock News suggest last night that the investigation had ended without a result? The result was obvious - people were cleared of wrong-doing. But then it wasn't the result that the media wanted, I suppose...

The media and the BBC has a big role to play in restoring trust in politicians - and not pre-judging police investigations or raking people's names through the mud would be a good start. Given this week's revelations, maybe it's time the BBC got its own house in order first.

  • 38.
  • At 06:33 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mark Lynch wrote:

I suppose we can now look forward to the steady drip of leaks as juicy titbits from the case file get leaked into the newspapers. This is going to be entertaining.

  • 39.
  • At 06:34 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Roger Pring wrote:

Isn't this similar to the way the peers bought their titles in the middle ages; by giving money to the king.

  • 40.
  • At 06:38 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Ubi wrote:

I think we may be confident that both the official and unofficial police view will quickly enter the public domain.

  • 41.
  • At 06:39 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Rohan wrote:

I've made no secret in the past (in posts that surprisingly never seem to get published!) that I don't think much of Nick Robinson or of the stance he takes on matters. However, this item is by all measures fair, balanced and exemplary. So, whether you publish this or not, that has to be said.
The indignation and/or disbelief of the original SNP complainant is merely a manifestation of a phenomenon that seems quite common in public life these days: the inability to enetertain, far less accept, that one could have been wrong in one's initial supposition.

  • 42.
  • At 07:01 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Rev Dr John Cameron wrote:

If nothing else, the long police investigation was a shot across the bows of the most devious and tarnished government since that of Lloyd George.

  • 43.
  • At 07:18 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • John L wrote:

Nick, I don't think the way forward is to find another way of investigating these matters. Rather, we need to take the temptation away from politicians from across the spectrum. An elected 2nd chamber is the only way to go.

This has been a tawdry affair with both sides (the police & friends of Tony) running to the media in a tit for tat manner. Why the CPS didn't pursue the matter will be a cause for speculation but my impression is that the mechanism of cash for honours would have to be judged on the balance of probability. That isn't enough for our judicial system which requires decisions being beyond reasonable doubt.

So lets remove the opportunities for corruption rather than waiting for it to occur. If you look at the recent crime figures for burglary, it has fallen due mainly to a concerted campaign to remove the temptation as it is an opportunistic crime. Throughout the country, local authorities are improving the environment (such as better lighting, alley-gating etc).

Lets treat politicians in the same manner. Remove the temptation and corruption cannot occur. The police investigation may well serve our political system well if the politicians understand the memo.

  • 44.
  • At 07:21 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Geoffrey White wrote:

Why must honours be 'recommended' by the government and civil service? Would it not be fairer to return to the original purpose of the system - an honour awarded by the monarch to someone who pleased the monarch? The present system must surely cause Her Majesty to wince many times when she sees the list.
Failing this, could we not have a scale of fixed charges if an honours nominee decides to accept? This, by the way, is the system here in Finland where the treasury, not a political party, is enriched by those accepting certain titles. I think the future Lord Blair could be pushed for a million:-). Geoff, Helsinki

  • 45.
  • At 07:38 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Vaughan Jones wrote:

Iain Smith: "impartially investigated"

You think there was impartiality about the dawn raids on the homes of those suspected? The police can hardly bring themselves to raid the homes of suspected terrorists before 10am.

"I highly doubt that his political fate has been much altered by cash for peerages"

Even though his closest advisors has suggested this is the case, you stil believe you have information to the contrary? Perhaps you never watched PMQ's?

"He should also be greatful that there was a full investigation that has apparently led to his name being cleared"

I think it was clear all along that the ghost of Lloyd George was never in the sights of the Labour Party in this.

I think it is clear the public have not been well served because it was a 16 month investigation that cost countless pounds of taxpayers money for a SNP propaganda campaign to raise profiles. I think this will go down in history as one of the most ridiculous attempts to discredit a government.

  • 46.
  • At 07:43 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Alan Whitham wrote:

Robinson seems to suggest that no charges is "no result" (see BBC website report" what happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? Or is Robinson showing his personal/political leanings? The BBC reporting impartial? No it still has a Hutton axe to grind.

I agree with Iain Smith's comment and am particularly thankful that we have not yet adopted the EU's preferred system of inquisitorial magistrates who treat you as guilty before any evidence is produced.

The police had a job to do - I have no doubt they did it to the best of their ability - it is not their job to prosecute only to collect what evidence they can.

I don't think they are even able to make a specific recommendation - only present their evidence to the CPS.

The CPS are the lawyers - they know the law and they know what will and what won't stand up in court.

Here we have a classic case of innocent until proven guilty - even arrests signify nothing more than a ratcheting up of pressure on suspects where there is reasonable suspicion of (but not necessarily evidence of) a crime.

Let the police do their job and the CPS do theirs. If they conclude there is no case to answer - or not one that will stand up in court then so be it.

