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And yet Labour still financed their 2005 General Election campaign on a sea of debt.

Really, I think this result is a joke. Quite clearly Labour and others were breaking the law, but the police just couldn't find enough evidence - ie. they found some evidence but not enough to stop clever lawyers getting their Labour party clients off on stupid technicalities.

Once again this is proof that celebs and important individuals are above the law, whereas the rest of us are not.

Just because the CPS could not find sufficient evidence to believe there could be a successful prosecution does not prove that there is no political scandal here:
- 58.5% of all Labour donors giving more than £50,000 received an honour of some form compared to 0.035% of non-donors
- Large Labour donors are 1,657 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor
- Large Labour donors are an amazing 6,969 times more likely to receive a peerage than a non-donor
(Source - The Bow Group: The Price of Dishonour)

The plain fact is that NuLab financed the last election via secret loans from rich men, who Tony Blair then recommended for some form of honour. There may not be enough evidence for a criminal prosecution but there is more than enough evidence for a major political scandal.

Chris, you sound just like the paranoics on the hard left who insist that Tony Blair personally murdered David Kelly.

It really helps to know why you're talking about before posting, but seeing as you evidently don't let's go through the facts point by point:

First, yes Labour did finance the 2005 election on a sea of debt - as did the Tories. That is immaterial - because the investigation was (initially) specifically about whether loans were offered for peerages.

The issue of whether undisclosed loans were legal is unanswerable: at the time the law was that they were. That they shouldn't have been is the reason the law has been amended.

Now on one level, it has long been the case that peerages have been awarded for support (political or financial) to political parties; there are plenty of former Tory treasurers who would not be in the Lords if that were not the case. And the same is no doubt true of Labour.

But as Tony Blair did not have the power to appoint peers - only to recommend them to the appointments panel so the Police could never have proven that Lords were directly appointed in return for cash: it simply could not be substantiated, let alone beyond reasonable doubt.

But this long ago ceased to be an investigation into loans for peerages: the Police clearly never had sufficient evidence to bring charges about that because the investigation shifted to being about an alleged cover up.

The sole evidence for that, it appeared a few months ago (again, coincidentally, just before the council elections) was Ruth Turner's unimpeachable concern that she was being asked to present a scenario she did not personally believe to be accurate. We have not seen the reasons for the CPS ruling, but again, there is no way on earth that this alone could be substantiation enough to successfully prosecute any individual.

The next question that has to be asked is what the hell the police were doing acting on one allegation from the most vitriolically and irrationally anti-Labour Party represented in the Commons.

The Police justification - that they are obliged to investigate any complaint - is guff and there needs to be a review to ensure that in future a massively costly and damaging investigation with virtually no prospect of successful prosecution cannot just be launched on the basis of party-political spite. Given the closeness of the result, it is entirely reasonable to assume that without this "scandal" the SNP would not now be in power in Scotland.

There also needs to be an inquiry into the leaking of information, and the issue of sub judice as it governs media coverage of such issues. It seems likely that some of the leaks emanated from the Downing Street "side" - and that is of course wrong, but it seems that the Police were not without guilt in this area either, and that is utterly unacceptable.

Finally, you make the bizarre and false assertion that these people got off on technicalities. First, you are you referring to: no-one was charged and no-one was tried. The only "technicality" here is that there was no case to answer. This is hardly a one-off: the CPS makes that determination on a range of cases every day, so claiming that there's one law for the government and another for the rest of us is cheap and untrue.

Peter, like Norman Baker MP, I have always found the assertions that Dr David Kelly committed suicide questionable. Maybe you know more than the rest of us. If so, can you enlighten us?

As for Cash for Honours, I never thought that this would result in prosecutions. I very much doubt if the CPS will make their reasons known. However, outcomes like this will only reinforce public cynicism about a political class which seems accountable to no-one.

So, no charges. Well, who would actually want to live in a society where to be accused is to be guilty?

