January 21, 2007
The arrest of one of Tony Blair’s top aides in the cash for honours row was made after fresh information was uncovered during a search of the Number 10 computer system, according to reports.
The investigation put police at loggerheads with politicians after Ruth Turner was arrested in a dawn swoop on her home.
The News Of The World said it was informed by sources within the Crown Prosecution Service that a “mole” within Downing Street told the police about potentially incriminating emails.
An independent IT expert was then sent in by detectives, with the permission of Downing Street, to look through communications records, it claimed. But the Sunday Telegraph suggested that detectives had obtained high-level permission to “hack” into the IT system remotely.
November 14, 2006
The Mail on Sunday has been told that when he is questioned by police [in the Cash for Peerages investigation], Mr Blair intends to take legal advice from law firm Kingsley Napley. Source: Mail on Sunday 5.11.06
Alastair Campbell has repaid barrister Stephen Parkinson, who secretly coached him and Tony Blair before they gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry into the death of MoD weapons expert Dr David Kelly. Campbell gave a media lecture to Parkinson’s law firm, Kingsley Napley, which helped Chilean dictator General Pinochet avoid extradition from the UK on torture charges. Source: Mail on Sunday 22.10.06
“It was Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, a personal friend and who had chaired the Bristol babies inquiry, who told me during the summer of 2003, as Lord Hutton began his inquiry, to get good lawyers, and trust them. It was good advice.” Campbell’s lecture
Stephen Parkinson is head of Kingsley Napley’s criminal law practice area. He has a mixed practice involving white collar crime, Stephen advised all the No 10 and Cabinet Office witnesses in the Hutton Inquiry and David Westwood, the Chief Constable of Humberside in the latter stages of the Bichard Inquiry. He acted for Richard Carr, the former Chief Executive of Transtec Plc, who was acquitted this year of accountancy related charges following a three month trial prosecuted by the SFO. Stephen frequently represents high profile individuals caught up in criminal or regulatory investigations. His background, working at the highest levels of government, makes him particularly well placed to advise in cases which need good political antennae and sensitive handling.
Stephen is listed in the Chambers Guide to the Legal profession 2007 and the Legal 500 2006. He has had a varied career. He began as a prosecutor in the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which then became the CPS. In 1992 he joined the Department of Trade and industry, as the Legal Adviser to the Companies Investigation Branches of the DTI. In 1996, Stephen moved to the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, with responsibility for all the Government’s chancery and regulatory litigation. Between 1999 and 2003 he was the Deputy Head of the Attorney General’s Office, with responsibility for advising the Law Officers on all their responsibilities for criminal issues.Stephen then joined Kingsley Napley on secondment from the Government Legal Service.Stephen was called to the Bar in 1980 and requalified as a solicitor in 2005. He became a partner of Kingsley Napley in 2005.
July 22nd 2005 STEPHEN PARKINSON, the former deputy head of the Attorney-General’s Department, has become a partner at Kingsley Napley. Parkinson joins the 38-partner London firm, which is best known for its white-collar crime practice, having worked there on secondment since September 2003.
7 March 2003 :
Following a meeting with Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s chief of staff, and Sir David Manning, his foreign policy adviser, Lord Goldsmith produces a 13-page document weighing legal arguments, complete with caveats.
13-17 March 2003 : A nine-paragraph document is drawn up to persuade Sir Michael Boyce, the Army’s chief of staff, that British troops would not be charged with war crimes in the event of an attack on Iraq.
17 March 2003 : The Prime Minister presents the document ‘on one side of an A4 page’ to the Cabinet to convince waverers, including Clare Short, of the justification for an attack on Iraq. It is made public.
Lord Goldsmith to rule on the public interest case for Blair’s prosecution. Today: Attorney General Lord Goldsmith says there is “no question” of him standing aside from the cash-for-honours probe.
“Whilst I can’t stand aside… I will make sure that… decisions are taken impartially and objectively,” he said.