If you don't like the outcome that might have something more to do with your prejudice and not the merits of the case. Unless you know all the facts - as collected and presented by the police - you are in no position to judge the decision of the CPS.

  • 48.
  • At 08:13 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • David Evans wrote:

It is hard to accept the idea that they could have chosen to prosecute but they didn't. It is again an issue of the court of public opinion being the more important one, and that public figures are denied justice by those demanding it.

You're right though, nobody is happy, and that is a good indication things were done properly. The onus, then, is on the media to stay their dissapointment as a non-story and not try to create (or entertain) a story of cover-up to make up for it.

  • 49.
  • At 08:15 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Rob S wrote:

The CPS has not actually made a formal announcement, but we find this story emanating from three major news organisations.

None of the stories have actually reported what the CPS or the Police found so they are missing a vital bit of balanced information - and therefore do not represent good journalism.

Yet again, the Blair and Brown Broadcasting Corporation comes into to save them.

There is no smoke without fire, and we as the taxpaying public need to know why the investigation was delayed by meddling politicians...was evidence hidden/deleted?

  • 50.
  • At 08:15 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Concerned Licence Payer wrote:

Once again our democratically elected government is found innocent of allegations. So what happens now? The BBC continue a trial by television. How much longer do we have to put up with this unelected organisation, which we pay for, conducting their own political agenda and getting it wrong. Increasingly, the elected government represent our views, not the BBC.

  • 51.
  • At 09:13 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Stephen Eggleston wrote:

There may be no evidence that honours were given for cash, but fact remains that Labour actively connived to circumvent their own rules on political donations by disguising them as non-disclosable loans instead of openly accepting donations. It is this deceit at the heart of the government that has done so much to dent their credibility, especially as they came to power on a platform of cleaning up politics.

  • 52.
  • At 09:14 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Terry wrote:


It wasn't so long ago that a young girl was hauled before the court several times to answer a charge of for twanging another girl's bra strap. On this occasion, in spite of a long investigation and accusations of corruption, destruction of evidence, interference etc etc., nothing is to be tested in court. Great to see the CPS has its priorities right.

  • 53.
  • At 09:16 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • archie wrote:

The police and CPS acted as they should have done, investigating the allegations as thorougly as necessary.

The same can't be said for the original complainer Angus MacNeil, who set off this whole investigation as a political stunt, without having any evidence to back it up, and popped up after every 'leak' to offer a running commentary on the ongoing investigation.

If Mr McNeil is still keen for prosecutions, isn't there still an offence of wasting police time that he could be charged with ?

  • 54.
  • At 09:20 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Just a few thoughts:

1. Why do the Police never show such commitment in genuine crimes that hurt ordinary people?

2. Will the SNP now be charged with wasting Police time - or can anyone get an investigiation funded by English Taxpayers these days no matter how ridiculous?

3. After Blue Peter and Pudsey Bear will John Humphreys and the Today programme apologise for spending the last 16 months implying on a daily basis everyone was guilty irrespective of facts?

4. If the Upper House was elected this wouldn't have even been an issue.

5. The findings will be immaterial to those who regard Blair as the source of all evil - so I imagine we will be treated to weeks more tax-payer funded speculation on the BBC - if we're really unlucky we'll get a lot of "docu-dramas" "proving" everyone's guilt - despite the facts.

  • 55.
  • At 09:20 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Kev wrote:

I think it is best to wait and see what the CPS has to say on this matter. If there were no grounds for prosecution then fine, what we have is the exposure of 'Spanish Practices' in politics that just need to be cleaned up and all the alleged conspiritors are exonerated. If however the CPS does have a solid case but is not prosecuting becuase it is, in their view, not in the public interest then I believe the CPS leaders should be hauled in from of a select committee to explain why.

  • 56.
  • At 09:22 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

I understand that there are considerations here that may be more important than that dubious actions of establishment individuals are put on public display through the courts. It's not just the individuals who would be on trial, it's the credibility of the institutions that they represent. So, just as in Hutton, there's a reasonable argument that exposure of the reality of the matter is not in the wider public interest.

What we must have instead, though, is a system of self-regulation, within the establishment itself, that governs the behaviour of it's individuals. We need to create an ambience in which it is clearly understood that integrity of character is an absolute and irreducible requirement. If the current crop of individuals are unwilling to be subject to such an arrangement let's boot them out and replace them with those who are.

  • 57.
  • At 09:23 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • archie wrote:

The police and CPS acted as they should have done, investigating the allegations as thorougly as necessary.

The same can't be said for the original complainer Angus MacNeil, who set off this whole investigation as a political stunt, without having any evidence to back it up, and popped up after every 'leak' to offer a running commentary on the ongoing investigation.

If Mr McNeil is still keen for prosecutions, isn't there still an offence of wasting police time that he could be charged with ?

