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For the past several days, while election fervor has swept America and the blogosphere, the Blair Government is under increasing scrutiny by the Metropolitan Police.

It has come to light that a number of well-heeled gentlemen allegedly swapped secret loans to the Labour Party for its recent election campaign, in exchange for peerages.

This is the big story in Britain right now, and I've only begun to follow it myself. More below the fold.

Following an arrest in July, Lord Levy, Tony Blair's main fundraiser, has admitted that he got the idea for a secret loan scheme from previous Tory governments. Undisclosed loans to political parties of over £5000 have been illegal in Britain since 2000.

Four secret donors gave over five million pounds apiece to Labour, all of whom received nominations to the House of Lords. Three arrests have taken place. The inquiries into Tory wrongdoings concluded before Halloween, and all the focus has been turned onto a handful of Cabinet ministers... and now on Tony Blair himself.

Andrew Grice writing in The Independent today:


Tony Blair is one of only two cabinet ministers who knew the party agreed to accept secret loans from rich supporters, Scotland Yard's "cash for honours" inquiry is to be told.

...

The latest twist in the Metropolitan Police inquiry could leave Mr Blair dangerously isolated. Some Labour insiders believe the Prime Minister may have been the only politician to know that the four businessmen had a financial relationship with Labour when he nominated them for seat in the House of Lords.

...

The Prime Minister has said he takes "full responsibility" for Labour's decisions but insisted that he did not nominate the four men for peerages in return for their loans.

Blair allies are worried that there is a "media agenda" to goad the police into interviewing the Prime Minister. If he is interviewed, he is reported to want the session to take place away from Downing Street to avoid humiliating television pictures of the police entering No 10. It could be held in his Commons room or at his Chequers country residence.

Also see Matthew Norman's "The quaking wretch in Downing Street":

Many of us see the cash-for-honours case in the same light as the Feds getting Al Capone for tax evasion.

This may well spell the end of the Poodle.

Bush's allies continue to vanish.

LIBERTY.

Originally posted to Yamara on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:13 PM PST.

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