Police will not investigate cash-for-peerages allegations against Tories

More proof that Westminster’s standards system is ‘broken’, says SNP MP

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Friday 12 November 2021 23:47
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The Metropolitan Police will not investigate allegations that Conservative donors were given peerages in return for gifts totalling £3m or more.

Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart wrote to Met commissioner Cressida Dick demanding an inquiry after reports that 15 out of 16 Tory treasurers in the past two decades have been sent to the House of Lords after passing the donation threshold.

Mr Wishart accepted the police decision not to investigate, but said that the issue provided further proof that Westminster’s standards system is “broken”.

In a letter to the SNP frontbencher, the Met’s special inquiry team said they had considered possible offences under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 and other legislation.

But Det Insp Trevor Normoyle wrote: “There is insufficient information upon which to launch a criminal investigation.”

Mr Wishart responded: “If it is not illegal to hand out peerages in return for millions of pounds in donations then it should be illegal – and it is absolute proof that Westminster is institutionally corrupt.

“The fact that Boris Johnson, and his predecessors, have handed peerages to dozens of millionaire Tory Party donors absolutely stinks and it is an appalling abuse of the system.

“The independence of the police is paramount and we respect their decision, which is based on the evidence that is immediately available and the law as it stands.

“However, the fact that the Tories could get away with the shameful practice of dishing out peerages to their wealthy donors proves that the Westminster system is broken beyond repair and will never be fixed.

“The Tories might have got off the hook for now but the court of public opinion will find them guilty as charged. People in Scotland are looking in horror at what’s going on at Westminster. The sooner Scotland can become an independent country, and shake off this broken system, the better.”

The 1925 act was passed following a cash-for-honours scandal three years earlier in which then PM David Lloyd George was found to have been charging £10,000 for a knighthood, £30,000 for baronetcy, and £50,000 and upwards for a peerage.

In 2006 a number of people connected to Tony Blair’s Labour administration were arrested in connection with alleged offences under the act.

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