Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cash for Peerages, Tony Blair was to be questioned under caution

According to this article in today's Sunday Telegraph the police wanted to interview Tony Blair under caution when they interviewed him for a second time on the 26th of January this year. They were advised by political intermediaries not to do so as that would make his position untenable, so he would have to resign.

Downing street have of course denied this, but they would wouldn't they?

The interview was recorded and a transcript sent for approval to Number 10, but as yet there has been no reply. Number 10 says "witness statements are being drawn up in the usual way". What? 3 months to agree the transcript of an interview? Pull the other one, its got bells on!

This puts a completely new complexion on things. At the time the interview was played down, he was interviewed as a witness, there is not accusation of wrong doing etc. ad nausiem. Well if in fact they wanted to caution him that is all out of the window.

It also seems that the police are surprised the Lord Levy and Ruth Turner have not been suspended given the seriousness of the investigation.

I wonder what Lord levy and Ruth Turner would say if charged?

9 comments:

Steven Whaley said...

In answer to you last question - might I suggest:

"It's a fair cop, guv"

;)

Timothy said...

Since when did the police allow themselves to be told by representatives of the person they are going to interview whether to caution them or not?!?

I'll have to try that one next time I want to do some NVDA: "'Ere, guv, don't collar me, like, I'll lose me job"

I'd imagine the response would be something along the lines of: "You should have thought of that before you got involved"

Marquee Mark said...

There is much in this article that is strange and raises many questions...

- why was the FIRST Blair interview recorded? We are told that is unusual. Was that FIRST interview also a trade off - had the police agreed to Blair providing a signed Witness Statement in return for not being interviewed under caution?

- do the police need to rely on some information contained in that first "witness statement" in order to bring their case against Levy and/or others? Is that why the astonishing months of delay in Blair signing and returning it?

- any criminal lawyers out there - could that delay in itself be the basis for a charges against Blair for obstruction?

- assuming the police were getting hacked off that Blair was giving them the run around after the first interview, that could explain why they next wanted to interview him under caution: then they can proceed with charges against third parties. Blair digs his heels in and through unknown "political intermediaries" says no - it is political dynamite and would in short order force him to resign. So then the Mexican stand-off.

- Police want to use the threat of interview under caution to move forward - don't forget they are under pressure themselves for not having brought charges. But someone is beating up on the police - for political, not operational reasons. So, question - who could be the "political intermediary" involved. The only candidates I can think of would be the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, perhaps the Lord Chancellor - or the Home Secretary. I suppose if you twist it to be police INTERNAL politics, it could also be Commissioner Ian Blair. Or if not him, at another stretch it could be there was no "intermediary" and it was just a straight battle of wills with Tony Blair. Are there realistically any other candidates? How do we reduce that list to find out who?

- Whatever, the politician wins. Blair is then interviewed a second time, not under caution. But - was this second interview also recorded? Are the police still waiting on a signed witness statement as a result?

- what is clear though is that the police WANTED to interview Blair under caution. But for political intervention, they would have. The only way to read that is that the police ARE treating Blair as a suspect - they just aren't allowed to act on that basis. Again, is that obstruction?

- what is the role of the Monarch in this? Blair has weekly audiences with Her Majesty. One can only wonder at the what she thinks of the standard of probity of her Prime Minister. If it were reported to her that he was obstructing an enquiry, could SHE yet have a role in the timing of Blair's resignation?

- and tagged onto all this is the succession - and the question: Levy brought £60 - £80 million into Labour coffers which Brown helped spend; what did Brown know and when did he know it?

What murky times we live in.

Richard Havers said...

Staggering news! Marquee Mark raises some excellent points but perhaps most interesting of all remains the, how much did Broon know?

Gordo has always done well to keep himself out of the slurry, but I just feel he's going to be dragged under along with Bliar. The I didn't know what was going on, is no defense

Benedict White said...

Steven, :) Actually I was wondering if they might remember something that incriminates someone else!

Timothy, I think the problem is that the police have never interviewed a sitting PM before.

That said why that should change what they do is another question all together. Obviously it shouldn't.

Marquee Mark, You ask some good questions, to which I suspect we won't ever find out the answers.

It is certainly bizarre that the police seem to have changed their minds about interviewing under caution. I don't the the Queen would be amused.

As for why Blair is taking so long to return the transcript that is any ones guess. After all there is a tape. This is not going to be a witness statement, but a transcript of an interview.

It certainly does put Blair right back in the frame though.

As for Brown's involvement, well he certainly was involved in spending the money! He may well escape the legal consequences, but not the political ones.

Richard Havers, Yes, What did Brown know and will we ever find out?

Murkier and murkier!

Maggie Thatcher Fan said...

I'm not sure if it was at the same time, but I remember reading comments in the press that "No 10 was in meltdown". Maybe this was why!
To my mind, the only thing that had changed is the timescale. I seems more likely that Blair will be interviewed under caution but only after he has left office. That's why Yates has said there is no timetable for the end of the investigation methinks?

Benedict White said...

Maggie Thatcher Fan, I don't quite remember when that was in the news either.

Yes I do think Blair will be questioned under caution, but possibly only after he has left office as you say.

Either way this is not doing Labour any favours.

Anonymous said...

This just goes on and on..and on!!
It seems quite clear to me that this Government is sleeze,and more sleezy right to the Top !
I was reading an article in one the Sunday Nationals (Mail on Sunday) about Lord Levy..yet again and while the newspaper seemed to attack all parties in the article.I was amazed at the story to read that this very young and very beautiful girl Courtney Coventry had come forward to make quite clear that Lord Levy was able to command Tony Blair at Labours fund raising functions. It is not sure much as to what the paper said or rather what Courtney Coventry said,but reading between the lines,I will place a little bet with anyone that this girl knows more than she said and it WAS "Cash for honours" !!

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, Do you have a link for that story?