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Yates of the Yard (2)

Nick Robinson | 08:50 UK time, Friday, 30 January 2009

Lest I be misunderstood, let me spell out why I reported that a police investigation "will never happen" unless significant new evidence is produced.

It is not that the police have been told what to do (shellingout and others) or that the government has stitched it up (kaybrass and others) - or that I don't care about these issues (delphius1 and others).

After interviewing a serving prime minister in the investigation into "cash for honours" which got nowhere, and after the arrest of a Tory MP in the Home Office leaks enquiry which looks unlikely to get very far, the police are understandably wary about being dragged into another political row.

What's more, they are aware of the very high legal hurdles they'd have to cross before the Crown Prosecution Service would be prepared to consider prosecution.

house of lordsFurthermore, they know that peers and MPs, unlike councillors, cannot be prosecuted under bribery laws.

In order to avoid being accused of having made their minds up at the same time as avoiding being sucked into an open-ended enquiry, the Met has agreed to examine the evidence before deciding whether to launch an investigation.

On the basis of what the Sunday Times has published to date, the view of my source was that that investigation "will never happen".

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    There is absolutely nop reason why MP's (and possibly peers) should be exempt from bribery laws as they are more likely than most to be bribed! Let the law be changed forthwith.

  • Comment number 2.

    NO MAN OR LORD IS ABOVE THE LAW

    TREASON

    Any Lord who asks for, or accepts, a retainer to influence legislation on behalf of clients is guilty of breaking the rules and the law, it is a form of treason and a criminal offence.

    When a Lord becomes a member of the House of Lords, he accepts, that he has a duty of service to the people. He must not use his power or privileged position to serve himself.

    “Where one man is more powerful than another, it is inevitable that he will try to use his power to gain his ends; and if his power is much greater than the other’s, he might, perhaps, be said to be using it oppressively. If he uses his power illegally, he must of course pay for his illegality in the ordinary way; but he is not to be punished simply because he is the more powerful. In the case of the government it is different, for servants of the government are also servants of the people and the use of their power must always be subordinate to their duty of service.”

    Rooks v Barnard (Lord Devlin, H.O.L. and Privy Council. (E) [1964] A.C., Page 1226).

    Lords Take Notice.

    In principle and in law, and at all times, you Lords, are in possession of a Constructive Notice and Constructive Trust.

    Perhaps members of the Lords should accept a retainer to influence legislation to strip any Lord of his title and to dish out mandatory and appropriate jail sentences for breaking the rules. After all a retainer of £120,000 would be cheap for this service and to get rid of such unscrupulous Lords. What sentence would Oliver Cromwell have dished out for such behaviour most foul, had he been alive?

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick Robinson, something's obviously upset you - are you by any chance trying to differentiate yourself from the rest of the BBC and appear impartial???

    Anyway, the fact remains, that those in power (commons and the Lords) have made no effort to reform the law so that these Lords can be tried for corruption.

    Labour have been promising to reform the upp house in their last few terms, however, have decided not to - WHY????????????

    The fact also remains that it's a legal abherration that the law recognises political class! Absolutely ridiculous.

    Labour have failed - time for an election.

  • Comment number 4.

    So the police now only investigate if they know there is something to investigate?
    Is that right?

    And in order to determine whether or not there is something to investigate, the police are going to carry out an investigation.
    Is that right?

    And if the investigation shows that there is a need to carry out an investigation, then the police wil carry out an investigation....arresting no-one, because the Lords can't be arrested.
    Is that right?

    And you feel you need to explain why the police might just not bother!

    What has happened to our country and our government?

  • Comment number 5.

    But thing remains though Nick, the impetus behind this and the fact that someone is prepared to release information to you - which, lets be honest, you shouldnt be in possession of, officially - is markedly different to what happened with Damien Green.

    Why should that be so?

    I cannot see anything that disproves politicisation of the Police by the current government, or that the new head of the Met is going to be any less a political "brain on a chain" lapdog than Ian Blair.

    All it does do is further underline your strapline from 2 days ago, about Loyalty, Discretion and Toeing the party line.

    Not loyalty to the public that the Met is meant to serve, unfortunately.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yet more re-arrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic, fiddling while Rome burns, etc etc etc...

  • Comment number 6.

    Good to see some interaction, nice touch.

    So MPS cant be prosecuted under bribery laws. So there is no point in an investigation at all then, or is there?

    Well when I say investigation, I mean pre-invstigation investigation.

    I guess we will just have to wait for the people to give their verdict at the next election.

    Shame we cant vote out or arrest Peers guilty of taking bungs though.

    I guess we subjects will just have to be satisfied with a sorry at some point.

    Hey ho.




    What a fantastic system.

    Im starting to think Scotland has the right idea.












  • Comment number 7.

    Its fairly simple, it is illegal for compaines to use bribes to win business, the credit agency mentioned in the tapes should be prosicuted and ALL goverment contracts canceled with them.

  • Comment number 8.

    One should always use an event, whether good or bad, as an opportunity to do something better. Also, remember that one should not do today what one did yesterday just because you did it yesterday.

    If there is to be no investigation by the police then it gives the House of Lords a wonderful opportunity to deal with the matter.

    If they do that properly and openly and publish new rules and an updated disciplinary procedure then they will enhance the respect people have for the upper house.

    The House of Lords has also to remember that they are not only looking at this incident and catering for the future, they are looked on by many countries arround the world as the model for their upper houses of parliament. This is an enviable responsibility and one which should not be taken lightly.

  • Comment number 9.

    You can argue this till the cows come home.
    Not only do we have the Labour Peers involved, but now a Tory Peer has admitted to similar activities, and I'm sure that there are plenty of others. The "rules" are so vague that almost anything goes! Have they done anything wrong? With rules as loose as they are, probably not, hence the Police's reluctance to go charging in. It was noteworthy that one of the Peers in question was discussing the subject quite openly in the Lords tea room, so clearly he felt that what he was saying was commonplace and that should he be overheard, no-one would think anything of it. There is nothing wrong in taking fees for advice, so long as ones interest is declared. To me, it would make much more sense that, instead of party political witch hunting, the Lords was made into an elected second chamber subject to the same rules of the Commons. Why do we persist in this archaic, misty eyed view of the Lords. They're human like the rest of us-just be grateful they don't behave like their lordly ancestors, who were the biggest bunch of thieves and murderers imaginable-just short of the head honcho, the King/Queen that is. And to those who are piling in from the tory side, just remind me which party has had senior members jailed for perjury (that's good old lying to you and me!).
    Republican.