  • 58.
  • At 09:23 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Matthew Hawksworth wrote:

Political leaders have been selling power and influence for years (whichever party is in power); the only thing that surprised me in this case was that the money was flowing into party accounts and not straight into the bank accounts of the corrupt politicians.

Of course if the method of political funding changes than perhaps the investigation will have had some value, although it would have been nice to see it change because it is the "right thing to do" rather than because the government has been embarrassed.

And of course there will still be plenty of overpaid directorships available for ex politicians who have eased the way for rich and powerful businesses so influence will always be available to the highest bidder, just the method of payment changes from time to time.

  • 59.
  • At 09:26 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Alex Gilmore wrote:

As was the same for Hutton, justice has been served. The police spent their time investigating and the CPS have come to their decision. A lot of people are just going to have to come to terms with this.

The media report that it is the politicians fault for the aura of non trust in those people. However yest again, a lot of fuss has been made over nothing, a lot of money has been wasted.

Nick, I am glad that you admit that people like yourself in the media, will need to look at themselves long and hard after this.

The presumption of guilty from the off has to change, and the media need to start giving an objective view on things like this, rather than "creating" the story which will sell the next paper, or get the public to watch the next news show.

It is the media's fault disillusionment with politics is growing and trust in politicians is falling, and it is the media who will have to sort it.

BTW - where are the legions of people who jumped on the guilty bandwagon, now. All gone back to their holes i think. I bet if the CPS had decided otherwise, there would have been many, many people up on their high horse over this, and we would never hear the end. But when someone is innocent, due apology is never given.

  • 60.
  • At 09:30 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • rob lee wrote:


Should the police reclaim the monies

from the Scottish Nationalist party

or Mr Salmon MP

  • 61.
  • At 09:34 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Dave Smith wrote:

Unbelievable comment to make from Nick Robison, 'just like with the Hutton enquiry' there will be no agreement. More like, exactly like the Hutton enquiry, the Goverment cleared after the BBC has been continually smearing the honesty of politicians, and then shocked when someone suggests that they themselves are not honest. I seem to remember that the BBC's Head of News offered its reporters cash bribes for anyone breaking stories about this investigation. If I was one of the 'accused' in this trial by media, I would be seriously thinking about taking libel action against both the BBC and the Daily Mail, who have both led this witchhunt.

  • 62.
  • At 09:38 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • giannir wrote:

Now come on! Did anybody really think that the outcome of this inquiry would be different from all the others? Let us be grateful that it ended and it stopped at 1 million Pounds.

  • 63.
  • At 09:38 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • P d T d wrote:

People thought the enquiry into the death of Dr Kelly was a whitewash, because the transcripts were published on the web for all to read. Everyone who read the transcripts could see that there was more to the affair than what Hutton's brief allowed him to look into, which led to calls of whitewash. With this police enquiry, all we have seen is the media hype. With the sensationalist based journalism we have today this is par for the course. It is a shame journalists no longer give facts, nor informed opinion, but just sensationalist entertainment which has little founding in truth or accuracy, which they then call news.

  • 64.
  • At 09:39 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

I understand that there are considerations here that may be more important than that dubious actions of establishment individuals are put on public display through the courts. It's not just the individuals who would be on trial, it's the credibility of the institutions that they represent. So, just as in Hutton, there's a reasonable argument that exposure of the reality of the matter is not in the wider public interest.

What we must have instead, though, is a system of self-regulation, within the establishment itself, that governs the behaviour of it's individuals. We need to create an ambience in which it is clearly understood that integrity of character is an absolute and irreducible requirement. If the current crop of individuals are unwilling to be subject to such an arrangement let's boot them out and replace them with those who are.

  • 65.
  • At 09:44 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Strange how the "I smoked cannabis" confessions and subsequent rent-a-quotes came on the same day...good day to bury bad news (just in case)? Oh I am a cynic...! But the whole Cash For Honours affair has just added to the already unpopular view the public has as to what goes on in Government. No one will ever believe New Labour is not corrupt on a scale that makes sleezy money filled envelopes under the Tories seem like a walk in the park. That is the biggest outcome of the investigation.

  • 66.
  • At 09:46 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Yewjaybee wrote:

I am one of those who would very much like to know what the Police recommendations were. The very fact that they were compelled to take so long 'only because some of that evidence had been concealed' is bound to make any thinking person ask what there was TO conceal.
The Labour party is Millions of pounds in debt (Not Euros, thank goodness!) and I personally do not think that any party who cannot control their own finances better than that should be allowed to run the country. ALL parties putting themselves up for election should at least be solvent.

  • 67.
  • At 09:59 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I agree with Iain Smith, we should be grateful that we live in a society that has a police force prepared to investigate the State.
But does anyone feel that the AG had some influence with the decison not to bring any charges?
Also Dennis McShane's comments were laughable, the law that pariliment passed after the last cash for honours scandel made it against the law to sell peerages for donations. Therefore why would the police not be informed, if there were a suspcion of this happening today?

