The Spectator

The fallout from ‘cash for honours’

The fallout from 'cash for honours'
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My thoughts on today’s drama

1. Yates will be hopping mad if (as is believed) he recommended charges against Jonathan Powell and others. He may see this as the second time he’s been shafted by the establishment.

2. No criminality doesn’t mean no wrongdoing said Martin Bright, my counterpart at the New Statesman in a Week in Westminster episode we were both invited in for (broadcast tomorrow). Lord Hutton cleared the government of any wrongdoing. But the documents he released damned Messrs Blair and Campbell in the court of public opinion.

3. No one can now claim that Yates wasted time because we don’t know what he found. Yes, he took time. The fact that he investigated some people under conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – so he obviously felt he was being lied to. And obviously that would delay the investigation. Was that his fault?

4. Now it’s time for the Westminster trial. Don’t forget there is an ongoing Public Affairs Select Committee inquiry which was suspended pending Yates’ investigation. Unless they shelve their inquiry (which I suspect Tony Wright will be under immense pressure to do) then we could see Yates give his side of the story. On camera.

5. We may yet see Yates’ dossier. He’d have prepared his file to the Crown Prosecution Service in full knowledge that every page may be scrutinised by parliament (one of the reasons his inquiry took so long). If he’s being trashed as a timewaster now, releasing this file to parliament may be a good way of defending his reputation (and that of the Met).

6. We can expect to hear from Blair today. I gather he’s been missing the cameras so much he’ll come say hello to us again.

7. Deal on party funding may soon follow. Brown will want state funding to clear all this up. The Tories were refusing to cut a deal, insisting any cap on donations should also apply to the £6m the unions give Labour. But might a weakened David Cameron, disheartened by the Ealing by-election result, do a deal with Brown on state funding

8. Labour Treasurer Jack Dromey will be delighted: he’s long hated big donors, and events are coming his way.

9. Brown may force through state funding anyway. Consensus is, after all, optional. And he appears to be able to walk on water right now. Half of his Cabinet have admitted to being dope (The Sun’s headline today is “High Office”) and he’s getting away with it.

10. “No charges” means that Guido owes me lunch. Châteauneuf-du-Pape please, Paul.

(The CPS's explanation for theier decision is here.)