Monday, April 17, 2006
Peerage? Only if you Take the Labour Whip!
According to today's Daily Telegraph Downing Street is nready to go onto the attack over cash for honours. Tony Blair will say - anonymously, natch - that it was always his intention to give honours to people who contributed to City Academies. An aide to Blair said yesterday, with Blair's full authority: "We want these people to be in the House of Lords and take the Labour whip. It is something we are prepared to celebrate." Notice the underlined bit in that quote. This presumably means that someone who gave £2 million to a City Academy but was a Conservative or Liberal Democrat would not be offered a Peerage. This is an abuse of the patronage system on a grand scale. If this has been the attitude within Downing Street all along it is rather easy to see how Des Smith came to say what he did to the Sunday Times reporter. It seems to me that the anonymous Downing Street briefing to the Daily Telegraph has made things worse for Blair, not better. I do hope Lord Levy is enjoying his bank holiday.