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The Corruption of New Labour: Britain’s Watergate?


John Simkin
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Interesting article in yesterday's Guardian of how Blair is making his money.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,2208158,00.html

Ian Black, Vaudine England in Hong Kong and Chris Gill in Shanghai

Friday November 9, 2007

The Guardian

When Tony Blair swept through China this week for a succession of events and speeches, he might have hoped to generate shimmering headlines about his views on the resurgent world power.

One of his addresses was, after all, entitled "From Greatness to Brilliance". So it will no doubt come as a rude surprise to discover that some of his hosts were less than impressed with his appearances - particularly the whopping fees reportedly paid to secure his services.

Official Chinese media have been abuzz with details of Mr Blair's engagements. A speech in Hong Kong to the General Chamber of Commerce commanded a six-figure sum, according to chamber sources.

An appearance at Dongguan City, near Hong Kong, cost £237,000, said the Guangzhou Daily News. The organisers even threw in a luxury villa worth 38m yuan (£2.4m), though there is no indication that Mr Blair accepted the offer.

But some observers were not sure they got value for money. Mr Blair's Dongguan speech, delivered after a tour of industrial parks and villa complexes in the booming manufacturing centre, dwelt not just on economic growth but on his personal links with the country (his sister-in-law is Chinese. His seven-year-old son, Leo, is learning Mandarin at school).

"China is a very special country, and has a special place in the heart of my family," he reportedly said.

But in the China Youth Daily, Deng Qingbo sneered: "Frankly, we are very familiar with all this - it's just like listening to any county or city official's reports. If so, why pay such a high price to hear the same thing? Is it worth the money? Do these thoughts multiply in value because they come from the mouth of a retired prime minister?"

According to the Guangzhou Daily News, Mr Blair's take-home pay would have been £156,000 after taxes were deducted. It called the Dongguan stop one of his "money-raking" trips in China.

China Youth Daily said the speech was full of pleasantries, cliches and platitudes about the importance of collaboration between government and business, education and the environment, but failed to provide any new insights.

"Is the country to become a market where international celebrities come digging for gold?" the paper asked. "We should exercise less ostentation and vanity. We need more genuinely fresh knowledge - especially when we are spending the taxpayers' pennies."

After Dongguan, Mr Blair continued his hectic schedule and flew to Beijing, where in his role as envoy of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers he met Tang Jiaxuan, a state councillor dealing with foreign affairs. On Wednesday he spoke to the Business Week Global Chief Executive Officers' Forum. Reporters were barred from the hall and only allowed to listen to the speech via a closed circuit television feed. But transmission was cut during a question and answer session.

That followed the £230-a-head dinner organised by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce at the five-star Marriott hotel. "He was really a great speaker," said one delighted guest. "The crowd loved it. We all felt very upbeat."

A day earlier Mr Blair was in Jerusalem giving a speech at a gala dinner of the Saban Forum thinktank in the prestigious King David Hotel. His keynote address was followed by another by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, with whom he is collaborating in attempts to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table. No fee was paid, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based forum confirmed.

Not all his reviews have been bad. In Washington last month he won three standing ovations at a charity event for a speech that highlighted the danger from Iran and Muslim extremism - one of four which reportedly netted him £300,000.

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Chris McGreal in Johannesburg

Tuesday November 13, 2007

The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,2209966,00.html

President Thabo Mbeki was involved in the ruling African National Congress leadership's blocking of a parliamentary investigation into alleged bribery by BAE Systems and other weapons firms in the country's biggest ever arms deal, according to a former MP who was driven out of the ANC for spearheading the inquiry.

Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC member of the parliament's public accounts committee, said the presidency killed off its investigation, pressured the auditor general to change a report criticising the £1.5bn deal to buy planes from BAE as "flawed", and stymied an inquiry by the director of public prosecutions into whether the ruling party accepted bribes to fund its election campaigns. Mbeki has denied blocking the investigations but has characterised them as attempts to bring down his government.

In a new book, After the Party, Feinstein, a Cambridge-trained economist, reveals the extent to which Mbeki was involved in stopping the 2001 investigation.

Feinstein has since moved to London and is cooperating with an inquiry by Britain's Serious Fraud Office into £75m in payments made to the former defence minister, Joe Modise, senior officials in his office and others in South Africa at the time BAE won a contract to supply planes at nearly twice the price of a rival bidder.

