Sunday, April 22, 2007

How "cash for access" went all the way up to Downing Street?

Whilst this morning's Sunday Times concentrates on the details of "cash for peerages" the Sunday Telegraph has a far more interesting angle on it all.* They've obtained an internal Labour Party document which details a "cash for access" strategy from 1997 onwards that was to revolve around Tony Blair, Lord Levy and Jonathan Powell. Until now, only snippets of the document had been leaked.

The official line on the document from Number 10 is that it was "naively written", along with assurances that people cannot buy themselves access to Downing Street and that "no one who gives money to the party is given preferential treatment". The latter point is patently absurd and totally disingenuous. You get a level of preferential treatment just for donating a grand to the Labour Party. So the idea that if you donate a few millions you won't find yourself treated differently is incredulous.
* I imagine both of these stories will be cited in the "trial by media" argument that is gradually being put forward already.

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