  • 68.
  • At 10:00 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mark Fretwell wrote:

Whats important in politics above all else is peoples perception of reality not reality itself.

I believe Tony Blair made a fatal error in not fully reforming the house of lords & honours system in his first few years in office after proclaiming he wanted to be 'whiter than white'. Even if TB and his aids are totally innocent in this case, the honour system is so open to abuse, that some mud was bound it stick eventually.

I hope Gordon will learn from Tonys mistake and reform the lot(lords,honours & party finance) so he can be above suspicion and also be SEEN to be above suspicion

  • 69.
  • At 10:01 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I agree with Iain Smith, we should be grateful that we live in a society that has a police force prepared to investigate the State or political party for any "alleged" wrongdoing.
But does anyone feel that the AG had some influence with the decision not to bring any charges?
Also Dennis McShane's comments were laughable, the law that parliament passed after the last cash for honours scandal made it against the law to sell peerages for donations. Therefore why would the police not be informed if there were a suspicion of this happening today?

  • 70.
  • At 10:01 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

I like most thought this story was going to go no where. At the start of this the media spun it as not illegal but hey this system is morally questionable, and i agreed. So file a new policy, get it sorted and everyone move on. It wasn't until, as nick has wrote evidence had been concealed did this story get really dark.

Because of this concealment Tony Blair and his advisers have no one to blame but themselves for having their names dragged through the mud. When Scotland Yard wants to see something that is part of an investigation, even the prime minister must comply. In a truly democratic society no one is above the law.

  • 71.
  • At 10:03 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Philip Hatcher wrote:

Some of the News Media will be disappointed because they did not get the result they wanted. But we should
not be surprised at the outcome,Politics is like so called reality TV plenty of noise but little substance.

  • 72.
  • At 10:07 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • John Constable wrote:

It is jumping the gun a bit as various interested parties have not yet had their say.

But, there is no doubt that the investigation was obstructed, which must be the prime reason why it dragged on so long.

So the fundamental question is - why were the police being obstructed?

Was it simply due to arrogance or did they really have something to hide?

If there truly was something to hide, then it would have been ridiculous to prosecute any of the three people 'in the frame' and somehow exclude Mr. Blair.

Many will suspect that that is the reason for this outcome.

  • 73.
  • At 10:10 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

Why is it whenever the government get exonerated by enquiries (and they have on every occasion) its called a "whitewash?

I think people need to accept that nothing corrupt happened. Nothing illegal took place. There were no backhanders for peerages. Fact.

Unless blood is spilled the media just aren't satisfied.

No doubt later today, Nick Robinson will be stood outside Downing Street telling Huw Edwards "Well Huw, the demon that is Tony Blair has been cleared", But in typical media-hype fashion he will add "But this isn't over yet. There's almost certainly going to be an enquiry by MP's. Watch this space Huw, he may not be Prime Minister anymore but we'll get him yet."

  • 74.
  • At 10:14 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Dave Blake wrote:

This just goes to prove what I have always known. This government is totally innocent of any wrong doing, from Hutton to Cash for Honours and all those other spiteful, nasty inquiries. They are truly whiter than white, in fact, thoroughly washed in it.

I’m sure that those who dwell in what Jeremy Paxman aptly called (when interviewing Guido Fawkes) a “pathetic conspiracy world” will refuse to accept the result of this lengthy enquiry just as people refused to believe the conclusions of the Hutton enquiry.

As an earlier commenter has pointed out, it’s tragic that some people seem eager to believe that terror suspects and nearly everyone else arrested by the police must all be innocent but that public figures must nearly all be guilty...

  • 76.
  • At 10:16 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Richard Marriott wrote:

Just goes to show that the British establishment is alive and kicking and will always close ranks to protect its own. It was the same with the Hutton Whitewash. It is clear that the checks and balances in the British constitution no longer work (if they ever did).

  • 77.
  • At 10:17 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Andrew C wrote:

How on earth DO you prove or disprove that there was an agreement to exchange one thing for another? Unless there is a written contract, it is very difficult, and you can really draw two possible conclusions :

a) the police were trawling the mud just because they had a political agenda, OR

b) they found lots of hints that something had gone on, but never quite got enough for evidence in court.

And I suppose there could be lots of grey areas in between these two - but my sense - based on the governments record of doing business behind closed doors - is that (b) is closer to the truth than (a)

  • 78.
  • At 10:21 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • David Oddie wrote:

It seems to me Angus MacNeil can be summed as up as a "never mind the quality feel the width" man. He seems to think because the police and CPS have reviewed 6300 documents and spent 16 months on the investigation then the law must have been broken.

He should resign. I believe he made these unfounded allegations outside parliament and if I were one of those who have had their names dragged through the mud I'd make him regret not using his parliamentry privilege.