Feinstein said investigators uncovered evidence that Modise received at least 10m rand (£713,000) in bribes from BAE and a German weapons firm, but there was paperwork to suggest that up to R35m (£2.5m) in illegal payments had been made to the former defence minister who has since died. "Other key government players in the deal are alleged to have received millions in bribes. In addition, speculation has refused to go away that the ANC received millions of rands from the successful bidders, money that was probably used in our 1999 election campaign," he writes.

Feinstein said his committee's investigation initially had support from powerful ANC figures, but that fell away as the presidency grew concerned to the point of "apoplexy". The first pressure to curb the inquiry came from the ANC's chief whip, Tony Yengeni, who became "intimidating". ANC members of the committee were called before party leaders including Essop Pahad, a minister, who "launched into a ferocious diatribe". "Who the xxxx do you think you are, questioning the integrity of the government, ministers and the president?" he said.

Yengeni sacked Feinstein and told other members that "the ANC, from the president downwards, will now exercise political control". Yengeni was later convicted of accepting bribes from a German arms manufacturer, after the press exposed the dealings, and was jailed for four years. He was freed after just four months.

The final public accounts committee report said there was no evidence of irregularities.

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It was revealed over the weekend that Ray Ruddick was the third biggest donor to the Labour Party this year. Ruddick is a builder who lives in an ex-council house. When he was interviewed by journalists he said he hated the Labour Party and therefore did not give the money. Janet Kidd, the fourth largest donor, refused to answer the journalist questions. Like Ruddick, Kidd is another one who appears not to have very much money. However, Ruddick and Kidd do have something in common, they do work for property developer, David Abrahams, a very wealthy businessman who funds pro-Jewish causes.

Last night Abrahams admitted that he gave money to Ruddick and Kidd and they decided to donate the money to the Labour Party. That was clearly a lie and later he changed his story to say that he did it this way because he did not want any publicity. Of course, he didn’t, the money was obviously a backhander in order to get some land released for building purposes.

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Peter Watt, Labour's general secretary, has resigned after it emerged that property developer David Abrahams donated nearly £600,000 to the party, over four years, via three associates. It is claimed that he was the only one who knew that the money really came from Abrahams. I have heard that this sum will increase when it is discovered that another person has been used as a proxy donor. The question still remains - why did Abrahams not want to be linked to the donation? Did he want a knighthood or peerage? Or did he want government planning position for some land he owned?

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Guest David Guyatt

I was very impressed with Simon Jenkins article in the Sunday Times referenced in post #256 above. It seems crookedness in government and commerce is now nothing more than business as usual. A case in point, which Jenkins touches upon briefly, is the TV phone-in scams.

For the past 6 months I have been trying to get the government - in the form of the DTI and the Justice Ministry (via my MP) - to explain why these scandals have not been subjected to a police fraud investigation. The Justice Ministry didn’t even bother to reply to my MP’s letter about this, whereas the DTI’s response was three pages of earnest twaddle about the powers the Regular has available to him.

More recently, it has been the turn of the SFO, who so far have replied that the matter probably doesn’t fit their “acceptance criteria” (which it most certainly does, in fact) and further opine that the proper route is the Regulator and fines. Great. Being fined 10% of the total income derived from a criminal endeavour (£2.5 million fine versus income of circa £20 million – ITV) is, apparently, seen as being the right and proper punishment for the media.

It should not be overlooked (nor was it in my reply to the SFO) that 25% of ITV is owned by Disney, and that Disney is now owned by Arvida. The history of Arvida is dire and dates back to the looting of Penn Central, an outfit that has connections with organised crime. More ominously still, Arvida’s connections appear to trace back to a New York City family that originally emigrated from Sicily and who placed their money with another, politer, Texan family to manage. Bass is the name, Sid Bass.

Crime pays it seems. And the “more connected” it is, the more it pays.

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Brown has announced that Labour Party veteran Lord Whitty will draw up a report into this scandal. Whitty of course was someone who used to be involved in raising money for the Labour Party. As pointed out on other threads today, this is a normal tactic in carrying out a cover-up.

Interestingly, it has been announced that Brown had been offered money from Janet Kidd during his own leadership campaign, but had been rejected as only donations from people known to the campaign had been accepted. However, Harriet Harman, who won the deputy leader election, did accept a £5,000 donation from Janet Kidd. This seems to have been an attempt to compromise Brown and Harman in order to ensure a cover-up if Abrahams activities during Blair premiership, came to light after he left office.