  • Comment number 10.

    Glad to hear you're not part of a government conspiracy, Nick.

    You know, after Hutton, I did wonder if the BBC were working a bit more closely with (Za)nu Labour - you know, just trying to help out.

    Does your "editor-in-chief" restrict his charm offensives to the Israeli government or does he have close relationships with other governments?

    Why as the government always broken it's commitments to reform the upper house?

  • Comment number 11.

    Dear Nick
    Okay so your rattled about the comments.
    Part and parcel im affraid, Believe it or not the Blogs open up a direct action of speech that anywhere else would be supressed by no ten and the home office.
    GORDON BROWN IS THE MOST HATED PRIME MINISTER EVER, AND THE FRUSTRATIONS OF ORDINARY PEOPLE COME OUT WHILST TALKING TO YOU AND YOUR COLLEGUES. youve large shoulders, as you enjoy politics WE DONT,
    So, if youve noticed how the Blogs become as diverse as they are they always have one message that sticks out, "
    "FREEDOM OF SPEECH,"
    and that in Britain today is suppressed by a governemnt that has alienated all the British people and who are as cynical as ever because we do not trust our leaders.
    The establisment over last two years epitomises the scandals these people are up to, even theft (FRAUDULANT USE OF ) of Public money is not prosecuted, just because they are who they are. whilst every one else gets hung drawn and quartered
    there is no sence of equality in Briatin today, even Foreigners get better treatment, sO DO NOT PATRONISE US WE KNOW YOU WLL DO THE JOB YOU DO WELL, BUT I HAVE TO SAY ALL OF LET POLITICIANS OFF THE HOOK ON A REGULAR BASIS , I HAVE A FEELING YOU TO ARE SUPPRESSED, AS THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE BBC IS A GOVERNMENT PATSY.

  • Comment number 12.

    Your job as a journalist Nick is to make sure that such "alleged" disgraceful abuses of position by those in power are properly investigated by employing all the means available to you.

    The impression given by what I've seen of you and read from you about this is that you couldn't really give a toss about it.

    When the vast majority of the population are worrying about how they are going to make ends meet, it is appalling that any thorough investigation this "alleged" grand larceny is likely to be once again effectively kicked into the long grass by those with a vested interest in treating the populace like the proverbial mushrooms.

  • Comment number 13.

    MPs' are immune from bribery laws?
    Thats another thing we need to get changed right away then,
    I can't think of a single laws from which MP's should be exempt, especially ones involving corruption.
    Our so-called-democracy is fundamentally flawed.

  • Comment number 14.

    I am not really sure why Nick felt he had to justify his position. I would have thought it was fairly obvious that the police wouldn’t do anything, after all the Lords in question have not broken any laws, or as the matter stands even any rules (since there doesn’t appear to be any). I was actually more surprised that they were called in the first place.

    What needs to happen is that the rules are reviewed and retroactively the Lords in question get punished, not that I am convinced that will happen either.

    C.A.V.M.R.b.C.P.

  • Comment number 15.

    Good stuff Nick.



    call an election.

  • Comment number 16.

    not you, Gordon.

  • Comment number 17.

    These are only excuses for the failure of the CPS to be even handed in it's approach to the implementation of the law. The law applies to the Peers in the house of lords , just as it applies to the ordinary citizen. There is no privilege where the law is concerned, there is only a lack of will on the part of the police and the CPS to risk the wrath of the home secretary , and an unwillingness by the government to take any responsibility for the criminal actions of its members. I suspect this Labour government has become so mired in deceit that it is unwilling to discipline it's accolytes , in case there is a skeleton in the cupboard that may well demonstrate their collective lack of morallity.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well strange cover ups on the Loyalty topic blogboard. I merely put a one liner in:

    Is he a freemason like many police and it got taken off due to being "off topic"!

    I have seen far more really off-topic messages, which don't get taken off.

    Did I hit a nerve with this one perhaps?

  • Comment number 19.

    Most of my blogs have been moderated, all without explanation and I have received no emails explaining why.
    No point in blogging again, as the weekend is nearly upon us, and we have the English For Speakers of Foreign Languages students filling in straight from the old Kremlin and Starsi.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nick,

    Your update is appreciated - even though it's content may be disturbing!

    The real story here seems to be your disclosure that MP's/peers can't be charged under bribery laws - the media should start campaining for this to be changed immedaitely.

    As the law currently stands your blog succinctly explains why we can expect no action to be taken.

  • Comment number 21.

    Nick's gentle cynicism in dealing with these matters is a joy.
    I couldn't express my deep and bitter cynicism in such an eloquent and subtle way.
    John

  • Comment number 22.

    The point about the old laws on bribery is that in the time that they were formulated people had a more strict moral code than they do now. There was no need for laws against bribery because many MP's were wealthy gentlemen who would take huge offence at being offered money. It was a totally different situation to today's tumultous mix of cultures and sexes.
    As far as the Lords were concerned, they nearly all went to Public school and learned to be gentlemen and play the game and all the right stuff. That morality no longer exists thanks to the reforms, so inevitably there will have to be more legal reforms.

    I think this is a can of worms the Government doesn't need right now!

  • Comment number 23.

    6 Carrots:

    Indeed it's a shame that, seemingly, we can't vote out a corrupt Noble Lord or have him arrested.

    You'd like to think that a Noble Lord would (as part of the deal) have some sense of public decency, shame and responsibility, and if guilty of such crimes he would leave the House, surrender his title and never return.

    However, as I said yesterday in a previous post, such admirable qualities seem to be somewhat lacking in too damn many of the political class these days.