  • 79.
  • At 10:21 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • KP wrote:

Politicians, probably more than any other walk of life, depend on their reputation. It cannot be right that such damage can be done merely based on allegations, but modern media allows it to be so. You only have to look at the BBC's 'Have your say' (on almost any given debate!) and at some point 'Cash for Peerages' is thrown in as evidence of the Government's dishonesty, when as we now know the evidence isn't there to justify the allegations. I think the BBC should be very careful in how it moderates these discussion boards, especially when allegations relating to an ongoing investigation are stated as fact.

  • 80.
  • At 10:22 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mad Max wrote:

Are there lessons to be learned from this?

Yes!

The source of the bad smell was never clearly identified.

Conclusion!

Vote New Labour for a cleaner, healthier lifestyle, its a sort of class A drug.

  • 81.
  • At 10:28 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Asher wrote:

Frank and Jack are right. This 'storm in a teacup' has been a waste of time and public money. It smacks not only of a 'Hate Blair' syndrome, but also anti-semitism.

  • 82.
  • At 10:34 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Ptah wrote:

Curious logic by Jack you old dare devil - the media eh, I assume that when *you* use the word 'terrorists' you mean brown people... muslims... etc, should be banged up without a fair trial whereas our ex prime minister, a man who has ditched democracy and invited a corporate occupation of parliament should be spared. I bet you love Anne Coulter.

I accuse you of being the trendy liberal for blithely accepting such a dumb status quo argument. Activists and people who question Blair do so because they have an affinity with democracy and are prepared to fight for it, and the civil liberties it promises to deliver. Please don't confuse some hippie ethic here - our democracy was hard fought for over hundreds of years, no one is going to roll over just because some hedge fund wants an office in number 11 downing st.

The challenge going forward is to remove corporate influence from governent and also to clean up the financial mess created by equity groups etc. Conflicts of interest have emerged during the last 20 years of politics which creates problems our democracy was never designed to deal with. The CPS says no crime was committed in this incident, yet as those involved are experts in law they will know how not to cross the line, but as the law makers they are therefore in a precarious position and outcomes such as this are problems of there own making.

  • 83.
  • At 10:37 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Keith wrote:

Let's have an inquiry into the consequences of Scots businessman and Stagecoach owner, Brian Souter's �500k contribution to the SNP. Did they not then change their policy on bus re-regulation in their May 2007 manifesto? I think that we should be told!

  • 84.
  • At 10:40 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Rachel wrote:

I don't feel that the results of the enquiry can be judged against the length of time it took for them to be reached, although I agree with Nick Robinson that it suggests that better procedures need to be in place in investigate such serious allegations. Of course the man who first brought up the allegations is going to be angry, but one has to feel it has more to do with his own embarrassment at being so publically proved wrong and his doubting of the police and the force's integrity does not do any favours to any of those concerned. And as for Tony Blair, his name has been cleared and from this point forward such a story surrounded by such media chaos is totally irrelevant to the work he shall be doing in the future.

  • 85.
  • At 10:44 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Hayden Clark wrote:

Oh, come on! Would Scotland Yard have kept going for so long unless they thought there was going to be some kind of case at the end? They must have know how bad this result would look for them so I suspect they genuinely expected the CPS to take it up.
I presume the CPS felt obliged for some reason to use the same skewed way of looking at the evidence as the Hutton enquiry. I spent some time reading that evidence, as it was published. How Lord Hutton came to his conclusions, based on the evidence I read is a mystery.

  • 86.
  • At 10:53 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Anon wrote:

The media is the same as ever. They cannot accept that the government has been proved Innocent again. Just like last time, its ok for everyone else to be innocent, but the government just has to be guilty from the start. Then they complain about the disillusionment of society?

Why cant people just accept the decision which is that there are NO charges? From the start everyone has denied wrongdoing and they have been proved RIGHT.

'Innocent until proven guilty' was a joke in this investigation. It was the media who did all the damage - and completely unfairly.

The police behaved unprofessionally. Leaking information, spinning to the media and in the end no charges.
They were trying to humiliate the government and have failed - but thanks to the lying media they gave the impression on guilt before anything could have been proved - which is wasnt.

Its not the politicians who have led to a weaking of trust. Its the media, but oh no they are never to blame.

Why people cannot accept the govenment is innocent i cannot understand.

  • 87.
  • At 11:04 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Frankie Reilly wrote:

Only people that share your narrow view of the world get their comments admitted eh? I'll stick to media lens

  • 88.
  • At 11:07 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

You certainly have attracted some pro Blair people on here Nick. Shocking.

  • 89.
  • At 11:12 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Nick, doesn't it get on your nerves, as it does mine, when people sloppily keep referring to this entity called "the media"? Surely most of the criticism should be aimed at the newspaper industry, particulary those titles with a fondness for sensational, and dare I say it, sometimes hysterical headlines. Well done to you and your BBC colleagues for keeping level-headed through stories such as these.

