UK?s sleaze watchdog slams Blair
Already in deep trouble over the cash for peerage scandal, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been jolted further by a personal attack on him by the country?s sleaze watchdog.Updated: May 22, 2006 01:20 IST
Already in deep trouble over the cash for peerage scandal, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been jolted further by a personal attack on him by the country’s sleaze watchdog. His own appointee, Sir Alistair Graham, who oversees ministers’ conduct, said that Blair ignored the importance of upholding standards in public life.
Sir Alistair added that Blair saw standards as a "minor issue". In a conversation with The Sunday Times, he added that because of Blair’s “major error of judgement”, Labour was now considered "sleazy".
Sir Alistair also expressed concern about John Prescott's affair with a secretary adding, “Opinion polls (show) the public think this government is as sleazy as the last."
Blair had swept to power in 1997 promising to be "whiter than white" after a string of sleaze allegations damaged the previous Conservative government.
Sir Alistair's comments, unfortunately for Blair, come as Scotland Yard detectives continue to investigate claims that peerages were awarded in return for loans or donations to Labour Party funds, or for sponsoring Blair's flagship city academies.
In a poll by The Daily Telegraph, 54 per cent of those polled said they believed that seats in the House of Lords were offered in return for secret loans or donations.
Worse, 53 per cent believed Blair should be put in the dock and prosecuted if Scotland Yard finds that Labour acted illegally over the loan affair.
The scandal broke after the Labour Party revealed it had received nearly £14 million in loans from 12 businessmen, some of whom were later nominated for seats in the upper House of Lords.
First Published: May 22, 2006 01:20 IST