The Sunday Telegraph has got hold of a letter written by Labour donor Sir Christopher Evans, sent to his shareholders, about his relationship with Lord Levy. He denies any wrongdoing and says that he was never offered a Peerage. Whoever advised him to send this letter must want their heads testing. It is the most incriminating letter he could possibly have written...
"Did we ever discuss honours and politics? Did he [Lord Levy] ever say on the countless occasions that I met him and his wife over the years that I was deserving of a future honour or I should have a political role and make a difference? Yes, he did. So what? Why should I be embarrassed by that fact or such comments? Were conversations also taking place about making donations to the party? Of course they were. Michael Levy was always talking about money, that's his job! Did he ever promise me anything in return for my donations or my loan? No. Never."
Sir Christopher, estimated to be worth more than £150 million, also wrote of his close relationship with Tony Blair and the Chancellor, Gordon Brown. "Over that time [10 years] there have been countless mentions of my future role in politics, that I would be 'just right' for contributing to the House of Lords."
That last sentence will be of particular interest to Inspector Yates. Surely if Lord Levy, or ndeed Blair or Brown, had often mentioned the possibility of the House of Lords that was tantamount to encouraging Evans to believe that he only had to keep the donations up and the reward would be his.
The other front page story in the Sunday Times concerns the departure of Sir Alastair Graham as Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (formerly the Nolan Committee). Sir Alastair has effectively been fired. He's been an outspoken critic of the way Tony Blair has reacted to various sleaze scandals and he is now paying the price. His contract has not been renewed. There is specualtion that Blair intends to axe the Committee as there has been no attempt to recruit a replacement for Sir Alastair. This means the Committee will be without a chairman for at least six months, and effectively toothless.
“I suspect Blair and his government are going to be as strongly identified with the loss of public trust as Major’s was with sleaze. The public certainly feel let down over the period.” He added: “The most fundamental thing is that Blair has betrayed himself. He set such a high bar for people to judge him and he has fallen well below the standards he set for himself.” “The prime minister has caused difficulties for himself and has helped to undermine trust in politicians through the way he has handled alleged breaches of the ministerial code,” said Graham.
One should remember when reading this article that Sir Alastair Graham is a former trade union leader and a man of the left. It defies credulity that atthe very time that the public is most worried about standards in public life, the Prime Minister castrates the watchdog which is supposed to promote such standards. This Prime Minister is not whiter than white. He's sleazier than sleaze.