October 10, 2006
The pre-trial hearing of two men accused of leaking a memo that recorded George W. Bush’s proposal to bomb Al-Jazeera has been held in secret at the Old Bailey.
David Keogh and Leo O’Connor have been charged under the Official Secrets Act.
Mr Justice Aikens ordered that the session was held in secret following his earlier ruling that the public should not hear parts of the case which could affect national security.
Mr Keogh, a former Cabinet Office official, denies two charges of making a damaging disclosure of part of a government document in his possession as a Crown servant without lawful authority.
Mr O’Connor, a former researcher for an MP, denies a charge of making a damaging disclosure of a document passed to him illegally.
The trial will take place on April 18 next year.
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 26, 2006
Tony Blair is to give his final speech as prime minister to Labour’s annual conference with a plea for the party to focus on a fourth election victory.
Mr Blair faced protests during his TUC conference speech a fortnight ago, but he is expected to be given a hero’s send off by Labour delegates.
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 24, 2006
A note of a private meeting between Mr Blair and President Bush in January 2003 shows that Tony Blair failed to confront Mr Bush when he claimed Saddam Hussein had tried to buy aluminium tubes for nuclear weapons production.
Mr Blair did not contradict the President despite having received “private briefings” which indicated that the aluminium tubes were more likely to be for conventional weapons, according to the new edition of a book by the international lawyer Philippe Sands published tomorrow.
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