  • 90.
  • At 11:43 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Malcolm Parker wrote:

A perfectly acceptable outcome that will satisfy nobody and devalues everyone involved.

Will the media admit to 'trial by media', assuming people are guilty unless proved innocent?
Will the politicians admit that 'secret loans' from people you subsequently honour are rather difficult obstacles to justify when you want to maintain public trust?
Will the police admit that high profile arrests are not justified in a case that is so politically sensative.
The two issues that really need to be addressed are how political parties are funded and the independance of the Honours system.

  • 91.
  • At 11:46 AM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • sandymac wrote:

I agree with other posts that SNP be made to pay for wasting police time to gain political advantage. 50 years of Labour advantage in Scotland and SNP needed to do something to break peoples trust, is this the 'low skullduggery' Tony Blair spoke of? SNP are lower than I believed.

  • 92.
  • At 12:37 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

What a pity they were not locked up for 90 days without charge while the police decided they were innocent - like they do to the innocent 'terrorists' they lock up without charge before quietly releasing them.

  • 93.
  • At 12:39 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Duncan wrote:

Is it just me or do a lot of these comments smell of new labour?

  • 94.
  • At 12:46 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Melanie wrote:

Well, Nick would know all about the criticism the press will come in for, knowing full well himself the part he has played in this fiasco. On the radio this morning he couldn't resist mentioning unproven and untested evidence, despite the body with all the relevant material, the CPS, deciding that there is not even a case to answer.

  • 95.
  • At 12:48 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • J Westermanj wrote:

The hypocrites are in full spate. Who believes that large gifts or loans to political parties do not influence the honours list?
The question is why this inquiry did not go into the activities of all political parties over the last 50 years instead of being used in the character assassination of Tony Blair. It is certainly not like our spotless media to miss an opportunity to rake up muck from the past. Why were they so self- sacrificing on this occasion? The whole business is a farce and a diabolical waste of taxpayers money.

  • 96.
  • At 12:48 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Al wrote:

Inspector Knacker and his army of cops and spin doctors have have blown the thick end of a million quid on a politicaly motivated complaint. It's been open season on the Govt - and the BBC with it's use of "cash for honours" slogans has not been slow at putting the boot in. You were at it again last night with a big caption on the 10. What cash for honours? Repeating an allegation doesn't mean it's true. Where is your evidence??

  • 97.
  • At 01:20 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Barrie wrote:

Politicians are accountable to the public, editors and jounalists are not. Regardless of right and wrong, there have been extreme consequences for the 'innocent' likes of Levy, Blair and Anderson. What will be the consequences for the witch-hunting editors and jounalists? None. The Hutton verdict on journalistic integrity was spot on then, and is every bit as valid now.

  • 98.
  • At 01:47 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Shaun Dickinson wrote:

Inmy opinion the idea that there was an unbiased way to report this or any media story , indeed the idea of an unbiased media is and always has been a myth. Why? Because the news is reported by people and like everone else they cannot help but have there own views colour things.

You want an unbiased media? replace every one who works in the media with robots then.

A taste of perceived injustice for the SNP over this matter. I hope it brings home to them the need to deal with such issues closer to home in Scotland.

  • 100.
  • At 01:53 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

On the upside, the CPS decision will save the cost of a trial and going to the trouble of appointing Lord Hutton as the judge.

  • 101.
  • At 02:43 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Just read the full CPS statement. So any agreement to offer/accept cash for honours has to be an 'unambiguous agreement' and any inference of such an agreement must be 'overwhelming'.

You would have to be pretty dumb not to avoid falling into that trap even if you were not a 'master of ambiguity' like Tony Blair, as described by Jack Straw.

I am amused and worried that already people are looking for stuff that simply is not there.

On News 24, the legal chap from the Telegraph stated that Yates' statement that the decision not to bring charges was made by the CPS was code for Yates saying that he disagreed with the result.

It means no such thing! In this sort of complicated case, where initially there has to be a judgement of whether a crime has actually been committed, it is normal for the CPS and NOT the police to make that decision.

Then there is the SNP who are stating that it is amazing that an investigation can go on for 19 months and come to nothing.

The duration of an investigation is only an indication of its complexity, and often the longer and more complex it is, the less likely there will be charges. So, another misleading idea.

And finally, I approve of Nick's assertion that the media have to take their own responsibility here.

However, what are the chances that they will give the police the names of the people leaking information?

Oh, not THAT responsible then!

  • 103.
  • At 03:03 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Jason S. wrote:

There is a distinction between the media in private hands and the bcc but that's another story.

To all those 'it's a whitewash!' You really *don't* understand how our system works.

We should be wary of supporting the unelected in their constant attacks on the elected.

  • 104.
  • At 03:53 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • John Harvey wrote:

I thought the timing of this leak of the enquiry outcome was interesting. I wonder whether Labour thought the election results would be less favourable than they were and therefore wanted something to remove the results from being the main news story?

