Newspaper reports over Easter drawing David Milliband, Minister of State for Communities and Local Government, and former private secretary to Tony Blair, into the ‘loans for peers’ scandal has raised Whitehall gossip of a No 10 ‘smoking gun’ There are also reports that the police, who have already arrested a former Government adviser in connection with the scandal want to interview a number of other people, including the Prime Minister.
The loans came to light after the committee responsible for vetting the nominees queried three of those recommended by Labour. Dr. Chai Patel, head of a chain of psychiatric clinics which has contracts with the state-run National Health Service, gave Labour a loan of £1.5 million, but he was blocked by the committee. Stockbroker Barry Townsley and Sir David Garrard, a property developer, subsequently requested their names be removed from the peers’ list, amidst complaints that the status and prestige of the titles they were promised has been undermined by Blair’s readiness to grant so many of them.
It emerged later that at least two other wealthy businessmen, Andrew Rosenfeld and Gulam Noon, the curry tycoon, had also lent Labour money before being nominated for peerages.
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