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Sunday, 29 July 2007

No 10 is guilty... of lies and deceit

The police investigation into the "cash for honours" scandal, which lasted 16 months, cost the taxpayer more than £1 million and ended with no charges being brought, was unedifying for everyone involved.

None of those at the very centre of the drama, Tony Blair and his inner circle, has so far issued anything other than brief statements, and none has directly criticised the conduct of the detectives under the leadership of Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

Despite this silence, an insight into the true feelings of those who until recently occupied key positions at 10 Downing Street can be gained from the comments of people who were at one remove from events.

Sarah Helm, a journalist who is married to Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair's chief of staff, accused the police of "Gestapo tactics". Peter Mandelson, the closest of confidants to Mr Blair, made a more closely targeted accusation. "Those who undertook this investigation used the media to create a false impression of the then prime minister, and to undermine public trust in the government," he declared. He is effectively accusing Asst Comm Yates of abusing his position to smear Mr Blair and his administration. London Telegraph