SNP MP sends formal complaint to Met over PM and Tory 'corruption'

8 November 2021, 17:30 | Updated: 8 November 2021, 18:36

Gina Davidson

By Gina Davidson

The Met police have been asked to investigate a new “cash for honours” scandal involving Boris Johnson and a catalogue of Tory party officials.

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Veteran SNP MP Pete Wishart has written to Dame Cressida Dick, Met Police Commissioner, lodging a formal complaint against the Prime Minister, his predecessors and other Conservative party staff.

The MP for Perth and North Perthshire, and the SNP’s shadow commons leader, wrote ahead of the Commons debate on the government’s attempt to change how MPs are investigated for rule-breaking.

His letter comes after it was revealed all 16 of the main Conservative treasurers – apart from the most recent – were offered peerages in the House of Lords after donating millions of pounds to the party.

Read more: Starmer labels Paterson sleaze scandal as 'government corruption'

Read more: Paterson: PM faces public inquiry calls after accusations he awarded peerages to donors

Pete Wishart wrote the letter to the Metropolitan Police.
Pete Wishart wrote the letter to the Metropolitan Police. Picture: Alamy

An investigation revealed that wealthy benefactors were “guaranteed” a peerage if they take on the temporary role of party treasurer and increase their own personal donations to over £3 million.

Mr Wishart, who told MPs that he had written to the police while delivering a speech in today’s debate, said he was concerned about “criminal misconduct” by Mr Johnson.

He wrote: “I write to inform you of potential criminal misconduct regarding the procurement of honours and membership of the House of Lords.

“The emerging allegations, which have been widely referred to as the 'cash for honours' scandal, are deeply undermining public trust and confidence.

“These widespread allegations and suspicion of criminal activity need to be urgently addressed. I, therefore, believe it is now essential that a formal criminal investigation is now initiated by the Metropolitan Police.”

Read more: Zahawi concedes 'mistakes' were made in handling of Owen Paterson sleaze shambles

Citing the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925, which was used when Tony Blair was questioned by the police in 2006 and 2007, following a police complaint by another SNP MP Angus MacNeil, he added: “In total, twenty two of the Conservative party's biggest financial contributors have been made members of the House of Lords in the past eleven years.

“Together they have donated some £54m to the Tories. I believe that it is only right to investigate whether these donations were, in fact, rewarded with honours.”

He continued: “Since the Conservative party returned to power in 2010, successive Prime Ministers have elevated nine of the party's former treasurers to the House of Lords.

“Each of those appointed since 2014 has donated at least £3 million. Any investigation must uncover any process or link between these donations and the subsequent appointment of these individuals to the House of Lords.”

Earlier today Trade Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan defended the system and said it would be wrong to stop wealthy people being appointed to the Lords.

“People are put forward for peerages for all sorts of reasons,” she said. "I don’t think someone who happens to have been an extremely good businessman, and made a great deal of money through business activity, usually also an enormous amount of philanthropy, amazing people of all political colours, that they should be barred from going to the House of Lords.”

The Met have been contact for a response.

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