    7 wombateye:

    Agreed - surely it's as much a crime to attempt to bribe someone, as it is to accept a bribe. In which case, going all the way back to Neil Hamilton, why wasn't Fayed strung up alongside Hamilton himself?

  • Comment number 24.

    Maybe we need a good old-fashioned Dixon of Dock Green to investigate the vanishing blogs. Does one need to pay a bribe to publish?

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick:

    To a lot of people, it probably doesn't matter whether in reality the lack of an investigation would be down to the Police remembering the pain of the last time they were bitten.

    If it looks like a stitch-up and smells like a stitch-up - and to many people it will - then it is not unreasonable to expect those people to conclude that it IS a stitch-up, irrespective of the truth.

    People take decisions (in all areas of their lives) on the basis of their perceptions of the given situation, whatever the reality is. The Police are therefore in a bit of a lose-lose situation - if they DON'T investigate it will probably be seen as being the result of political pressure, if they DO investigate it could rapidly become yet another mire of controversy, with the added spice of them being drawn towards carrying out an investigation that is itself of dubious legality!

  • Comment number 26.

    No matter how much we complain the Met does have a valid point on this one. They can't actualy do anything as there are no specific laws relating to the alleged bribery

    They are in a difficult situation: They do not want to appear to be politicised, yet they do not want to appear to be doing nothing. Nothing would come from a long (not to mention expensive!) investigation

    Nick does have a point with this one

    What is needed is a major overhaul of how the upper house is run. If no laws exist that clearly state that these types of offence are ilegal and prosecutable - then we should make some

    The selection of Lords also needs to be looked at. I actualy prefer the hereditary system! In most cases these people had no political allegience and were less open to alleged bribery. The (alleged) problem with a lot of the Lords nowadays is that they are gifted the post - and most are ex-ministers it seems! Who are political in their views

    We should either keep the hereditary system or have them selected because of excellence in a professional field (legal/medical etc)

    At least Nick is reading what we write aboute and interacting! Nice to see for a change.....

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    So Peers and MP's are exempt from Bribery Laws?

    Some of these people may well have been party to the amending of the Bribery Laws (whenever that was), and this prompts my next question.

    In order to become an MP, or Peer of the Realm, is taking bribes considered to be part of the job remit?

    If this is the case, why was Neil Hamilton prosecuted? - or anyone else?

    I would also like to point out, Nick, that my father was a serving police officer for over 30 years. Early on in his career, he happened to come across a Rolls Royce which was double parked on a narrow street in London. He asked the chauffeur three times to move the vehicle. It stayed where it was and my father issued a fine. He found out years later that the car belonged to a cabinet minister's brother.

    My father was never promoted throughout his whole career. He sat the Sergeant's examinations 5 times, failing by half a mark three times, and a quarter of a mark twice.

    Please don't tell me the police aren't told what to do.

    Nothing changes and it all stinks.

  • Comment number 29.

    Err, they can't be prosecuted under anti-bribery laws??!!
    Conway fraudulently takes large amounts of money and he is only being forced to apologise and hand back some (emphasis some) of it. Compare to the fate of a benefits cheat.
    Hain makes an "innocent mistake" over £100k because he is "too busy", and gets a slap on the wrists. Compare to the swingeing penalties and interest if I make an innocent mistake with my tax (and I doubt "I was too busy" will get me far).
    Not to mention Mandelson's "indiscretions", either of which would have consigned most people to the job centre rather than the gilded gravy train in Brussels.
    But now we discover that the "one law for them, another for us" is not just a matter of practice by powerful men, but actually enshrined in the law!

  • Comment number 30.

    Furthermore, they know that peers and MPs, unlike councillors, cannot be prosecuted under bribery laws.


    Nick, this statement needs further clarification please.

    Are you certain of your facts, or is this just the official line?

    If it is a fact, then please, on our behalf, can you seek and share with us an explanation of why this is so?

    These people make the laws. They should not take bribes to influence the content of those laws. If they do they should be prosecuted.

    Yes?

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Nick,

    Yes, I tend to agree. But new evidence does seem to be emerging.

    Lord Truscott boasted on the Times tapes that he had already secured a change to the Energy Bill on behalf of a client.

    According to the Telegraph, that client was the UK's largest supplier of smart electricity meters. Trustcott met with the Minister responsible for the Energy Bill and, subsequently, compulsory fitting of smart energy meters became a requirement for new homes.

    The meeting Truscott had should be minuted, of course.

    But whether or not prosecutions will arise is not really the point. New Labour is now gaining a reputation for sleaze (Hain, Harman, Alexander, etc., and now these peers) to add to the charges of incompetence.

    Lord Trustcott seems to be Labour's 'Neil Hamilton' moment.

    See you in the pub.

  • Comment number 32.

    Nick

    You still haven't addressed the apparent difference in the Police approach to these Lords and that to the MP Damian Green, who was arrested for 9 hours and had his office searched.

    Any chance of a bolg explaining this?

  • Comment number 33.

    completely irrelevant I know, but still:

    Wednesday 14th January 2009: France objects to european artwork depicting France as a country on strike:

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7827738.stm

    Thursday 29th January 2009: The whole of France goes on strike

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7857435.stm


    Not laugh out loud funny, but funny all the same.

  • Comment number 34.

    In my mind the previous topic about this that Nick posted was fairly clear; it was obvious that Nick wasn't saying that there shouldn't be an investigation, it was obvious that he was just reporting on what the status was.

    It was one of the very rare occasions when there wasn't any pro-labour/anti-tory spin on the topic from Nick's side, and it was what the BBC should normally be doing (being apolitical; just reporting on what's happening and then letting other people make their own minds up).

    A similar apolitical viewpoint/topic on why/how Green was treated like a terrorist for simply doing his job, what mandelson was doing on that yacht, or why Brown thinks we're the best placed economy in the world and everyone else on the planet thinks the opposite, would be most welcome.

  • Comment number 35.

    Nick,

    praise where praise is due. You have read the comments on here, and followed up on them, well done.

