I was researching for a story on “Cash for Honours” and Lord Levy, when I came across this shocker.

Law chief wanted secret gag on the BBC

The Daily Mail reported:

Tony Blair’s most senior law adviser tried to impose a draconian ban to prevent the public learning about the gagging order that stopped the BBC revealing a major police breakthrough in the loans-for-peerages scandal.

“Most senior law adviser”? You guessed right - Attorney General.

Read the full article by SIMON WALTERS, 3rd March 2007

Loans linked to Peerages?

Wikipedia explains the issue clearly in “Cash for Honours” quoted below. Mind-boggling stuff!

Cash for Honours (also Cash for Peerages, Loans for Honours or Loans for Peerages ) is the name given by some in the media to a political scandal in the United Kingdom in 2006 and 2007 concerning the connection between political donations and the award of life peerages. A loophole in electoral law in the United Kingdom means that although anyone donating even small sums of money to a political party has to declare this as a matter of public record, those loaning money, even for an indefinite period, did not have to make a public declaration.
In March 2006, several men nominated for life peerages by then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, were rejected by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. It was later revealed they had loaned large amounts of money to the governing Labour Party,[1] at the suggestion of Labour fundraiser Lord Levy. Suspicion was aroused by some that the peerages were a quid pro quo for the loans, and the incident was referred to the Metropolitan Police by Scottish National Party MP Angus MacNeil as a breach of the law against selling honours.[2]
During the investigation various members of the Labour Party (including Tony Blair), the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were questioned, and Labour’s Lord Levy was arrested and later released on bail.
Following the unveiling of the scandal the Labour party had to repay the loans and was said to be in financial difficulty.[3] The police investigation was long and involved. It expanded to encompass potential charges of perverting the course of justice, apparently relating to suspected attempts to present evidence to the police in a particular way. At one point the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, obtained an injunction against the BBC, preventing them from reporting a story they claimed was in the public interest: this raised the possibility of a conflict of interest, the Attorney General being a political appointee. Tony Blair was interviewed three times as Prime Minister, though not under caution.

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Freedom of Press?

in June 2001, Lord Goldsmith was appointed to the post of Attorney General by the Labour Party. (In 1999 the same Labour Party made him a Lord.) After the above scandal broke, he “obtained an injunction against the BBC, preventing them from reporting a story they claimed was in the public interest“. The Labour Party was being investigated. “… this raised the possibility of a conflict of interest, …

Rajeev Syal of The Times (4/23/07) reported:” Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, insisted yesterday that he would not give up his power to have the final say on whether prosecutions are brought in the cash-for-honours inquiry.”

AG Lord Goldsmith

Left: Lord Goldsmith (Wikipedia).

“On 22 June 2007, Goldsmith announced his resignation which took effect on 27 June 2007, the same day that prime minister, Tony Blair, stepped down.” Click on image for more. (The next Labour appointee was Baroness Scotland of Asthal, from Dominica.)
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Could this happen in Barbados?

Could a newspaper, radio or TV station be blocked by a politician from putting out a story on a Government investigation?


Next: Cash for Honours II, Lord Levy talks.