Hopefully, journalists are taking a close look at Abrahams business dealings during Blair's premiership. This includes Abrahams dealings with Lord Levy. Both men were closely connected to raising money in order to ensure Britain had a pro-Israel foreign policy.

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It seems that every hour brings out new information. The claim that Peter Watt was the only one who about these concealed donations was a blatant lie. In a television interview tonight, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn claimed he rejected a cheque from an associate of businessman David Abrahams. Benn's deputy leadership campaign was offered £5,000 by Janet Kidd on behalf of north-east businessman Mr Abrahams, be he rejected it, believing the offer was improper. When he was asked how he knew the offer was improper he answered: "Margaret Jay, who was supporting the campaign, made us aware that this donation was on behalf of Mr David Abrahams."

Therefore, Jay knew that Janet Kidd's money was really coming from Abrahams. She is currently refusing to answer questions on this, but what we do know is that Jay was one of those managing Blair's so-called Blind Trust. I imagine that Abrahams was using Janet Kidd to give money to Tony Blair.

Why would Abrahams want to keep this a secret. I imagine it is about his desire to build a multimillion-pound business park development at Bowburn in County Durham. This was initially blocked by the Highways Agency in 2004. This was followed by intense lobbying and the following donations:

John McCarthy 05 February 2005 £25,000

John McCarthy 01 June 2005 £25,000

John McCarthy 22 December 2005 £52,125

Janet Kidd 23 December 2005 £30,000

Ray Ruddick 23 December 2005 £17,850

John McCarthy 21 April 2006 £50,000

Ray Ruddick 24 May 2006 £50,000

In October 2006, the then transport secretary, Douglas Alexander, overruled the Highways Agency and gave Abrahams permission to build the business park development at Bowburn. Alexander of course was Brown's campaign manager for the election to become prime minister.

Abrahams has issued a statement: "Any suggestion that I have made donations in exchange for favours is false and malicious. I will not hesitate to issue proceedings to protect my reputation."

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Why would Abrahams want to keep this a secret. I imagine it is about his desire to build a multimillion-pound business park development at Bowburn in County Durham. This was initially blocked by the Highways Agency. This was followed by the following donations:

John McCarthy 05 February 2005 £25,000

John McCarthy 01 June 2005 £25,000

John McCarthy 22 December 2005 £52,125

Janet Kidd 23 December 2005 £30,000

Ray Ruddick 23 December 2005 £17,850

John McCarthy 21 April 2006 £50,000

Ray Ruddick 24 May 2006 £50,000

In October 2006, the then transport secretary, Douglas Alexander, overruled the Highways Agency and gave Abrahams permission to build the business park development at Bowburn. Alexander of course was Brown's campaign manager for the election to become prime minister.

Abrahams has issued a statement: "Any suggestion that I have made donations in exchange for favours is false and malicious. I will not hesitate to issue proceedings to protect my reputation."

John Poulson - a deliberate echo, presumably. The question is, who has been deliberating - or should that be incubating - this one?

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Why would Abrahams want to keep this a secret. I imagine it is about his desire to build a multimillion-pound business park development at Bowburn in County Durham. This was initially blocked by the Highways Agency. This was followed by the following donations:

John McCarthy 05 February 2005 £25,000

John McCarthy 01 June 2005 £25,000

John McCarthy 22 December 2005 £52,125

Janet Kidd 23 December 2005 £30,000

Ray Ruddick 23 December 2005 £17,850

John McCarthy 21 April 2006 £50,000

Ray Ruddick 24 May 2006 £50,000

In October 2006, the then transport secretary, Douglas Alexander, overruled the Highways Agency and gave Abrahams permission to build the business park development at Bowburn. Alexander of course was Brown's campaign manager for the election to become prime minister.

Abrahams has issued a statement: "Any suggestion that I have made donations in exchange for favours is false and malicious. I will not hesitate to issue proceedings to protect my reputation."

John Poulson - a deliberate echo, presumably. The question is, who has been deliberating - or should that be incubating - this one?

Yes there is connections with the Poulson case. David Abrahams father is Bennie Abrahams, a Labour councillor for the Monkchester ward of Newcastle City Council, and in 1981/2 Lord Mayor of Newcastle. His father was an extremely rich man. I have not been able to discover the source of his wealth but I suspect it involved getting planning position from Labour controlled councils.

