Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A new defence against allegations of Blair's sleaze has emerged. This one comes not from the government itself (for reasons which will become obvious) but from former minister Frank Fields (via).
A former Labour minister has criticised the police probe into the loans for peerages row as "absurd", saying the sale of honours has always gone on and always will.

Frank Field said although political parties selling peerages was a "nuisance", the public had tolerated it for 200 years and most would not consider Scotland Yard's investigations a "sensible deployment of police resources".
Frank can be a bit of a maverick at times so what he says can't always be assumed to have come from Downing Street and as he was not a member of the government during the period under investigation, this "admission" is probably not going to be used against Blair in a court of law. Handy that.

Anyway, Frank says quite explicitly that the government has broken the law. He then strongly implies that a prosecution would be a waste of time and not in the public interest. It's hard to avoid the impression that Frank might just be angling for a peerage himself. He's in his Sixties now and all that standing for election business must start to become tiresome after a while.

Inside the Westminster bubble, the strategy of admitting an uncomfortable truth in order to draw a line under it is apparently called "concede and move on". (See Nick Robinson for this strategy sort of in action in another area.) As far as I'm aware however, the CPS, judges and juries are unlikely to be impressed by the need to "move the debate on". In that arena, it's more a case of "concede and get a reduced sentence".

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1 comment:

Tim Neale said...

If Mr Field had have stood up in Parliament at the time theses laws were passed and said this, then I might have had some sympathy. But as he has only come to this conclusion after Labour has been caught, it stinks of self-serving hypocrisy.

What was the catch phrase of the Respect Agenda? “Show some respect, get some respect.” Well Mr Field et al can kiss my arse.