Maybe that's me being cynical, but after 10 years of Labour spin, I find myself looking for the 'real' reason behind polical stories.

  • 105.
  • At 04:39 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Steve Marston wrote:

Gordan Brown should reflect that criminal wrong is not the same as morally wrong. Accepting loans was morally wrong for all politicians and they knew it, how else did they all suddenly come to the same conculsion at the same time. The public will not foot the bill for Party Funding; if ministers want political parties then let them give a portion of thier salaries or pensions. The public money gravy train has just dried up.

  • 106.
  • At 05:14 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Richard Luscombe wrote:

I've got about half way down these comments and am really heartened by them. The majority of comments show how much we are all fed up with the media forever destroying individuals, assuming the worst of politicians and turning any news into some sort of sensational rubbish.

I'm delighted that there are to be no charges. It shows that our politicians are actually decent people trying to do a good job for the country. It's our terrible media that makes them all out to be villains and rogues. No wonder they all feel they have to try to manage their output to the media so carefully: whatever they say is always turned into something else and used to ridicule them whenever possible. Just look at how a bit of judicious editing turned some innocent footage of the Queen into a "news story"! I for one have a great deal more faith in the intergrity of politicians than I do for the journalists who report them.

As for Margaret, Mo, Dick, Chris Blore and Simon: grow up. The world is not as you see it and would be much better without your destructive cynacism.

Richard

  • 107.
  • At 05:21 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • BRUCE wrote:

Who leaked it to you?? Your no better than the rest of em another BBC error!! You are hopeless so please stop your pontificating with " Huw"

  • 108.
  • At 05:49 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Peter Lockhart wrote:

This is typical of the SNP. They sit in judgement of everyone and claim they are whiter than white. They will now refuse to believe the results of the inquiry despite it being obvious it went far deeper and was more thorough than anyone expected.

The SNP should be made to pay back Ł1,000,000.

This was a political move from the SNP who were desperate to discredit Labour. They can't persuade Scots to go for independance so they resort to dirty tricks.

  • 109.
  • At 06:28 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

OOOps, the BBC got this one wrong as well Nick!

Was it lies, or was it ignorance and incompetence?

  • 110.
  • At 06:36 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • William Gallacher wrote:

The Media are going to come in for a bit of critisism.Mr Robinson broke the news for the BBC,where did the leak come from.Or is this using the Media.Mr Robinson,Mr Marr,etc,are all part of the system.Why should they be party to information before it is officialy released.I do not recognise any title,be they Lord,Sir,or such like.

Actually, if you wish to see a crystal-clear example of the role of the media in this fiasco, look no further than Jon Silverman's "analysis", 'No Outright Winners', published on the BBC website today. Not even those accused of multiple child murders are written up as basically guilty but just lacking in that crucial bit of evidence that would have tipped the scales. Silverman strongly "suggests" that all-round guilt was only averted because the crucial evidence was inadmissable. And yet he can quote absolutely no evidence to support this outlandish claim. The CPS statement is quite clear: there wasn't a single shred of evidence that would have stood up in court. But I ask you this: who really gives a damn about accusations of corruption in connection with an 'honours' system that is an anachronism and should have been abolished 100 years ago.

  • 112.
  • At 08:26 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Mick Goward wrote:

From my experience decisions to prosecute a case in court are based on whether there is over a 50% chance of a conviction. Although the evidence might be there, the 50% rule applies. Insufficient evidence means just that even though there may have been a case to answer.

  • 113.
  • At 10:20 PM on 20 Jul 2007,
  • Gerlachus wrote:

I listen to tonight's news and a letter by the 'Head of the Army' is leaked to the press. Whilst today, a million pound investigation, lasting 14 month has resulted in nobody going to court. Yet this investigation was characterised by relentless leaks and dawn raids, ending in the file being handed to the CPSO a month before important elections in Scotland, Wales and local government.

Does anyone remember A Very British Coup?

  • 114.
  • At 08:15 AM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • William Gallacher wrote:

I think Mr Robinson is fantastic.Regards Bill

  • 115.
  • At 09:42 AM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • thomas wrote:

What i find incredible is that these people have had 16 months of speculation by the media bbc included.
every leak, rumour and arrest has been made in the public eye.

In contrast we have 24 hrs where the bbc and other media will announce that that there wasn't enough evidence to take it to court. Not innocent just the grey area that will still tarnish a governments reputation.

will the bbc acknowledge that the constant comment by the media during the 16 month investigation has left the people involved badly damaged and is it right for this to happen ?

even being innocent after investigation is now a futile thing to expect.


  • 116.
  • At 07:25 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • Paul McNulty wrote:

Ste Marston states 'the public will not accept the bill for party funding'.

But they are going to accept the bill for a politically motived complaint and subsequent police investigation costing a million quid?