Bennie and David Abrahams were members of Labour Friends of Israel, an avid Zionist organization. The Labour Friends of Israel provided Tony Blair with £8 million when he stood to become leader of the Labour Party. John Reid, the former Home Secretary, was a member of this organization. Interestingly, in 2003, David Abrahams was thrown out of the Labour Friends of Israel. According to leaks coming out of the Labour Party last night, the man behind this was Gordon Brown's chief fundraiser, Jon Mendelsohn. However, this morning it has emerged that there is a letter from Mendelsohn to David Abrahams, seeking a meeting with him and thanking him for all the support he has given the party over many years. Mendelsohn's effusive letter raises questions as to whether he knew that Abrahams was a key donor to the party.

Lord Levy was Tony Blair's chief fundraiser and a member of Friends of Israel. Jon Mendelsohn is Gordon Brown's chief fundraiser and a member of Friends of Israel. I wonder why?

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There have been several important developments over the last few days. Gordon Brown’s initial claim that only Peter Watt knew about the proxy donors has turned out not to be true. In fact, two of Brown’s close friends, Jon Mendelsohn (Brown’s chief fundraiser) and Chris Leslie (Brown’s campaign manager) have now been revealed as knowing about David Abrahams use of people to launder money to the Labour Party. According to Brown, Mendelsohn was attempting to seek a meeting with Abrahams to bring this practice to an end. However, Brown has been unable to explain why this did not happen in the two months he has acknowledged knowing about this. Abrahams last night claimed that Mendelsohn has known about this since last April. He also has letters to prove it. He has already published a letter from Mendelsohn that was written only last week that makes it clear that he was still after money from Abrahams. He also says he has other letters from other Labour Party officials.

It is also clear that this practice first started under Lord Levy. These third-party donors were active under three Labour Party general secretaries. All these men were appointed by Blair and worked with Levy.

Questions are now being asked why the original police investigation into Cash for Honours did not discover these proxy donations being made. This story only broke last weekend when a journalist went through the list of recent donors to the Labour Party. Checks soon discovered that the third highest donor was a man who was on record as saying he hated the “Labour Party”. He was also a small-time builder who was living on a council estate. Further investigations showed that three more large donors were from humble backgrounds who were not members of the Labour Party. Why did the police not investigate these donors?

I said over a year ago that I did not believe that Lord Sainsbury had not been donating his own money. I suggested he was being used as a proxy on behalf of the Israeli lobby and the arms lobby. I assumed that they would have done this in a way that made it difficult to expose. For example, use a well-known wealthy Labour Party supporter. However, it seems that in their arrogance they used people who were not wealthy and were not members of the Labour Party.

I am not even convinced that Abrahams is using his own money to pass on to proxy donors. A C4 investigation into his business affairs shows he only has assets of £28,000. It is true that he could eventually become very rich out of his business park that he needed the support of the Labour government and Labour councillors in Durham before it could be built. However, that is all in the future.

A couple of journalists have pointed out the Jewish connection with all these people. The Jewish pressure groups have been quick to condemn this as anti-Semitism. As a result the media has been reluctant to look into the connections between these events and the support of the invasion of Iraq and other pro-Israeli policies.

In fact, the media have been reluctant to speculate on why this disguised money was paid to the Labour Party. As I pointed out when this scandal first broke 18 months ago, this was never just about cash for honours. It was always important to look at the real reasons for bribing Blair and the Labour government. That includes taking a close look at the PFI and arms contracts given out to private companies. For example, Chris Leslie, when he was a MP, was a strong advocate of foundation hospitals as well as the Iraq War. Also, it has been clear that many of Labour’s largest donors are property developers. It is necessary to take a close look at planning permissions that have been granted since Blair took power.

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It seems to me that this might be payback by Blair, for all Brown's meddling in the last 2 years of Blair's reign.

As you rightly say there is something not quite kosher, when trying to examine how this funding went previously unnoticed.

I have considered the possibility that Abrahams has set-up Gordon Brown. He is close to Blair and Levy and has been in dispute with Jon Mendelsohn. However, this is a highly dangerous policy because it is possible that the police will investigate third-party donations that took place under Blair and Levy. This of course could explain the reasons why Brown was so keen to support Ian Blair with his recent problems.