    But really, it was a none story to start with, we all know there will be a stitch up and no one brought to account, and your recent blog has added nothing to this.

    Could you please ask your "informed sources" when exactly they are going to drop the Damian Green investigation, as that clearly is going nowhere either?

  • Comment number 36.

    we are going to be the thorn in your side
    righteous people don't take no bribe
    it seems that the whole process is in disrepute
    due to systematic corruption and incompetence
    file a legal complaint in court to have your day
    let due process determine the outcome any which way

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick,

    does the BBC still stand for free speech, and does it agree with playing by its own rules?

    If so, could someone with some influence have a word with the blog moderators as they are removing comments for no good reason, and what is worse, are not sending emails to explain why, in clear breach of their own house rules.

  • Comment number 38.





    Nick

    I would refute your claim that the cash for honours investigation got nowhere. I suspect that there were some rapid changes of underwear in the political arena. Just because they didn't press charges doesn't mean that it wasn't worth doing. Just the same with these "4 Lords a leaping" the police should investigate. I repeat what I wrote yesterday because it is still as relevant today.

    Another sad day for integrity and politics in the UK.
    It wasn't so long ago that we used to look at political corruption abroad and say that it would never happen in the UK. We now seem to be leading the international field in corrupt politicians, the sad thing is that they try and justify their actions.
    Where's the moral compass that is supposed to guide those in public service?

  • Comment number 39.

    I blame the culture and attitude that has evolved over the last decade or so.

    Little respect for good values, little respect for the people (us).

    Thanks Labour.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick,

    how does the below square with what your "informed sources" are telling you?

    ===

    "Lord Truscott is expected to face a police investigation after he boasted to undercover reporters that he arranged an amendment to the Energy Bill as it passed through parliament to ensure that smart meters would be installed in every UK home.

    He was employed at the time as a £2,000-a-day consultant to one of the world's largest manufacturers of smart meters.

    The Telegraph has now established that Lord Truscott met officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) on July 22 last year, at which Government policy on smart meters was discussed.

    Official records show that the original Government legislation – published at the beginning of 2008 – did not include plans to introduce smart energy meters in homes across Britain. However, the legislation was amended in October to include the commitment.

    Lord Truscott also had an "informal" lunch with Malcolm Wicks, the then energy minister, on February 27 last year. Mr Wicks cannot now recall whether smart meters were discussed during the lunch.

    Lord Truscott, who was Mr Wicks's predecessor as energy minister, told undercover reporters: "I had meetings with the bill team and the relevant minister and the head of policy at BERR... there was some debate about whether (smart meters) would be in (the bill) and there was certainly no Government commitment to when or over what period (they would be rolled out)."

    Asked if he had managed to get the law changed to make sure smart meters were included, he said: "Yes, yes."

    The Metropolitan Police is expected to launch a full criminal investigation into the conduct of Lord Truscott and another Labour peer, Lord Taylor, who was also secretly recorded claiming he had managed to get laws amended for clients.

    Detectives are set to announce, as soon as next week, that the two lords will be investigated over whether they broke anti-bribery laws."

  • Comment number 41.



    Just out of interest, you know hypothetical like.

    Is it illegal for a judge to take a bribe ?



    Its for a friend?



  • Comment number 42.

    Nick:

    If you'll pardon the mixed metaphors, it looks like in an attempt to pour oil onto troubled waters, you've actually ended up opening another Pandora's box...





    Oh dear. Wasnt meant to be like this was it?

  • Comment number 43.

    What a sad day for democratic accountability. Nick as I understand it these people get a huge daily allowance (amounting to an yearly wage for many people) to sit on their flabbies all day in an overly subsidised institution of the state. The place needs reforming. They're all a disgrace. Good people are losing their jobs at the moment and we have some of these Lords doing what are doing without the fear of prosecution. What a shambles, what a disgrace what a bunch of turnips they are.

  • Comment number 44.

    There is little point in trying to respond to the massed ranks of conspiracy theorists on here, Nick. As is demonstrated by most of the responses so far, any such attempt is simply interpreted as further evidence of the 'conspiracy'.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nick,

    never mind charging them with bribery, what about misconduct in public office? According to the CPS website, the elements of this are -

    a) A public officer acting as such.

    b) Wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself.

    c) To such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder.

    d) Without reasonable excuse or justification.

    I would think the behaviour of the Peers in question ticks all those boxes!

  • Comment number 46.

    Any criticism that John Yates failed to do the job correctly is erroneous. The job was done correctly form the start it was suffocated by the Government which supports many of the opinions in this blog. Any notion that the police are independent is also erroneous. As retired inspector who spent 32 years in the Met I was subject to such pressure on two occasions but failed to succumb. Retribution was not forthcoming on eilther occasions however inspector was far enough for me!

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick

    The Telegraph is not so sure as you that nothing will happen, following more evidence about what one of the Lords concerned was up to.

    "Last night, a Whitehall source said: "The police are not terribly keen to get involved in another political investigation but the evidence is such that this looks like it will have to be properly investigated. A formal decision will be taken once the information is received from The Sunday Times.""

    Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 48.

    For those wondering where the foot soldiers are going to come for the uprising against the complacency and hypocricy of the current administration please see the following from the news websiten this AM.

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7859345.stm

    After nearly 12 years of Labour government and a labour government that said its first second and third priority was education, education, education how well have they done? Hundreds of thousnads have been failed by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

    These children have only ever known a labour government and have had the benefit of 12 years of labour leadership in steering their development.

    Hazel Blears was right, now there is a phrase I never thought I would use, there is a growing anger and alienation amongst poor and uneducated whites.

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7807446.stm

    Nick, the niceties of whether a per can be bribed or not, or even charged with it won't count for much when the BNP are talking to the abandoned youth.

    We should all be ashamed.

  • Comment number 49.

    The Emperor Wears No Clothes

    no i'm not done
    and I can't run
    just take a look at my face
    you want to wipe it out
    and leave no trace
    simple words to the government then
    see me and them we ain't no friend
    because they've bamboozled the people
    much too long with institutional whips
    a campaign of propaganda
    it seems they have a hidden agenda

  • Comment number 50.

