09 November, 2006

Cash for honours police closing in on Blair.

A few days ago, I reported the Guardian's view that that the cash for honours affairs is "fast approaching its denouement". Maybe, maybe not. According to the Times, Lord Levy, Labour's chief fundraiser during the events under investigation, has implicated Blair and the police hope to interview the prime minister within five weeks. That seems like an unrealistic timetable given that, as the Guardian reports, the police are still corresponding with, and interviewing, other cabinet ministers.

The Daily Telegraph's angle is that Blair is trying to keep any police interview away from the glare of worldwide publicity that would surround the police marching up Downing Street. The Daily Mail, goes further and says that Blair will not have to face charges until after he has left office. Obviously the investigation is going to run for some time yet.

Reading between the lines, it seems a reasonable assumption that Levy has decided he is not going to fall on his sword and is singing away, not so merrily, to the police. Yet, somehow, it still seems unlikely that Blair will actually end up in the dock. Even if the police recommend charges, the Crown Prosecution Service will be open to political pressure, not least from the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, himself a Labour donor, ennobled by Blair. Goldsmith is trying to wriggle off the hook by saying he will appoint an independent QC to advise him on the case. As they say in some legal circles, pull the other one.

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