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Guest David Guyatt
There have been several important developments over the last few days. Gordon Brown’s initial claim that only Peter Watt knew about the proxy donors has turned out not to be true. In fact, two of Brown’s close friends, Jon Mendelsohn (Brown’s chief fundraiser) and Chris Leslie (Brown’s campaign manager) have now been revealed as knowing about David Abrahams use of people to launder money to the Labour Party. According to Brown, Mendelsohn was attempting to seek a meeting with Abrahams to bring this practice to an end. However, Brown has been unable to explain why this did not happen in the two months he has acknowledged knowing about this. Abrahams last night claimed that Mendelsohn has known about this since last April. He also has letters to prove it. He has already published a letter from Mendelsohn that was written only last week that makes it clear that he was still after money from Abrahams. He also says he has other letters from other Labour Party officials.

It is also clear that this practice first started under Lord Levy. These third-party donors were active under three Labour Party general secretaries. All these men were appointed by Blair and worked with Levy.

Questions are now being asked why the original police investigation into Cash for Honours did not discover these proxy donations being made. This story only broke last weekend when a journalist went through the list of recent donors to the Labour Party. Checks soon discovered that the third highest donor was a man who was on record as saying he hated the “Labour Party”. He was also a small-time builder who was living on a council estate. Further investigations showed that three more large donors were from humble backgrounds who were not members of the Labour Party. Why did the police not investigate these donors?

I said over a year ago that I did not believe that Lord Sainsbury had not been donating his own money. I suggested he was being used as a proxy on behalf of the Israeli lobby and the arms lobby. I assumed that they would have done this in a way that made it difficult to expose. For example, use a well-known wealthy Labour Party supporter. However, it seems that in their arrogance they used people who were not wealthy and were not members of the Labour Party.

I am not even convinced that Abrahams is using his own money to pass on to proxy donors. A C4 investigation into his business affairs shows he only has assets of £28,000. It is true that he could eventually become very rich out of his business park that he needed the support of the Labour government and Labour councillors in Durham before it could be built. However, that is all in the future.

A couple of journalists have pointed out the Jewish connection with all these people. The Jewish pressure groups have been quick to condemn this as anti-Semitism. As a result the media has been reluctant to look into the connections between these events and the support of the invasion of Iraq and other pro-Israeli policies.

In fact, the media have been reluctant to speculate on why this disguised money was paid to the Labour Party. As I pointed out when this scandal first broke 18 months ago, this was never just about cash for honours. It was always important to look at the real reasons for bribing Blair and the Labour government. That includes taking a close look at the PFI and arms contracts given out to private companies. For example, Chris Leslie, when he was a MP, was a strong advocate of foundation hospitals as well as the Iraq War. Also, it has been clear that many of Labour’s largest donors are property developers. It is necessary to take a close look at planning permissions that have been granted since Blair took power.

Do you recall the name of the journalist and in which media outlet the story originally broke?

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Do you recall the name of the journalist and in which media outlet the story originally broke?

I first read about the story in last week's Sunday Times. However, it was based on a story written by an unnamed journalist. This journalist is refered to in today's Sunday Times, but again he is not named. Interestingly, the article points out that the Tories have been investigating Labour donors for a couple of years (Operation Underwater). However, they did not come up with David Abrahams' name.

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Article in today's Sunday Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml...2/ndonor202.xml

Chris Hastings and Andrew Alderson

The elite drinks party took place at a central London hotel four years ago. David Abrahams, the property developer who Labour politicians are now so keen not to know, entered a room already packed with Cabinet ministers and the party's most prized donors.

Moments after arriving, Mr Abrahams was spotted across the crowded room by Lord Levy, the party's chief fundraiser. The Labour peer immediately left his group and swept over to greet Mr Abrahams like a long-lost friend with none other than Tony Blair in tow.

"How are things in the North East?" said a beaming Mr Blair, stretching out his right arm to shake Mr Abrahams warmly by the hand. As the three men chatted animatedly in a tight circle, other party bigwigs were tucking into the Champagne and canapés nearby. They included Hilary Armstrong, Labour's former chief whip, and Baroness Jay, who was destined to play a walk-on part in the Labour donation scandal that has rocked the party for the past week.

Those who witnessed the greeting Mr Abrahams received were left in no doubt just how much the self-styled "very private man" meant to the party he has supported since he was 15 and donated to for the past 40 years.

Later Mr Abrahams claimed to friends that Mr Blair had entertained him several times in Downing Street. The then prime minister, the property developer insisted, had even offered to open his £60 million business park in County Durham - now the centre of controversy - once it was finished.

Last week, as senior Labour politicians took it in turn to distance themselves from Mr Abrahams, it emerged that he had made a series of donations totalling well over £600,000 to the party since 2003 in the names of four intermediaries: his secretary, a solicitor, a builder associate and a lollipop lady who was the wife of another of his employees.

Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act of 2000, a person who gives money to a political party on behalf of someone else must inform the party that he or she is doing so. The party must, in turn, inform the Electoral Commission, the election watchdog.

Last weekend, Labour was insisting it was "totally satisfied that these donations are in line with the rules". Yet 48 hours later, Mr Abrahams's actions meant the Prime Minister was forced to admit his party had broken the law, the party's general secretary Peter Watt had resigned and others, including the deputy leader Harriet Harman, were fighting to save their careers.

For those in the North East with previous experience of Mr Abrahams and long memories, the fact that he has brought unwelcome publicity to the party did not come as a surprise. In 1990, he had been selected as Labour's candidate for William Hague's seat in Richmond, North Yorkshire. However, months before the 1992 election he was ousted by his local party following revelations that he had misled them over his marital status.

Mr Abrahams, a bachelor, had introduced a woman called Anthea as his wife and an 11-year-old boy as their son. In fact, he had met Anthea Bailey, then 39, only months before being selected and persuaded her to pose as his wife in a "business arrangement" aimed at giving him a family image.

Described by his critics as a Walter Mitty character, Mr Abrahams claims to be 53. In fact, his birth certificate shows him to be 63. Furthermore, he conducted some of his business interests under his own name and some under the name of "David Martin". Allegedly incorrect information was given to Companies House, the register for companies and directors, which has asked him to re-submit the details.

In and around Newcastle, his colourful reputation meant that Labour Party members and supporters treated him with caution. In the South, however, Labour politicians and officials were not so choosy - or so circumspect. Between January 2003 and July this year, Ray Ruddick, a builder and a director of Mr Abrahams's firms, gave £196,850 to the Labour Party; John McCarthy, a solicitor, gave £202,125; Janet Kidd, Mr Abrahams's secretary, gave £185,000, and Janet Dunn, the wife of an employee, gave £25,000.

In addition, Mrs Kidd gave £5,000 to Miss Harman's campaign to be deputy leader and Mr Abrahams gave £5,000 in his own name to Hilary Benn for his deputy leadership campaign. In fact, every penny of all the donations was originally from Mr Abrahams.

The intermediaries, however, are now said to be angry at being "used" by Mr Abrahams. It is understood that some of them have consulted a solicitor with a view to getting legal advice on their position.

Mr Ruddick, who now thinks Mr Abrahams is a "git", suspects the Labour Party knew all along where the money really came from. Speaking at his modest former council house, he said: "The Labour Party never wrote to thank me for 'my' donations, because they knew I wasn't the real donor."

Mr Abrahams, a practising Jew, has strong links with Israel. He is provincial vice-chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, serves on the executive of the Trade Union Friends of Israel, and supports organisations including the Community Security Trust (a British charity set up to protect Jews living in the UK), Labour Friends of Israel, and Academic Friends of Israel.

Earlier this year, he provided £250,00 to found a chair in International Politics of the Middle East at Warwick University. For many years, he has made regular trips to Israel with Trade Union Friends of Israel and earlier this year, in Britain, he met Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, whom he has also seen in Israel.

His neighbours in Newcastle recall years ago that their road had to be closed for "security reasons" when the Israeli ambassador visited Mr Abrahams at his home.

Mr Abrahams, however, insists that his charity and political donations are from his own pocket -and that he is not the conduit of another mystery benefactor.

Lord Levy and Tony Blair are both refusing to answer questions on their relationship with David Abrahams. Peter Watt, Jon Mendelsohn and Chris Leslie will paid large sums of money to keep quiet about what they know about the funding of New Labour. However, it seems to me that Abrahams is out of control and poses a serious danger to both Blair and Levy. I hope he lives to tell the tale. He is a prime candidate to be an assisted suicide.

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I have argued over the years on this Forum that Tony Blair is a corrupt politician and needs to be removed from power. Recently events suggest that we might be on the verge of discovering the exact scale of his crimes. I suspect this is not the case and will end up as Britain’s Watergate. In the sense that Nixon was forced to resign but the full account of his crimes were never revealed to the public.

People probably thought I was mad when I described the Lord Levy case as Britain's Watergate. I noticed in several newspapers yesterday that the case is now being described as "Donorgate". At the moment the press are still concentrating on the cover-up. However, hopefully the media will eventually start exploring the reasons why Levy and friends were so keen to fund New Labour.

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