    23. boating-voter

    If I had been appointed to the Lords, (you know services for carrots and all that).

    I would be furious with these 4. I would be upset at the damage that it did to my reputation by association.



    Lets put this whole sorry episode in a private sector setting for a second.

    You are a partner in a firm, you have a number of very good and long standing clients, all you sell is your most attentive and personal service, Your complete and confirmed integrity is paramount to you being able to operate.

    A fellow partner is accused of over billing his clients, of course you investigate it first and keep an open mind. However, if he was guilty, regardless of the legal aspects, Id boot him out there and then. Just because of the suspicion he would have brought to bear on the firm.

    Its a bloody shame that the Lords of this country dont have the same degree of integrity as a simple company director.

  • Comment number 51.

    #19 #37
    The BBC stands for anything - that's why they won't let Rahere's followers on Bob Peston's blog follow me elsewhere, by blocking the postings to where I am now. That's overt censorship, imho - I'm not stopping them staying put, but I'm deuced if I'm going to share my ideas with this bunch of [deleted].

  • Comment number 52.

    May I suggest a possible explanation as to why Mr Robinson's prediction of "no investigation" has not come to pass.

    The Police have been persuaded to carry out an investigation in the full knowledge that the outcome (for all the reasons Mr Robinson has explained) will be "no action to be taken".

    This achieves two objectives:
    1. The government can now stonewall any questioning using the ageold excuse "it's under investigation" and
    2. After the fruitless investigation has been completed, they will stonewall again with the varient "it's been fully investigated and nothing was found"

    End of embarrassing debate.

    Exactly the same as the Honours for cash scandal

    It would be better if there were no investigation, thereby allowing more probing, public questioning to continue into what any sane, decent person with an ounce of common sense can see is an obvious case of (in any other establishment other than parliament), corruption.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why don't you get it Nick, and why don't the police get it?

    There was uproar about the cash for honours scandal, because they dropped the case. People had paid money to the Labour party and were rewarded with honours. Case dropped in what looked like a party political coverup= uproar.

    They arrest and detain a Shadow minister, raid his home and his parliamentary office, breach the sanctity of parliament and cause mayhem in Parliament for Damian Green only lawfully doing his job. The case is not even dropped yet in what looks like party political intimidation= uproar.

    Labour lords have been recorded advertising their blatant intent to commit a crime, (intent is enough for terrorism charges, Damian Green was arrested by terrorism officers) and there is only an investigation to see IF there is any point in an investigation. = what looks like a party political coverup = uproar.

    Tony Blair blatantly and with wilful intent deceived Parliament and launched a war of aggression against a sovereign nation state that (even according to Labour's OWN pre-sexed up draft of their "dodgy" dossier described Iraq as "not a threat to us or even hits neighbours") was NOT a threat to us in a blatant war crime. No charges brought at all, in fact no investigation into Blair's role in the intelligence that led to war = uproar.

    Well, if labour wrong-doing (even to the level of war-crimes) is "let-off" and the tories do not even commit any wrongdoing and the police come down on them like a ton of bricks, then that looks, sounds, and feels very much like the police being used as a political tool of the LABOUR PARTY.

    Does this even look anything remotely like a free, open, democratic, liberal democracy to you anymore Nick?

    And your blog, on a supposedly "neutral" BBC website is DEFENDING this slide into blatant fascism Nick. FASCISM!

    Do you even recognise the UK at all anymore Nick? DO you? because I Don't.

    I do remember at primary school being taught about Kings and Queens, about Parliament and laws and elections.

    I remember being taught that we live in a free country with a free press and that if a Government went bad, we could change it.

    I remember being taught that IF a government went bad, the media would report this, because we have a free and independent press and the BBC is impartial.

    I remember being taught that this was THE SINGLE MOST important check and balance in a free and liberal democracy.

    It was what separated us from dictatorships and despotic regimes. Nobody was above the law. The rule of law was paramount, regardless of party or partisanship and the independent media was essential in informing the electorate of what was done IN THEIR NAME and the BBC was the Jewel in that democratic system.

    Nick! By even the simplest, primary school example level understanding above, you are FAILING your democracy and FAILING your country.

    Do you not feel ANY shame Nick?

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick,

    I was listenig to the Radio 4 Today programme this morning and I heard something which quite interested me. It was in respect of making online tax returns.

    We were told that it is secure and that nobody need worry. Then I think I heard them say that there were special arrangements in place for just a few groups. Amongst this group, why our wonderful open, absolutely honest, and incorruptable MPs.

    Why should they be treated differently. Why do they not have to do the same as us mortals.

    I would like questions to be asked, especially as they seem to be able to claim allowances which are not spent on the purpose for which they have been given.

    For example, let us say that they receive GBP150 for overnight accomodation. They then only spend GBP30, so how is the other GBP120 treated. Surely this is unearned income and should be taxed, with Income Tax and National Insurance. Or am I completely wrong on this?

    I think we need some answers, especially after certain revelations.

  • Comment number 56.

    Do you know what? I am heartily sick of hearing about dishonest people, police, politicians, doctors. Yes, all people who should know better.

    My husband's cousin was a detective at Scotland Yard. He was an alcoholic and smashed out of his brain most of the time. He drove whilst under the influence. He did all manner of underhanded crafty things - even booking a crowd of his so called friends because they drank and drove! He died of liver failure aged 52. No surprise there then.


    We used to be far more honest and responsible.


    I hate to harp back (no I don't I love it) to when life was not half so complicated (immigrants, people not speaking English, schools crowded out with non English speaking children, knife crime, drugs, health and safety nutters, politically corrrect nutters, hippies, environmentalists, greenies, council bin watchers.....).

    We had a slower simpler proper life and, yes, most people were a hell of a lot more honest, starting with the bobby on the beat.

  • Comment number 57.

    44. jimbrant

    Do you think there is good reason to be sceptical of the outcome here.

    Or do you think parliament has a good track record in dealing with allegations of sleaze and impropriety.


