Tony Blair’s Labour party is being investigated by British police amid a “cash for favours” row that has prompted calls for the prime minister to step down. The scandal broke with the revelation that rich businessmen had been nominated for seats in the upper house of parliament after lending Labour large sums to bankroll the party’s election campaign last year.
Tony Blair denies honours were for sale. Talk of rewards is also rejected by Chai Patel, one of those nominated for a place in the House of Lords. He complains the publicity surrounding the affair is damaging his reputation. “My life’s work is currently being rubbished,” he said. “People only know me as a businessman, a businessman who lent money, a businessman who is so insecure that he needs a peerage.” Dr Patel maintains he neither asked for nor expected a peerage. Today, Labour’s governing body announced measures aimed at making the party’s funding more transparent. It insists it has not broken the rules. But the fact that Labour is now at the centre of a police probe into complaints relating to Britain’s honours system means this political scandal looks set to continue for some time to come.