Labour rejects inquiry into SFO
Labour officials said they also feared the controversy over the SFO would obscure their demands for the Tory party to return the pounds 440,000 it received from Nadir and to open their accounts to scrutiny.
The pressure on the Tories to return its Nadir donations was increased by Labour's national executive committee, which agreed to repay the pounds 11,000 it received from Charilaos Costa, another fugitive Cypriot businessman wanted on fraud charges.
Nadir's pounds 440,000 donation to the Conservatives is still being pursued by Touche Ross, the joint administrators for Polly Peck, Nadir's collapsed business empire. Labour's refusal to support an inquiry into the SFO caused a reversal of roles on law and order for Labour and Tory MPs. David Mellor, the former minister responsible for the legislation setting up the SFO, led Tory backbench MPs in supporting Mr Mates's call for the inquiry into the SFO.
'Michael Mates is a very experienced member of Parliament; he was the first to blow the whistle on the Community Charge; he's been right about some things; he plainly believed absolutely passionately that something had been wrong in the handling of the Nadir case,' he said.
Paul Boateng, the Labour spokesman on the Lord Chancellor's Department, said he feared an inquiry would make it more difficult to bring Nadir to justice. 'I am concerned that the cloud of suspicion that has been raised by the Mates affair should not obscure the central task of the SFO, which is to bring this man to justice.
'He is a fugitive from justice. He has paid large sums to the Conservative Party. He must not for one moment believe that will buy him anything, that he will escape justice . . .'
Alistair Darling, Labour spokesman on City affairs, said: 'So far there is not a shred of evidence that would entitle us to call for a public inquiry.'
The Speaker's rules may be tightened up following the unprecedented Commons scenes when Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker, repeatedly confronted Mr Mates during his personal statement.
Senior Conservative MPs said yesterday they would be asking the Commons procedure committee to change the rules to ensure that all resignation speeches are submitted to the Speaker for prior vetting.
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after light aircraft crash lands
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£37000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has a track record...
£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...