  • Comment number 58.

    the cash for honours affair left me with the impression that justice had not been done.

    For me the possible reasons were either

    1) The CPS, not for the first time, were either lacking in judgement or subject to influence.

    OR

    2) The police were incompetent or subject to influence.

    OR

    3) Both of the above.

    What has emerged thus far in the cash for Lords travesty screams out for investigation and poses many questions about the House of Lords. Even unsuccessful prosecutions would be extremely informative to the public about the mechanics, morals and process of an organisation which is generally beyond public focus.

    Given that the peers concerned in this case are appointed, it might inadvertently throw more light on the cash for honours fiasco, and, of course. we have a new police commissioner who is hopefully less political than his predecessor.

    Personally, I believe failure to investigate will further damage public confidence in our police, failure to prosecute will do likewise for the CPS.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    You say the police "are aware of the very high legal hurdles they'd have to cross before the Crown Prosecution Service would be prepared to consider prosecution. "

    Glad to see that the high moral and ethical hurdles of the House of Lords are being maintained.

    Here's to democracy, free speech and liberty in all it's forms. Hurrah!

    I await your moderation

  • Comment number 61.

    46 Metaldeanoman

    I agree with you. I think Yates is a good copper but he is being restricted by government at every turn, as he probably was when Bliar was hauled in for questioning.

    What I forgot to say in my post No. 28 was, that the day after my father issued the fine, he was hauled up in front of the Commissioner, who asked him to cancel the fine. My father refused.

    He would be absolutely appalled at the way these people are escaping justice, if he were alive today.

  • Comment number 62.

    In view of all the other jobs he has including directorships of FTSE companies and the amounts he has claimed in expenses off us over he past few years you wonder whether Lord Taylor really needed the money?

    https://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23629554-details/Sleaze+row+peer+claims+400,000+just+in+expenses/article.do

    I doubt he really needs the winter fuel payment either!

  • Comment number 63.

    I may be missing something here, but didn't the newspaper in this case obtain CAST IRON evidence in the form of tape recordings? That is surely a very big difference from the earlier instances, isn't it? Is that STILL insufficient for action to be taken? Amazing, yet not surprising?

  • Comment number 64.

    I actually think they should launch an investigation simply because it is in the public interest.

    The People need to see that justice is done.

    The People need a voice. The People need a voice that can be heard. Like the Drill Sergeant's voice from Full Metal Jacket.

    "Lord Truscott you will stop your abuse of office or I will .... out your .... and .... you!"

    Edited for good taste, I hope.

    I await your moderation.

  • Comment number 65.

    Anyone just watched The Daily Politics? I only caught a couple of minutes of it ,but this guy called Hopi Sen was on it. He's a Labour party blogger,who works for a Peer.Don't know who.

    He has got to be one of Barking's alter egos,coming out with all the stock phrases..do nothing Tories etc etc..blah blah.

    Just made me smile really.

    Anyway..on this subject of the "inquiry that never will be",what have these people got to do before they are held accountable to the British people?It is nothing but corruption and abuse of position..

    Of course,it has nothing really to do with Democracy, as they are unelected.
    However,the example set by these people is nothing short of shameful,and by getting away with it,they will be seen as the worst of the gutter politicians that they are.

  • Comment number 66.

    You can always tell when bloggers have hit a raw nerve.
    Nick always writes a rebutable in version two.

  • Comment number 67.

    39 Double dutch

    "I blame the culture and attitude that has evolved over the last decade or so.

    Little respect for good values, little respect for the people (us).

    Thanks Labour."


    Would you mind enlightening us as to the nature of the culture and attitudes that prevailed previously?

    I'm thinking during the Thatcher and Major era. Only it kind of seemed pretty much the same to me except with an additional emphasis on self-interest and destroying communities.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Why have The Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary pulled out of the curent talks at Davos?

    ===

    "The Chancellor of the Exchequer cancelled his trip to the summit of politicians and executives at the last minute, despite the meeting being attended by a pantheon of leaders from around the world, including Russia and China.

    He is understood to have called off the trip, planned for tonight, after it transpired that a number of the people he had planned to meet also cancelled.

    However, the move will spark speculation that the Chancellor is battling a further bout of instability in the financial markets and the economy.

    The foreign minister, David Miliband has also pulled out of the forum, which has been cast as the most gloomy in recent memory in the face of the global financial crisis."



  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    Poor old guy fawks.Hung drawn and quartered for trying to get rid of these excuses for government.Perhaps a posthumous Knigthood is deserved.

  • Comment number 73.

    The issue is more about the politicisation of our public institutions by a mendacious and vicious government keen to do down their opponents at any price.

    The involvement of the police in the Damien Green affair was grotesque. All that was required was an internal Civil Service enquiry.

    The alleged sale of public honours was a further squalid episode by which this government set out to debauch our constitution as it suited their advantage.

    Now that it is apparent that the electorate has rumbled what has been going on, those people who obtained a franchise in the Upper House to make money on the back of their new found status have been caught with their hands in the till by being simply greedy.

    The police should keep well out of the picture. The legal situation is very unclear. The matter should be left to the electorate to deliver their judgement.

    The naming and shaming of the New Labour stooges is sufficient.

    Time for change.

  • Comment number 74.

    Okay, you’ve forced my hand, I’ll do it.

    Rally round chums, I’m about to launch the new WAUYB Party. No not some sort of fundamentalist party but the “What about us you B****ds” party. Anyone can join. If you’re hacked off with the state of the economy, the incompetence and malfeasance in public office, most notably our government and its loyal and useless opposition (all of them) and the impotence of the police to even investigate never mind prosecute, sign up here.

    Never, in all my life, has it been my misfortune to witness such catastrophic “me first; don’t sack me; it wasn’t my fault - honest” blethering from people who presumably someone, somewhere must either have voted for or believed in.

    Time to go chaps. Leave now before the mob (who I can hear grumbling behind me - see the oil refinery protests as a taster) decide that Marble Arch should be pulled down and the Tyburn Tree reinstated.

