Blair aide questioned over peerages

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Indy Politics

MPs have increased the pressure on the Metropolitan Police team investigating "cash for peerages" to question Tony Blair over the scandal.

One of Mr Blair's senior aides, Ruth Turner, his "gatekeeper" at No 10, was questioned last week by the police unit led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, but his team have not yet questioned Mr Blair about the allegations.

Police are following an electronic trail of e-mails in their search for evidence and it understood that Ms Turner, 36, was asked about e-mails and documents. She was reported to have visited the former party chairman Ian McCartney in hospital for him to sign nomination forms for millionaire businessmen being put forward for peerages after they made secret loans to the party. Mr McCartney had no knowledge of the loans.

Members of an all-party committee of MPs also investigating the affair warned that they would seek a meeting with Mr Yates to see if he intends to question Mr Blair when the Commons returns from the summer recess on 9 October.

The committee, chaired by the Labour MP Tony Wright, suspended its inquiries after Mr Yates warned that they could undermine the police investigation. The MPs want a progress report from him and an indication of the likelihood of a report being sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. Some MPs want the committee to questionMr Blair, if there is no sign of the police doing it.

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