Politics: BBC's Banned Story about No 10 Email

The Birmingham Post (England), March 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Politics: BBC's Banned Story about No 10 Email


Byline: By Andrew Woodcock

An internal email between two members of Tony Blair's inner circle is at the centre of a BBC story which was banned from broadcast, the Corporation revealed.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith went to the High Court on Friday to obtain an injunction preventing the BBC from revealing details of the story, relating to the ongoing investigation into cash-for-honours allegations.

Lord Goldsmith revealed he was acting on the request of the Metropolitan Police, which has conducted a 12-month investigation into claims peerages were offered in return for financial support for political parties.

A spokesman for the Attorney said police were concerned the disclosure of information contained in the story could have harmed their inquiry.

Lord Goldsmith - a member of the Cabinet - was acting independently of the Government in seeking the injunction yesterday afternoon, said the spokesman.

News of the injunction -the first to be sought or granted in the cash-for-honours affair - heightened expectations that the long-drawn-out inquiry might at last be coming to a close.

The cash-for-honours inquiry was sparked in March last year by complaints to the Metropolitan Police by Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru MPs that honours appeared to have been offered in return for financial support to the major parties.

Inquiries have focused on loans totalling tens of millions of pounds used to bankroll the Labour and Conservative campaigns for the 2005 General Election.

So far, four people have been arrested - Tony Blair's personal fundraiser Lord Levy, Downing Street aide Ruth Turner, Labour donor Sir Christopher Evans and former headteacher Des Smith - but there have been no charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service has said there is no evidence to support a charge against Mr Smith, who told an undercover reporter that honours may be available in return for support for the Government's City Academy programme.

Mr Blair himself has been interviewed twice by police, both times as a witness, not a suspect.

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