    Oh yes, and please don’t ask me to eat cake.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    Why are posts #8-13 posted between 09:41 and 09:55 still awaiting moderation when everything else up to 11:57 (at this point in time wich is 13:18) dealt with?

    Come on mods, get your finger out - this is breaking up the flow of debate!

  • Comment number 77.

    Nice to see you biting back. Well said.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why have I been censored (post 10)?

    The point I was making, and the fact it was not printed, adds weight to suggestions of the BBC's biaised reporting.

  • Comment number 79.

    Nick, you say that MPs and peers cannot be proscecuted under bribery laws, and then just leave it. When was this law passed, and who passed it, and why (think I might be able to guess that one)? It was certainly news to me!

  • Comment number 80.

    Carrots @ 50:

    I'm with you... But to continue the analogy:

    So, you investigated, gave him a fair chance to tell his version, but in the end you proved the crime. You turned round to him and said "look what you've done, look at the damage you've done to the company, you've betrayed my trust and the trust of all our customers. You've let us all down".

    If he had ANY decency at all *** you wouldn't need to sack him. He'd walk out knowing that it was the only course of action left open to him - anything else would be shabby and demeaning and embarrassing for everyone. How could he ever look you in the eye again?

    *** and since the company is wholly dependent on its good name, you would be justified in expecting your fellow partner to be steeped in decency, honesty and absolute integrity. After all, he shouldn't be in that position if he's not that kind of person.

    The problem for your hypothetical business partner (and, likely, close friend until this all happened) is that even if he never stole a penny, it certainly looked as if he did and most of your customers now think you are thieves. So they will leave. Irrespective of the truth of the matter, your customers will act upon their perception of you, and so the real damage to the company will be done all the same.

    In the Lords, because its membership was constructed on the premise that all its members were honourable ladies and gentlemen, they didn't need rules to throw someone out - peer pressure (sorry for the pun) would be enough that if someone turned out to be a bad apple they would feel so uncomfortable about what they had done, that they wouldn't need to be chucked out. So there's never been a mechanism to do that, it's never been needed before.

  • Comment number 81.

    The rats start to desert the sinking ship!

    ===

    A prominent Labour backbencher has warned Gordon Brown that he needs to find a "new language" to explain to the public the actions that the Government is taking in the recession.


    Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham, said the Government's "fire-fighting" measures were necessary but there was a danger its stream of initiatives would be seen as "sticking plaster" unless ministers set out "big and bold" policies that voters can understand.

    He warned that David Cameron could outflank Labour by adopting a radical agenda and by explaining it better. He said that Mr Brown needed to show the same "emotional intelligence" as the Tory leader.

    The left-of-centre MP acknowledged that the mood among Labour MPs had darkened since Christmas as the Tories extend their lead in the opinion polls. "People were wildly optimistic before Christmas; they are wildly pessimistic now," he said. "The polls are very fluid; the question is which party can come up with a set of inter-linked policies for the next period."

    Mr Cruddas expressed concern that Mr Cameron was invading Labour's natural territory and being advised by so-called "Red Tories" urging a return to traditional, One Nation Conservative policies and community-based solutions, such as a people's bank. "It is very, very sophisticated, very worrying for us," he said. "It is not just about policy but language. We [Labour] still have a one-dimensional take on Cameron. I think Cameron is doing well."

    The Labour MP said Barack Obama had an "extraordinary emotional ability". He said Labour also needed to craft a similar language of radical hope. "We see David Cameron doing that; I find that worrying." He urged Mr Brown to launch "two crusades". One would be on "tax justice", including minimum tax rates throughout the incomes scale so that the rich paid their fair share and joining President Obama's crackdown on offshore tax havens

  • Comment number 82.

    When the police questioned Damian Greene, he was supported by MPs from both sides of the house.

    Why?

    Because they want MPs to be above the law, perhaps?

    The latest "Lords for Hire" affair falls into the same category.

  • Comment number 83.

    Moderators,

    what have you done to comments #8-13 inc.?

    4 hours and still waiting for moderation, you do defend free speech, don't you?

  • Comment number 84.

    @ purpleDogzzz no. 53 - hear hear!

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    Yates of the Yard
    Right, that's the on topic bit out of the way.

    Can I also take this opportunity to say how much I agree with the stance the moderators are taking. This blog had become a mish mask of petty jibes and self-congratulatory self abuse. In short, an embarrassment to the BBC and the nation.

    Having said that, some of the best debates developed off topic (Fubar and aye_write on Scottish Nationalism, for example). So it would be a shame if that kind of natural development were to be stopped.

    I even appreciate Pat's flights of whimsy and nostalgia (when she's not flaming me).

    So I think it's up to us to avoid the pettiness (and I accept the obvious pot kettle) and we may get the blog we deserve.

    Who knows I might even change my name in an outburst of goodwill.

    Suggestions anyone - no don't get started!

  • Comment number 87.

    At 12:23pm on 30 Jan 2009, dhwilkinson wrote:
    yellowbelly1959@40


    "does the BBC still stand for free speech, and does it agree with playing by its own rules?

    If so, could someone with some influence have a word with the blog moderators as they are removing comments for no good reason, and what is worse, are not sending emails to explain why, in clear breach of their own house rules."



    Are you sure you're looking at the right one of your Email addresses? Look at all of them and maybe you will find it. You've probably just forgotten what Email yellowbelly1959 is registered with.

    Interesting how in the absence of 'lefties' here, people like you turn on the host. Fascinating! Maybe you're all addicted?

    ===

    I only have one email address, unless you have been snooping and know better?

    Other people have also eported on here that their comments have been removed and they have not had an email either, contrary to BBC house rules.

    So why do you single me out for attention?

    Are you one of those lefties that doesn't believe in free speech if you disagree with the message?

  • Comment number 88.

    #55 TAG (Griffin)

    This is not a new story. All VIPs, the Very Rich and Politicians (I suspect that categories 2 and 3 are much the same) have been advised not to use the on-line HMRC form to record their income(s) for tax declarations because the website IS NOT 100 PERCENT SAFE.