Any decision on prosecutions would be made by senior lawyers in the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime division. Lord Goldsmith will review that decision and determine if it is in the public interest.
Stephen Parkinson, when asked by the Evening Standard if he had briefed the Prime Minister, said:
“I never reveal who my clients are. You could of course contact No 10 and ask them.”
Among the many articles by Stephen Parkinson are :
“When privilege is not a right”
“Fairness and public interest immunity: inconsistent concepts?”
“Exposing the informer and other secrets of the prosecution
October 1, 2006
Dr Matt Carter was general secretary of the Labour party, the youngest ever person to hold the post. In that role, he was responsible for organising the delivery of Labour’s successful 2005 general election campaign. Dr Carter was also an important figure in arranging secret loans worth £14 million from leading supporters of the party.
During the 2005 campaign the Labour party spent £530,375 on Mark Penn, of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Washington’s most powerful pollster and political strategist.
Mr Penn, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, stayed at the Waldorf Hotel, in London, and had meetings with Mr Blair almost every day during the campaign. He came up with the party’s “Forward not back” election slogan.
Dr Matt Carter is currently the managing director of the London office of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, the international research-based communications company.
He had previously published a study of a 19th century idealist philosopher: T. H. Green and the Development of Ethical Socialism.
September 29, 2006
Ruth Turner, Downing Street’s director of government relations, was interviewed last week by Scotland Yard detectives investigating cash-for-honours allegations, Labour sources confirmed.
It is understood that police questions concentrated on “e-mail traffic” that appeared to have been sent both to and from Ms Turner’s workstation in Downing Street.
The e-mails, written in 2004 and 2005, discussed which lenders might be placed on a list of nominees for peerages.
Labour’s treasurer, Jack Dromey, has refused to give his views on the latest development in the inquiry.
“Forgive me if I make no comment on the police investigation,” he told BBC News 24.
“I’ve not said anything; I will not say anything in the future.”news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5391262.stm
Mr Dromey complained that neither he nor Labour’s elected chairman knew about the loans from businessmen, despite being regularly consulted about bank loans.
He only found out when details of the money emerged in the newspapers and wants to find out who obtained them for the Labour Party.
“It cannot be right that the elected officers were kept in the dark,” he told BBC News.
“It’s wrong that Downing Street thinks it can run the Labour Party: we are an elected party, a democratic party,” he said.
Jack Dromey, the Labour Party treasurer investigating secret loans to the party, has previously complained that “rich men are too influential at Downing Street”.
September 25, 2006
£27,247,000. The Labour Party’s debt.
£23,815,000. Labour’s running costs.
£15,166,000. Labour’s election spend.
£3,685,000. Raised from membership.
£8,000,000. Raised from affiliations.
£13,900,000. From Donations.
To deal with this, Labour has arranged £13.5 million overdraft and long-term facilities with the Co-Op and Unity Trust banks. And, quoting from page 51 of the NEC’s Annual Report,
Furthermore the party has entered into discussions with its other lenders to re-schedule the repayment of loans amounting to £12.4 million.
September 21, 2006
Prosecutors will now be able to strike deals with suspects within a statutory footing, offering either immunity from prosecution or reduction in sentence in return for co-operation. This will provide a strong incentive for those further down the ‘food chain’ to give evidence against the most powerful heads of organised criminal networks.
It is hoped this will lead to the arrest and imprisonment of more senior figures which in turn will help to make the UK a more difficult place to do business. But it will also help to breed uncertainty inside criminal organisations, whilst maintaining the essential checks and balances to prevent potential miscarriages of justice
July 26, 2006
Andrew Pierce, assistant editor of The Times, is getting all the good leaks from Operation Ribble, the Met’s investigation of cash for peerages.
Now, he is reporting ‘senior Whitehall sources’ as telling him that Lord Levy read a prepared statement when arrested and then replied ‘no comment’ to police questions. The source is reported saying that this will slow the investigation, increase its costs and delay the questioning of Tony Blair that was expected at the end of September.
“You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence.”