However, the filtering of justice, for that is what it is, by the CPS must be tempered by the need for justice to be tested. Whether the evidence (from the Latin "that which is seen") can stand a public test we cannot now know - we are unlikely to see it. By the way what does "insufficient mean in this context?

It is now the duty (something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do) of the CPS to state clearly why the evidence could not be tested. The usual defence of "not in the public interest" will not do. Neither will the defence of pre-determination - we know they done so let's bang 'em up without any need for proof. Locking people up without due process of law is something of a government monopoly.

This investigation was into the corruption of the legislature by the governing poltical party - an alleged fraud perpetrated against the public by the government. Therefore, the CPS should have prosecuted even if they believed the chances of conviction were poor. As we now stand the CPS is portrayed as an adjunct to corruption and not as part of an independent judiciary (again - BAE).

As it is the suspects will remain tainted with the whiff of corruption with their names forever associated with Loans for Lordships; presumed guilty for life. If, however the evidence was tested before a jury (a group of people who have been chosen to listen to all the facts in a trial in a law court and to decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty, or whether a claim has been proved) we would know. It seems, however, that we are doomed to live in a society where only the government can resist the temptation of pre-determination.

So after Ecclestone, Mittal, the Hutton Report and now Cash for Honours no one has been charged with anything let alone been found guilty.
I hope no one from Britain ever seeks to lecture anyone from the rest of the world on the superiority of our system over theirs when ours is rotten to the core.
I'm reminded of the prescient words of Ian Hislop 'if this is justice then I'm a banana'.
I Couldn't have put it better.

Couldn't agree with you more, Malcolm.

So, no charges. Well, who would actually want to live in a society where to be accused is to be guilty?

Not me, but the standard required by our representatives (and their side kicks)is higher than beyond reasonable doubt. They must be seen to be above corruption, or they should resign.

They don't have enough evidence to prosecute me, so there is no problem, is ok for us mere Serfs, but its an abuse of power in circumstances that stink like these do.

I think it is a sad indictment of our system that my son and myself were completely convinced that no charges would be brought even if there proved to be irrefutable evidence in the question of 'Cash for Honours' We were equally confident that the Hutton inquiry would exonerate. We all know that there has been a whitewash. Whatever happened to the British tradition of checks and balances?

"However, outcomes like this will only reinforce public cynicism about a political class which seems accountable to no-one. "

Yes . There is a general cynicism about Westminster Village - all of it - which the Conservatives have not capitalised upon . They should have been banging aon about political morality for ages but have not - they just seem to conspire with Labour in it all and provide no leadership at all .
Most of the population simply lump all the parties in together - unsurprisingly .

Lets have another standing ovation for Blair .

'However,outcomes like this will only reinforce public cynicism about a political class which seems accountable to no-one'.
We, the Conservative party,must take the moral high ground.
Which makes our decision not to actively oppose state funding, the David Maclean bill, and the decision to accept the £10,000 (Communication allowance) for incumbent MPs not only wrong but tactically and strategically inept.

You all make my point perfectly: any result other than the death penalty for Lord Levy, Ruth Turner and Sir Christopher Evans is - for purely irrational, partisan reasons - taken as a whitewash, irrespective of the utter lack of substance to either the initial complaint or the subsequent investigation.

As for Michael McGowan @14.00, take a damp towel, five or six Prozac and go lie down in a dark, padded cell, straight-jacket optional. Anyone using the words "Norman" and "Baker" as substantiation of their argument needs sectioning.

Rather than making rather juvenile ad hominem attacks on Michael Mcgowan and Norman Baker why don't you try to answer Mike As post Peter?

"Yes . There is a general cynicism about Westminster Village - all of it - which the Conservatives have not capitalised upon"

For a start they could point out that Brown was in charge of the election and, therefore, the money. Did he ask where the money came from? Sorry musn't say that, may persuade someone to vote Conservative and that's against party rules.

