Met Police Considers Request To Investigate Corruption Accusation Against Tory Party
The Metropolitan Police is considering whether or not it will investigate the allegation that the Conservative Party gave its past treasurers peerage for donations, it is confirmed.
A Met spokesman confirmed the receipt of the complaint on Tuesday after several members of Parliament said they were writing to the Met regarding the allegations on Monday.
“The Metropolitan Police Service has received correspondence relating to recent media reports concerning the awarding of peerages. At this time, we are considering the contents of the correspondence,” the spokesman said.
The Sunday Times reported last week that all but one of the 16 Conservative treasurers over the last two decades had donated more than £3 million ($4.05 million) to the party and then been offered a seat in the House of Lords.
It came as the government’s botched attempt to protect Tory lawmaker Owen Paterson by changing rules brought about a number of allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party.
Environment minister George Eustice rejected the accusations on Sunday, saying the accused peers are “philanthropists who give huge amounts to charity, who have been very successful in business, and therefore on those grounds ought to be considered for the Lords.”
The alleged exchange of money and peerage has been described as “cash for honours 2.0,” referring to a scandal in 2006 in which the then Labour prime minister Tony Blair was accused of nominating four businessmen for peerages after they lent the party a total of £5 million ($6.8 million).
None of the nominations passed the House of Lords appointments commission. Police made a number of arrests during its investigation into the allegation, but the Crown Prosecution Service ultimately decided not to press charges as it said there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone.
Pete Wishart, a Scottish National Party MP, told Parliament on Monday that he had written to the Met asking them to investigate “the activities of the Conservative Party and the awarding of places in the House of Lords.”
Wishart, who favours the abolition of the House of Lords, called the institution “a receptacle in this place for donors to either of the big parties.”
“And I have to include the Liberals in that, too, because some of their activities around the House of Lords are just as bad as those of the two main parties,” he said.
Liz Saville-Roberts, group leader of Wales’s Plaid Cymru Party in the House of Commons, also said she was writing to the Met with her colleague, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.