Will you be demanding the SNP make a donation of Ł1 million to the police?

  • 117.
  • At 11:16 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Nick: Your standup after the announcement did everything by way of winks, nudges, nods, and caveats to suggest that people were indeed guilty and were getting off on a technicality. Do you believe that? You looked disappointed that there wouldn't be charges and as if you enjoy scandals. It's difficult to know whether to trust journalists who look as if they are out for a dramatic story instead of the dull truth.

  • 118.
  • At 07:34 AM on 22 Jul 2007,
  • COLIN wrote:

As per usual its well Huw and yet and yet not over yet MPs furious Huw and yet and yet well Huw its not over yet. A typical Robinson exchange with Huw. Serious Pol Ed
stick with HIGNFY.

  • 119.
  • At 12:20 PM on 22 Jul 2007,
  • C Morrison wrote:

I believe you have underestimated the anger among many of the public concerning what many of us see as a whitewash.

One mainifestation of this is that blogger Guido Fawkes and over 100 members of the public are so outraged at the decision of the CPS to drop this case that they are launching a private prosecution of those investigated during Operation Ribble.

  • 120.
  • At 04:29 PM on 22 Jul 2007,
  • HET wrote:

'Perhaps there needs to be a better way of investigating these sorts of serious allegations.'
Like what? Something a little less rigorous than ordinary people are exposed to?

  • 121.
  • At 11:50 AM on 23 Jul 2007,
  • thomas wrote:

Het said

"Like what? Something a little less rigorous than ordinary people are exposed to?"

The difference being if either you or i were being investigated i doubt we would be on the bbc news or in the media spotlight for 16 months.

How would you like to suffer constant rumour and allegations that you couldnt respond to whether they be true or not.


  • 122.
  • At 12:05 PM on 23 Jul 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

What a bitter, delusional lot of people your blog attracts, Nick! That charges aren't being brought only means that the CPS don't think they could win a case. There's plenty of evidence, even in the public domain, to suggest that there have been some very dodgy things going on, but proving that in court would require a copy of the sort of written agreement that only a complete lunatic would make. They can't be convicted under this act, but the system remains corrupt. (If you don't believe me, read Private Eye's analysis of the cronies and backscratchers after the next lot of honours)

To hear government ministers and spin doctors using this to claim a witch hunt on the part of police/media/insert hate figure here is particularly ridiculous. It's bad enough that they're getting away with it, without a rerun of the post-Hutton McCarthyism. Similarly, I fail to understand why anyone should come in for so much criticism for making a complaint to the police. We're all entitled to do it, you know, and if the police didn't think it was worth investigating, they wouldn't have spent so much time and money on it. Should I be hounded if I report a burglary and they don't catch the people who did it?

If Brown was serious about changing government, he'd make a statement saying that while there were no criminal charges, the honours system is still rotten to the core, and needed immediate reform. Somehow, I doubt he will.

  • 123.
  • At 12:08 PM on 23 Jul 2007,
  • Gerry Harper wrote:

Its all about" inuendos, sources close to the BBC, rumours are spreading, reports say, critcs are saying"

Who are these comments coming from ? Who are the critics, who are the sources, reports from who ?

Its very easy to stand outside Downing Street night after night , saying the same thing, using all of the above easy statements with nothing to back them up !

Its just lazy Journalism , journalists who cant be bothered to name the critics, sources and likewise. Its not just the BBC , ITV are just as guilty.

MP,s and government Ministers would not get away with using these bland statements to questions about policy.

Who gets the chance to ask the BBC, ITV reporters, answers to these questions , no one.

  • 124.
  • At 08:06 PM on 23 Jul 2007,
  • Peter S-W. wrote:

I think it is mission accomplished for Angus McNeil, would Alex Salmond be First Minister without the enquiry? I think it is a job well done by Sir Ian Blair, he is after all still in place after the Stockwell shooting debacle, I suspect Yates was personally selected for his terrier like tenacity irrespective of the likely outcome! The Media (Mr Robinson included)? Well they almost got their man too, not the Conservative Prime Minister for which they appear to crave, but at least the back of Blair! Drinks all round!

  • 125.
  • At 12:10 PM on 24 Jul 2007,
  • sandymac wrote:

#122 Dave: "bitter and delusional". The fact that the complaint was made is not the issue, the issue was SNP discrediting Labour to win votes in Scotland. SNP and their dirty tricks are the issue.

  • 126.
  • At 11:09 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • dave looker wrote:

Dear Nick, My wife and I have never before been very interested in daily political news, however since you replaced Andrew Marr we hang on your every word. This is down to your unique and refreshing delivery and unbiased reporting. Thanks for making politics interesting and with a hint of fun. Nick you do have a passing resemblance to Bilko that rascal from the old American sit com. When Children in Need comes around again please consider sending your self up dressed as Bilko it will be a sure fire hit.
Kind Regards Dave & Chris Looker

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