And I doubt if Kelly committed suicide as well.

Malcolm, because the mildly offensive paranoid-delusional rantings of a clearly troubled individual deserve no more serious response than do those who believe that the US Government flew the planes into the World Trade Centre on 11th September 2001.

To treat these - frankly pathetic - conspiracy theorists with anything other than utter disdain is to afford them the belief that they are vaguely rational, credible or serious. They are not.

Can someone, please, tell me what this news report was all about then?

"Jack Dromey, the Labour Party treasurer investigating secret loans to the party, has previously complained that 'rich men are too influential at Downing Street'.

"Treasurer since 2004, Mr Dromey has said he knew nothing about loans totalling millions of pounds made to the party in the run-up to the 2005 general election."

The pathetic or rather dishonest one is you Peter Coe. I certainly hope you are not a member of the Conservative party.

Paras 24 - 30 of the CPS's full statement are informative.

It appears that in law, the presence of smoke may only be circumstantial evidence of the existence of fire.

Peter Coe, thanks for your comments. You've managed to insult a number of the regulars on this site in the course of your posts. I wonder whether you would have been so openly rude to us face to face?

Malcolm, you have demonstrated through this thread and your comments on others that you have no objectivity on this issue (and, more worryingly, on the David Kelly tragedy either).

Any verdict other than guilty, regardless of evidence or credibility of the charges would plainly have been unacceptable for you.

You are blinded by partisan hatred and other than wailing about how terrible the result was you have come up with not one substantive argument to justify a position that:

* the CPS got it wrong;
* there was any wrongdoing anywhere;
* what Labour may or may not have done is substantively different to what the Conservatives and Lib Dems get up to (how are Lords Ashcroft and McAlpine, to name but two?);
* or that there is any justification for the way this case has been conducted by the Police and the Media.

If you have anything substantive to say on this let's hear it...but you don't do you?

As for Chris, "insulting" is a subjective term. I don't believe it's insulting to call a spade a spade and a conspiracy theorist a conspiracy theorist.

As I say, there is not a shred of difference between someone like you and those who grotesquely believe that the US Government was behind 9/11. And as I say, I will not indulge your pathetic fantasies.

Isn't it telling that here we have an opportunity to talk about substantive issues like:

* the future of political funding
* the way politically motivated complaints are investigated
* the way the 24 hour news cycle is damaging the coverage of all ongoing investigations (not just this one, but any major criminal investigation)
* the future of the House of Lords

...and yet we have hardly any contributions (and even fewer sane ones) whereas the thread on the Southall by-election - in itself utterly irrelevant to British politics - is stuffed full of whining right-wingers demanding a return to the ideological Siberia your party has spent the past decade in. Revelatory.

"Therefore, the CPS should have prosecuted even if they believed the chances of conviction were poor."

If you read the CPS's explanation, it's not that the chances of conviction were poor; it's that with all the evidence available, a jury adhering to the law could not have found guilt under ANY circumstances. There is simply ZERO chance of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. To go forward on such a case is called "bad faith." It would be to disregard one's ethical obligations as an attorney.

"It appears that in law, the presence of smoke may only be circumstantial evidence of the existence of fire."

I don't suppose either of you has ever actually tried a criminal case? As a prosecutor myself, this all seems like the eminently proper result; otherwise, what you'd have is not a proper prosecution but a witch-hunt.

Whilst clearly the 16 month very expensive police investigation has resulted in no evidence against any individual strong enough to persuade the CPS to prosecute it may well be the case that those involved will be called to explain themselves to MP's. The public administration committee have requested the police publish the full evidence. So whilst the police investigation is over this affair may have quite some way to run yet.

Shame, shame shame!

Having just read Courtney Coventry's statement,I would hope that the British people demand that she is called by the public administration Committee of the House of Commons. This is a total whitewash and they,the Government should not be allowed to walk away from this.

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