Detectives investigating the cash-forhonours affair handed over their main file to prosecutors yesterday, bringing the prospect of criminal charges against senior government figures a step closer.
The Metropolitan police said that the 216-page dossier was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, together with supporting material, yesterday afternoon.
“It is now a matter for the CPS to consider the evidence [and] advise us on whether any further inquiries are necessary and whether any charges should be brought,” said a spokesman.
The Prime Minister has allowed the NHS to plunge into crisis by becoming trapped in a “parallel universe of spin”, according to the new head of the Royal College of Nursing.
In a blistering attack on the Government’s running of the health service, Dr Peter Carter, the RCN general secretary, said cuts in jobs, services and training were catastrophic for the country and a “personal tragedy” for the Prime Minister.
Dr Carter, who will address his first RCN annual conference next week, said Tony Blair should admit Labour’s administration of the NHS had gone “fundamentally wrong”. He said Labour’s track record on the health service was far worse than that of the Conservatives, even though Mr Blair had poured in record funds.
Dr Carter, a former hospital trust chief executive, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I have never seen so much money go into the health service and I have never seen so much money wasted.”I
The decision to raid pension funds was the brainchild of a close-knit group of advisers known as “the hotel group”.
Before Gordon Brown became Chancellor, and for 18 months afterwards, all the key decisions were taken in the Park Lane apartment of Geoffrey Robinson, the multi-millionaire Labour MP and treasury minister, rather than in Whitehall.
Mr Brown, Ed Balls, his political adviser, and Charlie Whelan, his voluble and abrasive press spokesman, would gather to plan their policies.
They were a gang of chums, who drank beer and watched football matches on television, as they planned to seize control of the Treasury and introduce sweeping tax changes to fund Mr Brown’s ambitious plans for social engineering.Mr Brown, who had no ministerial experience before taking the second most powerful job in government, distrusted the Treasury mandarins, particularly the then permanent secretary, Sir Terry Burns.
Sir Terry and other key officials were kept out of the loop. So it is little wonder that Mr Brown brushed aside uncomfortable advice from civil servants on the problems in the pension tax changes – he no doubt saw them as part of the establishment seeking to frustrate his ambitious reform programme.
Labour came to power in 1997 claiming it had no need to raise taxes – and even promised not to increase the basic or top rate of income tax.
So Mr Brown needed to find ways of raising extra money in ways that were not immediately noticeable to middle income voters who had switched from the Tories to New Labour
The key figure was Mr Robinson, who had helped fund Mr Brown’s office in opposition. He knew his way around the corporate tax system. He provided more than £200,000 to pay for the specialist advice Mr Brown needed for formulating his tax policies.
Labour must drop its historic commitment to free education and health care, the former education secretary Charles Clarke said last night.
He said it was the only way to ensure public services could meet ever-increasing demands.
In what will be seen as a pitch for the Labour leadership against Gordon Brown, Mr Clarke said “some level of charging” would prevent people turning to private schools and hospitals.
In a speech entitled Economic Policy and Taxation after Blair, Mr Clarke said it was highly unlikely that spending increases proposed by the Government, plus extra money expected from efficiency savings, would provide the services people now expected.
The government has overstated its successes on law and order since 1997, a study has claimed.
Billions spent on reform has brought no major improvement, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies says.
The study’s authors accused ministers of setting easy targets and taking credit for crime reduction trends unconnected to their policies.