    My sister is a self-employed Chartered Accountant who completes the Self Assessment tax forms for her clients. She has known about this since the system (not sure if this is the right word for it?) was implemented. What annoys me is that an outside contractor would have done the work.

    In the private sector companies sue for shoddy work. In the public sector no one seems to care, which is disgraceful as Brown et al are quite happy signing off Billion GBP contracts.

    This year there has been another problem about the 10p in the GBP rate for tax, which the website does calculate properly. Also did you know that if someone overpaid tax during the year the interest paid back is zero pct. But if tax is owed then an interest rate of 3.5 pct is applied. Lovely eh?

  • Comment number 89.

    Why another blog on this nonsense?
    What about the rising tide of industrial unrest fuelled by the Golem's "British jobs for British workers" cry? A cry that was, essentially, protectionism, which naturally enough, the Golem claims to deplore. British banks must lend to British people, while foreign banks must ensure the free flow of capital across borders (which is to say that foreign banks must lend to British people and the British government to fuel his insane spending spree).

  • Comment number 90.

    Ms Patricia, I am always slightly amused by people harking back to the golden age when everything was better, personally I blame the (ancient) Greeks*. Of my close friends half of them can claim some foreign ancestors within the last three generations, I am guessing the rest can only go back a few more than that. My Mother tells me how better things were in her youth and I am slowly feeling the same, but if I am honest I know its not really the truth. This were different no doubt, but not better. Simpler is sometimes used when closed minded is actually what is meant. I apologise if this comes across as a personal attack, it is not meant to be, as I said as I reach my mid 30s I already feel the attitude of things were better creeping in.

    To link this with the original post, for fear of DB & the M, I am not sure this particular issue would have been raised in the past. Are politicians more corrupt now, are the Lords? I suspect that some politicians have always been corrupt and one of the Lords in question has been in the HoL for over 20 years and I don’t expect that he has recently had a change of morality.

    Society has become more open and the media is now more willing to question those figures in authority, though regrettably normally more for profit than any other reason. Is society becoming more open and accepting a good thing? I think so, though I accept that mayhap this openness has happened too quickly, without the necessary check and balances being put in place. Is that the fault of my or later generations? I don’t think so, more likely it is those that survived the last major war and the Baby Boomers who are fault, it was they who realised the errors that had lead to war and the restrictions on personal freedoms the old regime held dear.

    A bit like this current debacle rather than looking backwards to a golden age that only exists in subjective memory we should move forward. Take the errors of the past and present and ensure that they are not repeated again.

    * They came up with idea of history and with it for some reason that the past was someway better than the present.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ref my post No 9.
    There seems to be a problem!
    The perjurers were messrs Archer and Aitken and the Tory peer in the Lords appeared in yesterdays Guardian, so my comments are evidence backed. Perhaps you don't like my reference to the earlier history of the Lords/Royalty-I'm clearly not including her maj or recent ancestors in this, but what I said was true about earlier ones. John, Richard 3, Henry 8 etc anyone?

  • Comment number 92.

    I agree with you Nick.

    As I understand it, none of the 'Lords' questioned has wide experience of media actions. Accordingly, they are unlikely to have sensed that this was an entrapment and taken care of their responses.

    None of us knows how these reponses were obtained or the nature of the interviews. Fortunately we don't do trial by media story. Nor should we.

  • Comment number 93.

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

    Well I am not happy, and it is the government and those that abuse positions of privilege that sorely try my patience and misuse my trust. They are oath breakers and criminals and I want rid of them.

    I have read the above words from the American Declaration of Independence many times in the past and I can think of none so apt as to our situation now. Not a word needs changing.

    Let's not just just alter our government, let's abolish it; start again with a clean piece of paper (yes let's write it down this time) and devise a new system of government worthy of the name and worthy of its once great and badly misused people.

    Cameron if you're listening, if you need a text to start your vision of social justice then you could do a lot worse than start here.

  • Comment number 94.

    I don't understand some of the posts on here. It appears to some to be essential that Labour peers who may, or may not, have broken the rules must be expelled forthwith. However, it is ok for Conservative ex-convicts (Lord Archer) and serving prisoners (Lord Black) to continue as members of the House of Lords and, in Lord Archer's case, draw expenses. Where is the justice in that?

  • Comment number 95.

    Dear Nick,

    Why is your (HP) source so confident that there will be no investigation? Does she/he/them know something we don't know or not us told yet?

    What do you have to does your MP/Peer have to do BEFORE the police decide to charge you?

    No smoke without fire, i believe.

    Xxxxx

  • Comment number 96.

    So my post #69 has been removed, but I have not received an e-mail from the BBC explaining why.

    I dared to criticise a Labour MP who spoke on today's BBC Daily Politics, but I did not accuse him of corruption (financial, moral, or otherwise), or any other illegal activity.

    I love the BBC!!! I'll vote for an increase in the license fee, please sir! Please allow me to post my (moderate, considered, ever so humble) criticism of the Labour Party. Please Sir! (or Madam!) Please!

  • Comment number 97.

    Nick please ask Mandelson what he thinks of this latest scandal. It would be nice to have some inside information.

  • Comment number 98.

    82 m_bell

    There was cross-party support for Damian Green because he was just doing his job as an opposition MP. That's all.

    To suggest anything else is IMHO a shameful attempt to justify the unjustifiable, i.e. Police interference on behalf of the ruling party to stifle the role of opposition parties in effectively holding the government to account.

  • Comment number 99.

    81 yellowbelly1959:

    Your last paragraph - Cruddas talking about "tax justice" - I nearly ruptured myself laughing. Then I stopped.

    Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous from this government, than to talk about "tax justice"?

  • Comment number 100.

    No-one should be surprised at allegations of malpractice against members of a partly reformed House of Lords. This, after all, is an institution that all governments have shied away from reforming properly for decades. Even the retention of the name 'House of Lords' in the last (partial) reform by Blair - gave the game away - he wasn't really going to change anything to stop the House working in the way it always has: the ultimate rest home for past it politicians.

 

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